Pliers in hand! It's time to show you know more about jewelry than just how to look awesome in it!
The jewelry maker's creativity goes a long way when it comes to making items other people will want to wear and will treasure for a long time to come. Along with that sense of style, however, jewelers will definitely need to have the right set of tools to forge works of art out of the raw materials they use.
Precision tools make up a large part of the jeweler's collection of tools. Most of these, however, are based on everyday tools most of us already know and use. These include tools for gripping very small objects; securing one piece to the next; and adding enviable luster to a finished item.
You will certainly recognize many of these tools and gadgets once you see them, but whether you will be able to name them - that's left to be seen. Let's see how you do!
Whether you are a professional or you simply enjoy jewelry making as a hobby, each of these tools should immediately stand out to you. Put your knowledge of the tools of the trade to the test - take the quiz!
Jewelry polishing cloths often have a polishing agent, such as red rouge, already embedded into the material. Some can be used to clean all types of metal (gold, silver, brass, chrome and copper, for instance), while others may be designed for a specific metal, such as silver.
Jewelry makers often work with thin wires which are much easier to grip and bend when you have a pair (or two) of pliers at hand. Flat nose pliers work very well when used along with a pair of chain nose pliers.
A bench-mounted vise leaves you with both hands free to work on a particular piece of jewelry. Some are specifically designed to swivel and tilt to different angles while others are meant for holding an item while it is being drilled.
A pair of tweezers makes it easy for jewelry makers to pick up and place the very small items they often work with. Tweezers come in many variations, including locking tweezers, magnetic tweezers and soldering tweezers. They also vary according to the shape of their tips.
Headband magnifiers are ideal for precision jobs which require a close-up view of the item being worked on. Many headband magnifiers conveniently fit over prescription glasses and come with two or more interchangeable lenses.
Small but versatile, this device allows the jewelry maker to take accurate measurements. Digital scales are often calibrated to read as low as 0.004 ounces (0.1 grams).
A ring sizing mandrel can be put to a variety of uses, including finding the size of an already-made ring. It is also useful for reshaping a bent ring, widening a ring or for making a ring to a specific size. Jewelry makers also use bracelet sizing mandrels for similar purposes.
The chasing hammer can be used on its own or to strike other tools when engraving or embossing items. Apart from design work, it can also be used for flattening wires and for riveting.
The variety of design stamps and punches seems to be just as unlimited as the range of items they can be used to decorate. In fact, you can get stamps made with your very own original design.
The jewelry maker’s wood block provides a safe, soft and smooth surface when working with delicate items which might scratch easily. Some blocks are made with one side of wood and the other of hardened steel for use when working with tougher materials.
The benchtop polisher used by most jewelers is a small but powerful and indispensable machine. Most feature a tapered spindle at either end for holding pieces of various sizes.
Red rouge has been used by jewelry makers for hundreds for years, so much so, in fact, that it is often referred to as “jeweler's rouge.” It is actually ferric oxide, also known as iron(III) oxide.
A pair of round nose pliers becomes a valuable tool when forming wire into rounded elements. Its tapered point makes it easy for the jewelry maker to form loops of various sizes.
Rivets do more than securely join work pieces together. They can make an item more functional, interactive and fun to wear. That makes the riveting hammer an essential tool for every jewelry maker to have and know how to use properly.
This simple yet effective tool is made from emery paper glued to a stick. Just like ordinary sandpaper, emery sticks can be bought in different grades of roughness to suit the metal or other material being worked on.
The crimp tool is also called crimping pliers or crimpers. Jewelry makers use the crimp tool along with crimp beads and crimp tubes as a way to secure clasps at the ends of beading wire. Crimping can also ensure that beads stay on position once they are placed on a work piece.
Memory wire is a very strong material which keeps its shape and is very hard to unbend. It is therefore great for making pre-shaped bangles, necklaces and rings but can be brutal on ordinary wire cutters. That is why it is always recommended that you use memory wire cutters when doing any job with memory wire.
This handy little gadget comes in a wide variety of designs but all with the same purpose. They help you make neat knots just before and after beads and pearls as you string them onto thread or cord. The knotting tool is also known as a knotter.
The beading board lets jewelry makers set out beads for a necklace or bracelet according to the desired length. With the beading board, you can rearrange the beads as much as you like until you get the perfect design, then go ahead and string your beads.
Most sets of finger sizing gauges come with whole and half sizes which helps to take the guesswork out of creating the right-sized ring for a customer. Some sets are sold as wide bands and are used for gauging items such as wedding rings and graduation rings which usually have to be slightly larger to pass over the wearer’s knuckles.
Heavy, hardened and smooth – those are the best words to describe a really good anvil. If it’s heavy, then it will not move around while you are working on it. If it is hard and smooth, then you know it will not scratch or otherwise damage the item you are working on.
Beading needles come in a range of designs. Some look very much like regular sewing needles, and others have large flexible eyes so they can fit through beads with different-sized holes. Some beading needles are made of bendable wire with a loop at one end and are ideal for use on curved beads.
The jeweler’s saw resembles a hacksaw, but its blades are more delicate and quite prone to breaking. To accommodate this, the saw is adjustable so that smaller, broken pieces of blade can be fitted into it. The jeweler’s saw is also referred to as a piercing saw.
Needle files are much smaller and thinner than regular files, making them quite suited to the work done by jewelry makers. They are ideal for precision jobs and leave a very smooth surface after use.
Jewelry makers very often use beads in their creations, and so a bead reamer is a very handy tool for them to have. With a bead reamer you can widen a bead’s hole, make the edge of the hole smoother or remove debris which has lodged inside the hole.
The side cutters used by jewelers work well at cutting jewelry wire such as copper or gold wire, but they are not meant for everyday rigorous work. Side cutters are also called wire cutters or diagonal pliers.
Jewelers who use solder tend to prefer silver solder as it is strong, durable and suits many different situations. Using silver solder, however, requires very high temperatures, and that is where the soldering torch comes in.
Chain nose pliers are often referred to as a type of round nose pliers, but most jewelry makers prefer to have both. These pliers are very effective for making loops in wires, such as when jewelers make their own chain links.
The mallet is a popular tool among jewelry makers, as it allows you to hit the work piece with gentle but effective blows. The head of a jewelry maker’s mallet is typically made of plastic, rubber or rawhide, but heads made of metal (for example, brass) also have their uses.
The soldering pick is used to push or lift solder into position while soldering. Care must be taken not to melt the pick itself or to accidentally attach it to the item being worked on.
The eye loupe or hand lens is a small and convenient magnifying tool. A common eye loupe design allows the lens to be folded into the housing for protection when the device is not in use.
Polishing and buffing wheels are great for adding the finishing touches to an item. They are made of different types of materials, such as silicone, cotton muslin, felt and wool. Some polishing and buffing wheels are sold with a polishing agent embedded in the material.
Jewelry makers are exposed to bits of flying metal, chemical splatter and the sharp edges of cut wires. Any of these can cause major eye damage, and so it is wise to invest in a good pair of safety goggles or safety glasses.
Very small work pieces and very sharp tools put the jewelry maker’s fingers at risk. Protective finger guards are typically made of leather, rubber or rolled-up extra-strength, heat-resistant tape.
This hammer is an easy way to add textures to sheet metal. Each texturing hammer usually offers a different design on each side of its head, and some hammers are sold with multiple interchangeable heads for greater creativity.
A ring stretcher provides a safe, virtually risk-free way of increasing the diameter of a ring. That said, care must still be taken not to over widen the ring as this can lead to breakage.
Three hands are always better than two when you are a jewelry maker, but with the double third hand holder, jewelers get the four-hand advantage! Variations to this tool include having either tweezers or clamps as the “hands,” as well as the inclusion of a magnifying glass on some models.
Accurate bead spacing is important, especially when making a uniformed or symmetrical item. With the bead spacing gauge, you can also determine beforehand the number of beads which will be needed for a particular item.
A microscope is just one of the various types of magnifying tools used by jewelry makers. A powerful microscope allows you to view fine details in an item, especially those which require precision work.
Radial bristle discs are typically used for polishing items. They are sold in different diameters, as well as varying degrees of coarseness or grit.