From prepping to creating, countless tools are needed for all types of jewelry making. Without the necessary tools, professional jewelers aren’t able to present intricate and beautiful jewelry pieces to their customers. Although there’s an endless list of jewelry tools, there are also several common ones that every jeweler should add to his or her jewelry tool collection.
1. Pliers and Wire Cutters
With a wide variety of jobs, such as grasping, bending and looping, pliers have many different nose shapes. The nose shapes determine what job the pliers can do. Here’s a small list of different pliers and their uses:
- Bent Nose Plier – used for grasping wire or metal during jewelry making processes
- Nylon Jaw Plier – used to straighten bent wires
- Round Nose Plier – used for making loops at the end beads
- Step Jaw Plier – used to make standard-sized loops
- Bent Closing Plier – used to secure closures and clasps
Wire cutters are also an essential tool for jewelers. Just as the name suggests, wire cutters are used to cut wires from spools and soft sheet metal and makes the wire pieces perfect in shape and size.
2. Loupes and Magnifiers
Loupes allow you to see every gemstone’s special characteristics and identify any fine blemishes on the gemstone’s surface to give it an accurate grade. Jeweler's loupes come with a variety of magnification lenses and optics to help you choose which is best for you.
Files are used to smooth any rough edges of sharp metals and wires and giving every jewelry piece a professional finish. These files come in a different range of grits that are used on materials based on hardness level. Jewelry files also come in different shapes, such as round and flat, which help jewelers get to hard-to-reach areas of their pieces.
Used to flatten metal and wire, hammers help make different artistic effects on jewelry. Some hammers are double-ended where one end is round and the other is flat. The round end is commonly referred to as ball-peen.
Specifically designed to cut through sheet metal and make fine cuts, jewelry saws are used for a variety of tasks. They come in different sizes based on the number of teeth per inch. The more teeth a saw has, the finer the saw blade. Saws allow jewelry designers to be creative with their pieces by making unique and offbeat cuts and designs. Most saw blades come in sets so that the saw frames can hold any size blade. Saws mostly come in comfortable wooden frames and have adjustments to keep saw blades secure.
By using gauges, jewelers, gemologists, and watchmakers can use them as measuring tools. Gauges communicate, design and document all jewelry pieces and set with accurate measuring features for small parts and intricate designs. From setting sizes to ring sizes, gauges are can be used for many types of measurements. Digital, dial, and fan are just a few of the different types of gauges offered.
Perfect for personalizing custom jewelry pieces, engravers come in many different forms. One option for engraving is a graver that is made with sturdy steel and comes with a range of cutting tips. Flat, oval and round shapes are also different features of gravers. Another option for engraving is an engraving machine, where this allows the jeweler to do less work yet delivers the same quality results. Flat engraving machines are most commonly used and help engrave text, dates and more on jewelry pieces, such as rings and bracelets.
Used to securely hold precious gemstones and diamonds while repairing or securing pieces, tweezers are like a third hand for jewelers. Professional grade jeweler tweezers come in a variety of sizes to help hold all different gemstone sizes. Some tweezers offer advanced features, such as locking and magnetized options. Magnetized tweezers help you find missing parts on your workbench and secure your pieces more than regular tweezers. Tweezers also help jewelers protect fingers while soldering and using harsh solvents and steam cleaning jewelry.
Far from regular kitchen knives, jewelry knives are specially crafted to help shape and carve metal, metal clay and wax during jewelry making processes. Knives can also be used as watch repair tools and come in different styles to help open watch backs.
10. Scissors and Shears
Scissors and shears come in different shapes and sizes for various tasks. Scissors help with stringing, beading, wire wrap work, and cutting tasks. Shears are used to cut a variety of materials, such as sheet metal and heavy tin. They can also cut through leather and other materials that are used for jewelry making.
Used to protect work surfaces during jewelry making processes, anvils are also excellent tools to help create a smooth finish on hammered jewelry pieces. Anvils are usually made from forged iron or steel and are built to last through many jewelry making processes.
12. Setting Tools
Whether for repairing or designing jewelry pieces, setting tools, such as beading tool plates & sets, prong openers and lifters, and bezel tools, come in countless forms and varieties. A motorized hand piece kit is another great tool for the workbench as it helps with cleaning, grinding, shaping and more.
Made with quality steel and smaller than typical screwdrivers, professional grade jeweler’s screwdrivers can reach into small crevices to remove or tighten screws in jewelry pieces and watches. From straight edge to pocket sets, there is a wide selection for screwdrivers.
Scribes are used to make pen-sized marks on jewelry pieces. From marking on metal sheets to creating the jeweler’s initials in a piece, scribes can be used for many tasks. They can also be used to add texture and scratch marks for design on jewelry.
With professional grade lighting, it’s important to have the best kind for jewelry making and repairing. Lighting helps jewelers see the details in their items. There is a wide range of lamps to choose from depending on needs, such as clamp-on lamps to desk lamps.
From searing the end of a beaded thread to micro flame burners, there are many types of burners for all sorts of purposes. Micro flame burners are a more advanced approach to bench burners and give off a pure, hot flame that doesn’t produce smoke. Desired temperature becomes faster to reach with a micro flame burner. Another popular burner is a gas burner, which can come in handheld form and is used for more time-consuming jobs.
For ring sizing and jewelry repairs, professional jewelry mandrels are used to get the best results for different tasks. Two main types of mandrels are available: a sizing mandrel and a polishing motor mandrel. Although mandrels are known to be used for rings, they are also used for specific bracelet and necklace designs.
18. Ring Stretchers
In some cases, after making or repairing a ring, it may not fit its owner. Inherited rings or changing ring sizes are also cases where a ring may not fit anymore. In order to solve this problem, ring stretchers, such as The Rathburn tool, are used by jewelers to make rings bigger for better fitting. There are three common ring stretcher tools:
- The Rathburn Tool – a cone-shaped tool with ring grooves in different sizes
- Upright Ring Stretcher – similar to a manual ring stretcher, but affixed to a stand and has six splines that can be expanded to correctly size rings
- Ring Enlarger – stretcher at at 90-degree angle and has graduated sidebands that help stretch rings
19. Cleansing and Polishing
Having cleaning and polishing supplies on hand helps maintain your jewelry pieces and keep them looking their best. Although there are manual versions of cleaning jewelry, there are also products, such as steam cleaners and ionic cleansers, that help speed up the cleaning and polishing process.
20. Storage and Display
Utilizing jewelry storage containers helps to keep your workbench clean and organized. Storage containers are perfect for supplies, such as beads, jewelry tools, and jewelry findings. From boxes to bags, drawers to racks, there are tons of storage containers that can be used for organizing your workbench completely. Display containers are also important components for a jewelry business and can range in different styles. These containers help keep jewelry pieces in place and provides a neat, elegant stage for your products so that potential buyers can see them.