Jewellery making is a good hobby and business. Most of those who get into it have design and creativity prowess on top of their love for jewellery. This is also a good way to have unique pieces, as when you design them yourself, you’re sure never to wear the same piece as someone else.
The passion for jewellery, however, isn’t enough to get you started with making your pieces. You need tools and equipment to get that desire off the floor and start. While the lack of tools won’t necessarily inhibit your creativity, it can affect your output’s quality. Jewellery making requires very fine and precise manipulations, many of which may not be done accurately with your hands alone.
Once you have even just the basic jewellery-making tools, the possibilities are endless. This makes you a better jewellery designer and maker, potentially standing out from a sea of many others. Take the time to choose your jewellery-making tools very carefully, starting with these items below.
One of the most basic tools needed for jewellery making is jewellery pliers. Good jewellery pliers should be made of stainless steel, so they’re durable and won’t rust. Otherwise, rust in your pliers will affect your jewellery’s quality, particularly when working with delicate materials.
Many types of pliers can be used for this purpose, and a few include:
- Soft Jaw Parallel Pliers. Maun recommends you choose soft jaw parallel pliers when working with delicate jewellery, as the parallel action prevents you having to apply excessive force that could damage the material, and the soft jaws will prevent scratches.
- Flat Nose Pliers. These can be used for various functions such as bending angles in wire, opening and closing jump rings, and holding small beads.
- Chain Nose Pliers. This is characterized as having flat jaws on the inside and rounded on the side. Chain nose pliers bend 90-degree bends in the wire and grip small parts like head pins and jump rings.
- Round Nose Pliers. Both jaws have a taper and round cross-section to a fine point at the tips. This makes the round nose pliers perfect for chain-making and wire wrapping.
- Bent Nose Pliers. As its name suggests, the bent nose pliers have a 45-degree angle at the nose. These are needed to work with awkward and tricky angles, like those which may strain your hands and wrists.
- Nylon-tipped Pliers. This is one of the best pliers, especially for novice artisans. Because the tips are covered with nylon, you can effectively minimize the damage you may cause to the wires, metals, and other materials you’re working with. These are also great for straightening wires without scratching them.
- Bail-making Pliers. This tool comes in handy with very detailed and ornate jewellery designs. This can also help in making ear loops and clasps.
- Needle-nose Pliers. These are also referred to as long chain-nose pliers. They’re similar to chain nose pliers, except that they have longer and thinner jaws. This tool can be used for gripping materials in small spaces.
2. Wire Cutters Another must-have in a jewellery maker’s kit is a wire cutter. Before buying one, check your toolkit at the garage if you have a box of tools, as this may be something you already have. Wire cutters are used for cutting headpins, stringing wire, and eye pins.
Like pliers, there are also different types of wire cutters, some of which are meant for specific types of wires. For instance, when cutting memory wire, it’s best to use a memory wire cutter than a regular one. Using the latter will only dent the cutting edge, making it useless and damaging your wire.
3. Bench Vice
This third tool is needed when you’re working with precious metals. Doing so requires a tight grip and strength, hence the need for metal working hand tools.
A bench vice is one you have to fasten on the workbench securely. This helps you maintain a tight grip on the piece you’re working on and the tool you’re using. With that, the likelihood of scratching the precious metal while working with it is reduced.
Before spending so much cash on jewellery-making tools, focus first on the essentials. Whether for a small, homegrown business or for personal use, the tools above are sufficient to put you off on a good start. Get yourself familiar first with the different techniques of jewellery making and manipulation. Once you get the hang of it, that’s when you can slowly add more to your kit. If jewellery making is something you’re keen and serious about doing, focus on good-quality tools. That way, they can last you through years of use before you’d have to invest in new ones again. Good tools and jewellery pieces to shape and make, plus your skills are equal to good outputs, so don’t skimp on this.