Gem and Jewelry Tools

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    Design Aids

    • The first step to any successful piece of jewelry is to create a practical, comfortable, and attractive design. While it is possible to create lovely pieces by simply putting together beads until your piece looks right, planning out jewelry in advance can save a lot of time. Some jewelers use physical tools to help them plan, like bead boards. These are boards that come in the shape of necklaces and bracelets with measurements already laid out; you can put beads onto these boards to see how they look together and measure your potential results. Other designers prefer to use online or computer-based jewelry design tools.


    • Pliers are the center of a jewelry designer's tool collection. They come in many different varieties to suit a large number of functions. For example, designers use chain-nose pliers to pick up small beads and shape small bits of metal; round-nose pliers are used to create small loops in wire that can be used to dangle beads. Other types of pliers include cutting pliers and crimping pliers. These come in a variety of grades and prices; while you can purchase cheap pliers for very affordable prices, professionals often prefer much more precise and ergonomic pliers that tend to be more expensive.

    Metal-Shaping Tools

    • The tools in this category include simple and inexpensive wire-shaping tools such as a wire jig. A wire jig is like a small pegboard that you can put little pegs in; when you wrap the wire around these pegs in an artistic fashion, you can precisely replicate the same intricate wire shape several times. More advanced metal-shaping tools include blowtorches and soldering irons. Both of these are used to melt metals in order to create a new shape. Soldering irons and blowtorches should only be used with protective goggles.

    Measuring Tools

    • Measuring tools are important in the careful planner's toolkit. These tools are often simple and not specific to the jewelry-making field; for example, many designers simply measure bracelets using a ruler. However, there are measuring tools that are more specific for jewelry makers. Micrometers are a special type of ruler designed to measure small beads or spaces between beads. Other tools can help a designer create standard sizes; ring, bracelet, and necklace mandrels are essentially cones that come pre-measured with standard ring sizes on them, so a designer can wrap wire around a particular point on the cone to create a specific size ring.

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