A Guide To Jewelry Making Tools

A Guide To Jewelry Making Tools


As a beginner jewelry maker you may feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of tools and supplies available to you. Where do you start? And do you really need it all?

Before you find your signature jewelry making style and the materials you like to use the most, you may only want to invest in a few vital jewelry making tools that will be indispensable, no matter which area of jewelry making you are working on.

Any professional jeweler will tell you that your set of jewelry making pliers are just some of the tools that you will return to again and again. To help you figure out which jewelry pliers to invest in at this point, we’ve put together a comprehensive list of some of the best jewelry pliers for beginners.

What are the best pliers for jewelry making? What are jewelry pliers used for? Our guide answers questions like these by showing you the most commonly used hand tools for jewelry-making, the work they are designed to do and tips on each tool. You'll discover how using the right tool for the job will give you more secure crimps, tighter and neater loops and perfect coils.

Round Nose Pliers

Round Nose Pliers have smooth conical jaws. The shape doesn't grip items well, but these are an essential tool for making wire loops. The length and diameter of the jaws vary from brand to brand.

If you choose to grip with round-nose pliers you may see little dings on the surface of the wire. To help prevent the dings, form your initial shape with the round-nose but save the rest for chain-nose, flat-nose or even nylon jaw pliers.

Snipe Nose/Chain Nose Pliers

Also referred to as Chain Nose Pliers, your Snipe Nose Pliers are an excellent jewelry tool for opening and closing jump rings. Chain Nose Pliers have jaws that are flat on the inside and round on the outside. The jaw tapers from the joint to the tip. The flat inside of the jaw allows for a secure grip on small findings and pieces, such as when opening a jump ring. The curved outside is helpful in making small loops and curves on wire. This tool can give you a good bend in the wire and make a precise and permanent angle. Their strong grip and tapered shape make it simple to grip and shape fiddly pieces of metal wire, making them ideal for use with findings.

Want to learn more about opening and closing jump rings? Check out our guide on how to open and close a jump ring correctly for a professional finish.

Flat Nose Pliers

Flat Nose Pliers feature a much wider set of jaws and have a flat surface, making them useful for creating sharp bends and angles in metal sheet. Flat Nose Pliers are flat on the inside and outside of the jaws and don't generally taper as much as Chain Nose Pliers. Use these to securely hold findings, such as when opening a jump ring. Because of their strong grip without marring or scratching, these are useful when drawing or pulling wire and holding shapes while working with wire. The rectangle shape of the jaw lets you create sharp corners more easily than when using chain-nose pliers. Due to the wide jaws of your flat nose pliers you may also find them useful when it comes to simply holding and gripping small pieces that you’re working on. Many jewelers often find that holding a small piece of jewelry with your flat nose pliers while working on it with another set of pliers comes in handy, as it gives you a much steadier product to work with. Some jewelers also use their flat nose pliers to open and close jump rings.

Half Round Pliers

Half Round Pliers are an excellent final addition to your beginners’ jewelry pliers set. They feature one half round jaw and one flat jaw. Most commonly used to bend rings into shape, the half round side makes it simple to create a smooth, curved shape while the flat side helps keep any scratches or marks to a minimum as you work. Although they’re often referred to as ring pliers they are also an excellent tool for forming earring hooks and wires.

Side Cutters

What are side cutters? This handy tool will be one that you return to again and again, they’re a type of small shear that is used for cutting metal wire. An excellent tool when you’re getting to grips with wire wrapping techniques or for simply trimming away excess metal wire for a neat and tidy finish to your findings. The sharp, flat blades of your side cutters will allow you to cut right to the very edge of the metal wire you’re working with, helping you to keep the filing of findings to a minimum.

Now you know how to make use of jewelry making pliers for beginners you may want to invest in your own so you can put the theory into practice. Check out our beading pliers and cutters, perfect for beginners who want to start out in jewelry making.