As a beginner jewellery 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 jewellery making style and the materials you like to use the most, you may only want to invest in a few vital jewellery tools that will be indispensable, no matter which area of jewellery making you specialise in later in your career.
Any professional jeweller will tell you that your set of jewellery making pliers are just some of the tools that you will return to again and again in your career. To help you figure out which jewellery pliers to invest in at this point in your career, we’ve put together a comprehensive list of some of the best jewellery pliers for beginners.
What are the best jewellery pliers for beginners?
Round nose pliers
Keen to learn more about shaping wire and forming intricate metal loops with your work? Your set of round nose pliers will be invaluable. As the name suggests, the jaws on your round nose pliers are completely round, tapering off to a point. This makes them most useful for creating loops in wire, and a great asset for tight wire wrapping on smaller pieces, or creating your own jump rings.
Snipe nose pliers
Also referred to as chain nose pliers, your snipe nose pliers are an excellent jewellery tool for opening and closing jump rings. 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 use jump rings, including step by step guidance on how to easily open, close and solder your jump rings 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. 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 jewellers often find that holding a small piece of jewellery 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 jewellers also use their flat nose pliers to open and close jump rings.
Half round pliers
Bent nose pliers are an excellent final addition to your beginners’ jewellery 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.
A heavy duty pair of shears is just the ticket for a busy jewellery maker who needs clean lines when cutting up pieces of sheet metal and solder strip. A solid pair of manual shears that will cut through metal sheet and wire of up to 16 gauge is ideal so that you can use your shears when a piercing saw just won’t cut it.
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 jewellery making pliers for beginners you may want to invest in your own so you can put the theory into practice. Check out our five-piece jewellery pliers set, perfect for beginners who want to start out in jewellery making. Our jewellery plier set includes all the pliers in our beginners’ list above: side cutters, snipe nose pliers, round nose pliers, flat nose pliers, and bent nose pliers.
What are the best jewellery pliers for more advanced work?
Now you’ve got the basics, here are the best jewellery making pliers for more advanced projects.
Bracelet bending pliers/Ring bending pliers
If you plan on specialising in a specific type of jewellery making or would like to produce rings and bracelets en masse, then a more specialised set of ring bending/bracelet bending pliers may be a handy addition to your tool kit. Ring bending pliers are also known as half round pliers due to the shape of the jaws – one side is flat and one side is rounded. This specific set of ring bending pliers helps you to form smooth rounded surfaces for your rings, while the flat side ensures that the metal you’re working with doesn’t get scratched or marked. If perfecting rings is your aim, a set of ring bending pliers may be a welcome addition to your tool kit.
Bracelet bending pliers look a little different to ring bending pliers. Usually used to form metal bangles, they feature a set of curved nylon jaws. The nylon minimises any risk of scratching the surface of the metal as you work and the gentle curve of the jaws will help you shape a perfectly formed bangle.
Solder cutting pliers
If you plan on soldering a lot of your pieces, whether that’s forming rings or creating bezel settings, a set of solder cutting pliers will save you lots of time. This handy set of jewellery making pliers helps you to create your own soldering pallions with just a snip of your pliers. All you have to do is feed your metal sheet or wire through the hole in the jaws of your solder cutting pliers, adjust to the length that you require from your pallions and simply cut away. This will help you save time cutting up tiny pieces of solder and help speed up your entire jewellery production process. Use a small tin to catch your soldering pallions as you cut, that way you have a stock of pallions ready for whenever you need to use your soldering torch.
Multi sized looping pliers
Multi sized looping pliers may look a little strange but they’re incredibly useful when you’re producing multiple bails, or jump rings in varying sizes from 2 to 9mm. With the jaws of the pliers featuring more than one loop setting it makes it easy for you to create jump rings of multiple sizes for different projects in a matter of minutes.
Crimping pliers are a great addition if you work with beaded pieces. With a specially cut set of jaws your crimping pliers will first separate the crimp into sections, then squeeze the crimp into place, securing it on the thread or wire you’re using. Each set of crimping pliers will usually be set to a specific size, so make sure you use the crimping pliers that correlate to the size of the crimps you regularly use.
Hole punch pliers
If you’ve reached the stage in your jewellery making career that you’re creating more and more hanging pendants and charm bracelets, but you’ve not yet reached the point where you would like to invest in a drill, these pliers are just the ticket. Great for creating holes in metal blanks, they will help you quickly produce clean, even holes, whether it’s simply for hanging pendants or creating drops and connectors to your pieces.
Whether you’re just starting out or you’re exploring new jewellery tools to speed up your jewellery making process, a reliable jewellery pliers set will never let you down. Browse our full collection of jewellery making pliers online and stock up on the essentials.