Handmade Jewelry Tools: Equipment Investments for Serious Makers

person holding blue and silver hand tool

Handmade Jewelry Tools: Equipment Investments for Serious Makers


Having quality tools makes all the difference for efficiently crafting professional looking handmade jewelry. Certain specialty tools allow you to take your skills to the next level by expanding techniques.

This guide covers must-have jewelry making tools for serious makers and small business owners. Learn key features to look for when investing in important equipment like flex shafts, ring mandrels, ultrasonic cleaners, tumblers, presses and more.

Benefits of Investing in Quality Jewelry Tools

Quality tools offer many advantages:

  • Work faster and with more precision.
  • Achieve cleaner, more refined results.
  • Add new skills like stone setting, metalsmithing, chainmaking.
  • Enable you to tackle more complex and delicate jewelry pieces.
  • Allow working with stronger, higher quality materials.
  • Prevent hand strain from struggling with subpar tools.
  • Last for years of regular use so you recoup their value.

Factors to Consider When Buying Jewelry Tools

Here are key considerations when selecting high-quality jewelry making tools:

Types of Jewelry You Create

Purchase tools that support the core methods you use most. A jeweler who primarily does wire wrapping would invest in different tools than a metal clay artist.

Volume of Production

If producing high quantities, durability and ergonomics are especially important. Opt for well-engineered, high-powered tools.

Workspace Constraints

Consider the space you have available and any noise restrictions. Some specialized machines take up substantial real estate.

Cost Per Use

Calculate cost over the tool’s lifespan compared to outsourcing the task. Time savings also add value beyond the price.

Skill Level

Opt for more automated, computerized tools as a beginner. Graduate to more manual precision tools as your skills progress.

Materials Used

Match tool strength and capacity to the materials you use. sterling silver requires more rugged tools than craft wire.

Recommended Jewelry Making Tools for Serious Makers

Here are key tools to research for taking your jewelry making to the next level:

High-Quality Pliers Set

Various specialized pliers like chainnose, flatnose, and bail making pliers provide leverage and precision for detailed tasks.

Ring Mandrel

A steel tapered cone sizes rings and helps form perfectly round rings from flat strips of metal.

Rolling Mill

Rolling mills with textured plates shape uniform sheet metal into jewelry findings, cuffs, and decorative elements.

Ultrasonic Cleaner

These efficiently clean jewelry and small parts using only water and ultrasonic vibrations. Much safer than harsh chemicals.

Steam Cleaner

Loosens and flushes away polishing compounds and debris from the crevices of jewelry and settings with super hot vapor.


Tumblers gently polish precious metals, stones, and finished pieces rotating in abrasive media. Automates tedious polishing.


Small kilns or enameling torches fuse glass enamels and coatings to metal jewelry securely with precise temperature control.

Laser Welder

Micro laser welders non-destructively fuse metals together without solder or heat distortion. Ideal for delicate work.

Vacuum Casting Machine

Improves the cast metal replica process for lost wax casting of jewelry and small parts. Reduces imperfections.

Electric Rolling Mill

Electric rolling mills with digital thickness readouts allow safer and more precise sheet metal shaping for complex components.

Bench Polisher

Multi-wheel bench polishers save hours of hand polishing. Useful for finishing bezel settings and resized rings.

Digital Microscope

View stones while setting, examine solder joints, and inspect finishing quality in high magnification. Ensure perfect polish.

Digital Calipers

Accurately measure metal thicknesses, gem dimensions, and piece sizes for reproduction using digital calipers.

Jewelry Engraver

Personalize pieces professionally with computer-controlled engraving machines suited for metals and stone.

DIY Tool Options for Jewelers on a Budget

With some creativity, you can make functional DIY versions of pricey jewelry tools on the cheap:

  • Ring mandrel – Use a tapered wood dowel, pipe, or rolling pin covered in adhesive sandpaper.
  • Parallel pliersGlue paddle-style popsicle sticks to the insides of regular pliers.
  • Roll printerMake textured rollers from rubber floor tiles or foam and attach them to a pasta maker.
  • Strip bender – Secure guitar string tightly between two bolts in a wood block to bend jump rings and links.
  • Ring stretcher – Insert metal ring bands snugly into drill bits of increasing diameters to gently stretch rings.
  • Ring holderGlue a short dowel onto a base for holding rings securely while setting stones and soldering.
  • Ultrasonic cleaner – Use a simple ultrasonic jewelry cleaning bath with an added heating element to save over stand-alone units.
  • Bezel rollerCut circle templates from acrylic sheets in standard jewelry sizes to form bezels over with pliers.
  • Ring clamp – Cover bent large paper clips with rubber tubing to create friction grips for holding rings.

Building Your Jewelry Tool Collection Over Time

Follow this plan when acquiring key tools incrementally:

Stage 1: Basic Hand Tools

Start with essential hand tools like pliers, cutters, mandrels, files, and hammers. Focus on quality for core everyday tasks.

Stage 2: Basic Power Tools

Add workhorse power tools like a rotary tool, flex shaft, and ultrasonic cleaner for efficiency and versatility.

Stage 3: Specialized Hand Tools

Upgrade pliers and mandrels suited for your focus like chain making, stone setting, or metalsmithing.

Stage 4: Advanced Power Tools

Invest in major equipment like kilns, tumblers, and ring rollers which expand capabilities.

Stage 5: Precision Hand Tools

Opt for micro precision tools like gauges, presses, and calibrated measuring implements.

Building slowly allows time to determine how you like to work and where tool upgrades make the biggest impact on skill level. Let your jewelry evolve organically over time.

Protecting Your Jewelry Tool Investments

Safeguard valuable tools with these practices:

  • Store tools properly in protective cases, tool boards, or wraps when not in use.
  • Lubricate and tighten equipment as specified by manufacturers to prevent damage from friction.
  • Use tools only for their intended purpose following all safety guidelines to prevent misuse.
  • Unplug electronic tools when not in use and protect cables from pinching to maintain longevity.
  • Keep cutting blades properly sharpened and follow suggested replacement intervals.
  • Disconnect pressurized lines and power switches before servicing equipment.
  • Research reputable repair technicians for specialty tools needing maintenance beyond DIY care.
  • Arrange adequate insurance coverage for studio tools and equipment in the event of theft, fire, or accidents.


Specialized jewelry making tools open up new techniques and improve efficiency once basic hand skills are developed. They represent investments that pay off through years of use.

Determine which equipment supports your personal jewelry making needs and goals. Seek quality over quantity when selecting tools. Mastering one machine thoroughly benefits overall craftsmanship more than hastily purchasing a wide assortment.

Protect equipment properly and learn to use new jewelry tools to their full potential. Let specialty tools remove limitations so you can bring intricate designs to life!

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