For many people the art of making jewellery is more than just a hobby. Jewellery making is an art almost as old as humanity itself, and because of this long history, there are many different tools available. One of the most important tools are jewellery pliers. Although all pliers perform the same basic function, there are many variations to choose from. Anyone who wishes to learn the art of jewellery making or expand their arsenal of tools can find jewellery pliers in hobby shops as well as online using eBay.
Before making a purchase, it is important to be aware of the different kinds of jewellery pliers available, along with the specific tasks that each kind is designed for. Furthermore, it is helpful to know about the metals jewellery pliers can be made from as well as how important factors like tip size and jaw length are. Keeping all of these things in mind can make it possible for any amateur jeweller to feel like a professional when buying tools.
Types of Jewellery Pliers
All jewellery pliers are designed to firmly grasp small objects and wires, and can be used to bend and shape metal. However, there are so many intricate subtleties to making jewellery that jewellers have developed fine distinctions between different types of pliers. Some pliers are considered essentials that every jeweller should have. Others are considered optional for those who want more variety, and a third group is mainly designated for specialists.
Essential Jewellery Pliers
The essential jewellery pliers are not only the most widely used jewellery pliers, but they are also those best suited to those who might be working on a budget. It should be noted, however, that pliers with a very fine point cost more than pliers with a wider point.
Round Nose Pliers
The most essential pliers are actually those that are the most ordinary in shape. Round nose pliers are simple tapered pliers with ends that form a circle. These pliers are essential because they allow the user to shape and bend metal into graceful hoops and other circular patterns. There are variations within the category of round nose pliers, many due to differences in size. Smaller pliers allow for more detailed work. Larger pliers typically do not allow for finer work, but are generally less expensive and better suited for beginners.
Since round nose pliers are likely to be frequently used, it is important to find a set of pliers that fit comfortably into the hand. In some cases, this means a more padded or wider shaped handle. Spring-handled pliers are also helpful in terms of taking the strain off of a jeweller's hands and allowing them to work for a longer period of time without any pain or discomfort.
Flat Nose Pliers
Flat nose pliers have ends that flatten as they reach the tip. This design makes them good for holding wire and other pieces of metal in place. Flat nose pliers can also be used for straightening wire or for holding round objects without causing scratches.
Crimping pliers are different than most other jewellery pliers in that they are designed to crush or flatten as opposed to the delicate work other pliers are put to. Crimping pliers are often used to finish a piece of jewellery, such as crimping metal together so that beads and other items do not come free. They can also be used to crimp beads themselves, making certain that they stay in place. Crimping pliers come in a variety of shapes and sizes, including some specially designed for crimping beads. Others are designed mainly for use in electrical wiring, so it is important to know what kind is needed before making a purchase.
While wire cutters are not technically pliers, they are an important part of a jeweller's arsenal and go hand in hand with various pliers. Wire cutters are needed to trim wires and help make many of the finishing touches in jewellery. Some wire cutters are inexpensive and basic, but may leave rough edges that may need to be sanded. Others are designed to leave as little evidence as possible, but cost more money.
Optional Jewellery Pliers
For those who have a larger budget or who would like to try their hand at more advanced jewellery techniques, there are a number of pliers on the market to add to one's collection. These types of pliers combine some features of basic pliers or those that are designed for highly specialised work.
Chain Nose Pliers
Chain nose pliers are similar to flat nose pliers, and are often confused for them. The difference between the two is that while flat nose pliers are flat on both the inside and the outside of the pliers, chain nose pliers are flat on the inside and round on the outside. Chain nose pliers are in some respects also similar to round nose pliers and can serve some of the same functions. However, they tend to be more pointed and are better suiting for accessing small areas.
Nylon Jaw Pliers
Nylon jaw pliers have replaceable jaws made of nylon, which is a softer material than most jewellery metals. Nylon jaw pliers are used for very delicate work where metal can become scratched or otherwise marred. In many cases, this means simply holding items and wire in place, but they can also be used for straightening wire as well.
Split Ring Pliers
Split ring pliers have a distinctive shape, with one tapered jaw and one that comes to a bent point. Split ring pliers are basically designed for one purpose, which is to open split rings. This task that can be quite onerous, especially if there are many split rings that need to be opened.
Highly Specialised Jewellery Pliers
Some pliers are only used in very specific circumstances, and then usually only by expert jewellers. Many of these pliers are more difficult to find, as they are not purchased as often as the more general types of jewellery pliers.
Grooved and smooth inside edges
Closing loops and rings
Round nose pliers combined with a wire cutter
Repetitive work: chains and rosaries
Small jaws that can be easily swapped out for different size gems
Along with pliers, jewellers make use of a number of other tools, many of them just as specialised. There are also other types of specialised pliers used by jewellers who use different styles or who work in different media around the world.
What to Look for in Jewellery Pliers
While the style of a set of pliers is an important characteristic to look for when making a purchase, there are other factors that should be taken into consideration as well. These factors include what metal a set of pliers is made from, how long the jaw is, and whether or not it has tension springs.
For the most part, jewellery pliers are made with steel, but there are different varieties of steel that may make a difference in how the pliers function. Stainless steel is a generally affordable metal and resists rust very well. In terms of jewellery pliers, it should perform well although it can be scratched or marred while being used. Hardened tool steel is another option and is much harder and more durable than stainless steel. However, tool steel is more prone to rusting.
The jaws on a set of pliers determine how much force can be used. Short jaw pliers are much stronger and can function well in doing very fine work. Longer jaws lack power, but they provide a longer reach, which is necessary for some jewellery work. At the same time, if wire needs to be bent, longer jaws allow for a longer bend.
Tension springs are built into the handle of a set of pliers in order to force the jaws apart. This helps prevent wear on the hinges and can even save hands from cramping or feeling overused. Tension springs are useful on pliers that are used frequently, and it may be more cost effective to do without them on pliers that are used rarely.
How to Buy Jewellery Pliers on eBay
A wide variety of jewellery pliers are found on eBay, where sellers put new and used items for sale. Once it has been determined what kind of pliers are the best fit for an individual, the next step is to search for them on eBay. The most efficient way to conduct such a search is to use the search bar that is accessible from any eBay page. A search for 'jewellery pliers' should return a number of different items, while a search for a certain type of pliers should return fewer but more specific results.
Read Product Descriptions
While jewellery pliers are fairly simple mechanical devices, it is still important to read all product descriptions for potential purchases before buying. These descriptions can detail an item's history and alert buyers to any potential problems or issues. At the same time, it is important to read seller feedback and profiles to find out as much information as possible.
Jewellery pliers are an extremely important tool for professional jewellers and hobbyists alike. With the right set or sets of pliers, anyone attempting to make jewellery can create elegant and dazzling works of art. While there are many kinds of jewellery pliers available, there are some that are considered essential. These essential pliers include round nose pliers, flat nose pliers, crimping pliers, and wire cutters, as these pliers serve most of the basic tasks of any jeweller. Focusing on the essentials also means saving money, which can be helpful for someone just starting out or wanting to limit hobby costs.
For those who want to experiment with different jewellery techniques there are other pliers available, including highly specialised pliers that are only used in certain circumstances. When buying jewellery pliers, it is also important to look at the metal they are made from, the length of their jaws, and whether or not they contain tension springs. Learning the ins and outs of buying jewellery pliers can make it possible for anyone to make an informed purchase.