Jewelry Tools: Beyond the Basics

Jewelry tools illustrated in a vintage postcard

If you’ve been to a beading store, either online or in person, then you’ve seen the wide array of jewelry tools to choose from. The wide selection of pliers, tweezers, and needles make sense, but what about the stranger tools? Like the tapered pointy things that look like skewers? Or those pliers with the white jaws? What about the pliers with the bent tips, what are those used for?

Here’s a quick look at some of those more specialized jewelry tools:

Bead Reamers

Those tapered skewers are called bead reamers and their name explains how you use them. They’re used to clear, straighten, or enlarge¬†bore holes of beads that may be too tight¬†or blocked. Usually they have a grit to them, like sand paper, so you can slowly work them into the bead without breaking it.

Bead reamers vary in size and shape depending on what you need. Straight bead reamers are used to enlarge a hole to a specific size, where tapered ones are usually used to clear or straighten holes.

Nylon Straighteners

Those pliers with the white jaws are called nylon straighteners. The nylon blocks at the tip are used to straighten anything from wire to bent needles, making them a staple in any wire worker’s toolbox. Just pinch the wire with the nylon jaws and pull the wire through. The pressure of the jaws and direction of your pulling will straighten the wire so you can rework it into shape, or straighten a needle that’s too crooked to fit a bead.

Split Ring Pliers

These pliers are incredibly specialized, but that doesn’t mean they should be left out of your toolbox. These pliers are used to open split rings or key rings, allowing you to easily employ them in your project, or attach a dog tag to your pet’s collar.

Split rings are more stable than normal jump rings. They’re stronger and less likely to separate, so you don’t have to worry about Beadalon slipping through them. Despite this, most people don’t use them because split rings are so difficult to open since they’re so fine. Use split ring pliers to add that extra layer of security to your creations.

Want to learn more about our tools or just take a look in person? Stop by the store and ask one of our staff members or sign up for one of our classes!