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Essential Jewelry-Making Supplies

Updated on December 10, 2014
Introductory picture was taken by me.
Introductory picture was taken by me.

Making Jewelry

Making your own jewelry is a great craft and can be a source of income if you decide to sell your creations. If you're thinking about making your own jewelry or you've just started making your own jewelry you might not have thought of all the supplies that can make jewelry-making easier and help you branch out to make complex pieces. Of course there are beads and wire and clasps to buy, but the following items are essential parts of the jewelry crafter's toolbox. Here are some supplies that will be useful for anyone who spends a lot of time crafting beautiful pieces of jewelry.


Pliers can be used to make a quick adjustment to a piece of jewelry or they can help you craft the item from start to finish. Pliers are especially useful for wire-wrapping. Having a set of jeweler's pliers is a necessity for making jewelry. Pliers are extremely useful in making and fixing jewelry. They are an essential part of any jeweler's tool box. They are a necessity for making small adjustments. I use my pliers all the time.

TEKTON 7521 Helping Hand with Magnifier
TEKTON 7521 Helping Hand with Magnifier
This has two alligator spring clamps to help hold your pieces.

Helping Hands - Have a second set of hands!

When you work with jewelry you often wish you had another pair of hands. So, buy some helping hands. This tool will hold an object in place with the little clamps and then you can have both hands free to work on the item. It is an extremely useful tool and, for such a low price, is well worth the investment. All of these Helping Hands have magnifying glasses attached to them so you don’t have to strain to see the smaller pieces. These are a good tool to have if you are going to be making a lot of jewelry. It’s a little much if you only want to dabble in jewelry making, though.

SE Needle File Set 6 x 100mm/6 x 140mm Dipped Handles
SE Needle File Set 6 x 100mm/6 x 140mm Dipped Handles
This pack of twelve has several different types of files.

Needle Files

Needle files can be used to file down the last piece of wire after you've completed your wire-wrapping project. They can also be used to smooth away any imperfections in the components of your jewelry creation. This is important as it will keep the jewelry from getting snagged on clothing. It will also help you to make your creations perfect.

Beading Mat

A beading mat will help keep your beads in place. They are specially created to keep beads from rolling. Additionally, if you are working at a darker wood desk, a light-colored bead mat will make it easier to see all the components of your jewelry creations so you won't lose track of small pieces. End the frustration of roll-away beads and buy a bead mat to keep everything exactly where you put it.

Beadalon Bead Mat Tacky 4.25-Inch-by-4.25-Inch,Blue
Beadalon Bead Mat Tacky 4.25-Inch-by-4.25-Inch,Blue
This bead mat is sticky but it does not leave a sticky residue. You can wash it by simply rinsing it under warm water.

Wire Guards

Wire guards (also called wire protectors or thimble guards) go around the wire where it hooks around the clasp or connector. They keep the wire from wearing out so your jewelry will last a long time. These are an essential addition to the various jewelry pieces you will need to start crafting your jewelry, but are sometimes overlooked by people just starting out.

Bead Reamer and Vise

A bead reamer drills holes in beads. It can be used to make existing holes a little bigger. It's very frustrating to have to throw out half the beads you bought because you're having trouble putting them on the wire. A bead reamer allows you to make the holes bigger so you can make sure all of them fit on whatever gauge wire you're using. And the vise will hold the beads in place. There are special vises for this purpose that have a large hole that you line up the bead hole with.

Pearl Drilling Vise Tool - Holds Beads Securely for Precision Work
Pearl Drilling Vise Tool - Holds Beads Securely for Precision Work
A bead vice to hold the bead in place while you adjust the size of the hole.

Jewelry Design Ideas

Perhaps the most important tool you will need is an idea for a design. When you're first starting out it can be difficult to think of a specific jewelry design that you'd like to make. It's useful to pick up a book that has jewelry design ideas so you can try several different designs and learn different techniques. Here are some books that contain different jewelry-making techniques and ideas.

Glass Bead Jewelry Projects
Glass Bead Jewelry Projects
If making glass beads is something that you're interested in, then take a look at this book.

© 2011 Marigold Tortelli


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