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Valerie Tyler Collection Blog — jewelry design

Must Have Jewelry and Metalworking Tools

Posted by Valerie Tyler on

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking through my links.

 

As a metalsmith and jewelry designer I'm frequently asked by both customers and aspiring artists what tools I use to create my work so I thought I'd compile a handy resource list of some of the tools I have found most useful. 

A good set of pliers and cutters is essential. You'll use these for anything from forming and cutting wire, to creating jump rings and making attachments. There are tons of different pliers you can use but to start achain nose, flat Nose, and round nose pliers, as well as a pair of snips meets most needs.

Beadsmith Color Jewelry Tool Pliers Kit - 4 Piece Set w/ Case

You can almost never have too many hammers. They provide a variety of functions, including stamping, texturing, riveting and chasing.  Having a variety of hammers will allow you to form metal in various ways more easily. 

Just a few examples to consider:

A basic brass ball peen hammer is great for stamping. It has enough weight to do the job while being a little easier on your joints.

Ball Peen Hammer, Plastic Brass, Black Yellow, 6-1/4 Inches 1-inch Flat Head 1-inch Ball Head. Sold Individually

Brass Ball Peen Hammer

 
 
Chasing Hammer, Steel Wood, 28mm Flat Head 13mm Ball Head, 10 Inches. Sold Individually
Ball Peen Hammer, Steel Wood, 16mm Flat Head / 16mm Ball Head, 10-1/2 Inches Long, 4 Ounces. Sold Individually
Texture Hammer, EUROTOOL®, Wood Steel, 9-1/2 Inches (9) 17mm Interchangeable Faces. Sold Per 10-piece Set

 

A few tools that help you form metal without marring it and set stones without damaging them (when used correctly)  include rawhide mallets, bezel pushers and burnishers 

 

Mallet, Rawhide Wood, Brown Red-brown, 11-1/2 Inches 30-35mm Head. Sold Individually rawhide mallet

 

 Bezel Pusher, 4-inches Long 4x4mm Flat Square Tip. Sold Individually

Burnisher, Straight Wood Handle, 6-1/2 Inches Long. Sold Individually Burnisher

One of the tools that really opened up my creativity was a dapping block and punches (also often known as a doming block)  As far as all the different types of forming tools go, this is something I'd recommend even beginners try to use. 

Eurotool Metalwork Deluxe Dapping Set Block With 24 Punches

 

Use mandrels to help you form and size things like rings and bracelets.

 

 

Those who want to do stamping, personalization or just add their own initials or makers mark to pieces might consider a steel stamp set.

Stamp, Tempered Chrome Vanadium Steel, 3-4mm Modern Font Uppercase Alphabet Letters A-Z

 

If you have any plans to do soldering, fusing, or even annealing metal, a torch is an essential tool.  For many smaller tasks a small handheld butane torch can suffice. 

 

Torch, Max Flame, Steel / Plastic / Aluminum, Black, 6x5 Inches. Sold Individually

Torch, Max Flame

Of course, for those with a little more experience the Torch Set, Little Torch™ Acetylene/Oxygen System. is considered one of the best and is great for larger projects. 

Torch Set, Little Torch™ Acetylene/Oxygen System.

Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg and doesn't include things you would need for safety like masks, goggles and so on. There is also literally hundreds of other tools depending on the types, styles and quantity of jewelry you have in mind to make.  Then depending on the pieces you are making you might need things like flux, pickle, metal protectants to coat your work and chemicals to add patinas. However, even these few basic items in this list can help you create hours of work! 

Happy jewelry making! 

Please do share your favorite tools or supply links in the comments below.  I'm always on the lookout to add to the workbench. 

 

The owner of this website, Valerie Tyler, is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon properties including, but not limited to, amazon.com, endless.com, myhabit.com, smallparts.com, or amazonwireless.com.

 

 

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A Jewelry Designers Bookshelf: Must Have Books for Jewelers, Artists and Accessory Lovers

Posted by Valerie Tyler on

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click and purchase one of the product links, I may receive compensation.

While there is no substitute for hands-on learning it's also undeniable that books are a wealth of education, inspiration and enjoyment.  As a jewelry designer I wanted to give you a sneak peek into some books that are actually on my shelves, as well as a few other favorites. 

Even if you are not a jewelry designer, a few of my first recommendations are a must have for any accessory lover.  Lark books publishes a series of books of curated jewelry that allows you to feel like you are virtually stepping into a gallery.  The works in the books have all been juried and you can find amazing eye candy and see just how incredibly diverse the field of jewelry can be! 500 earrings, 500 bracelets, and 500 necklaces are just the beginning...there are lots of other books in the series as well!

 

If you'd like to learn how to make jewelry a hands-on class is the best way to begin, but if you'd like to teach yourself or explore different techniques there are so many books you can use for resources.  If you're looking for a massive compendium of information Jewelry Concepts and Technology is a great foundation for your library. This book is massive and covers just about everything related to jewelry design.
The Complete Metalsmith is considered by many to be an essential resource.
I particularly enjoy fold-forming and the book by Charles Lewton-Brain is of my favorite books on the technique. It really shows some amazing work in is what is a relatively new field of jewelry. 
Jewelry Lab goes beyond basic techniques (which are still included) but encourages the reader to explore a wide-variety of techniques such as texturing, etching, rolling, coloring, patinas, forming, connections, findings, solders, bezels, rivets, and more through a series of "experiments"  It presents a lot of fun ideas, and included clear step by step photos with each. I love the breadth of concepts included in this selection.
Stamping is hugely popular and this book shows lots of different projects using the technique.
In addition to actual metalwork and jewelry techniques I have found it helpful to make a thorough study of design motifs and ornamental styles.  This can give you a solid foundation of a multitude of ways to combine shapes, lines and forms and really help your creativity and expand your design vocabulary. These are just a few examples of such books:
Do you have a book you love as well?  Or have you even authored your own book on design?  Please share your favorites in the comments! I love to discover new books to add to the shelves.

The owner of this website, Valerie Tyler, is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon properties including, but not limited to, amazon.com, endless.com, myhabit.com, smallparts.com, or amazonwireless.com. Follow

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