I’ve been a good girl this year. Honest. So if you’re wondering what on earth to stuff in your gift sack for a jewelry designer? I’ve got a few ideas for you.
Below is my list of favorite, most needed tools that I think ANY jewelry designer would love. Hopefully, this will help you to shop for the jewelry designer in your life, or if you’re wondering what to get me? Just one of each, please!
Kristen’s Favorite Jewelry Making Tools for Gifting:
You’d be hard-pressed to find a more beautifully made, quality, ergonomic tool anywhere. Just ask any jewelry designer, and they’ll tell you. Fretz hammers are the cream of the crop when it comes to tools. I love their shape, their wooden handles, and polished faces. One might say they’re too pretty to use, but not really. They fit perfectly in my hand, and although I already own three, I wouldn’t say ‘no’ to a few more. Hint, hint.
These are a must for all jewelry designers regardless of their genre. Generally speaking, we designers and makers are a wire-bending-twisting-looping sort, and our pliers probably get daily usage around most studios. Mine do, for sure. Lindstrom and Swanstrom make my favorite pliers, and I own a wide variety, including flat nose, round, and chain-nose. Each one does different tasks. A jewelry designer can never have enough pliers, trust me!
My cutters are worth their weight in gold or fine silver in my case! There’s almost nothing worse than a dull cutting tool (maybe a cuppa hot tea gone cold), so for that reason, I’m admittedly overly protective of my cutters. I don’t let ANYONE use them, not even my offspring. My kids are getting into jewelry making now, and they only get to use my old cutters. Sorry, not sorry. However, if I could get them to work for me, that might be worth sharing my best cutters. (Unlikely.)
Precious Metal Clay (PMC)
Sometimes it’s fiddly and fussy, but oh how I love the organic textures I can get with PMC. My medium of choice in art school was clay, so PMC is a natural fit. While many designers work in sheet metal or wire, I prefer working with soft, malleable materials for several reasons:
- It's magical! When the pieces are transformed into metal through firing and then cast into components, I’m in awe of what the clay can do.
- Marked by the maker! I love that I can leave fingerprints in my pieces, a reminder of the hands that made it. Looking closely at some of my designs, you’ll see the marks I’ve intentionally left behind.
- It’s perfectly imperfect! I also love that I can celebrate happy mistakes. Some of our best and most beautiful transformations in life come from mistakes, and the clay is no different. This imperfection is raw, honest, and beautiful. PMC is metaphorical for me in this way.
Seriously one of the best gifts I ever received was a drill press! Most girls want flowers, purses, or shoes, but not this girl! I love the power and precision of a rockin’ power tool, and my drill press is the queen of the studio. Don’t judge me ;)
Some tools are necessary, even though they’re not sexy. A jeweler’s saw is one of these tools for me. I don't love it, but I love the workout it gives me. For many jewelry designers, their saw gets regular daily use. I use mine only when I need to adjust a cuff bracelet or resize a bangle bracelet. There are times when my jeweler’s saw is the right tool for the job, and a good one is mandatory.
I DARE YOU to find a metalsmith who doesn’t love fire! For many of us, learning to use a torch to anneal or solder metal was where our romance with metalsmithing began. We love the flame! Truth: I'm not great at soldering, so I usually call in an expert team member for that. So, I love using fine silver because I can fuse it without soldering, and I still get to play with fire!
Ok, this one isn’t a tool but OH BOY, we’d love a gift certificate for an indulgent spa day! Hovering over our benches, hammering metal, forming jump rings, and creating clasps can take a toll on our bodies, especially our hands, neck, and shoulders. I promise you the jewelry designer in your life would LOVE the gift of a massage.
Looking for more Holiday ideas? Check out my Favorite Fudge Recipe - a winner to make or gift.
If you enjoyed this post, check out more fabulous articles on topics from jewelry care to styling tips in the Journal.