Jewelry Tools: 8 Ways to Show Your Love and Respect

USUALLY IT’S A CAUTION — respect your jewelry tools — but not always. Tool respect also involves dedication, organization, etiquette, and lots of TLC. If you love jewelry-making tools, show them all the respect they deserve. Here are eight simple ideas you can apply to help the tools you love help you make the most of them every time.

Focusing is important in crafts other than jewelry making, as for example, in photography. This great shot of a beautiful manmade faceted ruby was taken by Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist photographer Jim Lawson for Smokin’ Stones in the November 2017 issue.

1 Focus

Working distractedly is never a good idea. If you can’t focus on your work at the moment, go do something else you can focus on. You, your work, and your tools will all be the better for it.

2 Safety

Appreciate what a tool can accomplish, intended or otherwise. Powerful tools, especially those that can manipulate metal and stone, are potentially dangerous if not well understood. Read and follow all manufacturer’s instructions and precautions, but also read about usage from as many sources as you can, watch experienced artisans at work live and on video, take classes. We all know it’s important to handle tools with care and confidence, but we don’t always make that extra effort.

Jeff Fulkerson stamping triangle wire in November Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist

Jeff Fulkerson uses a special jig for stamping triangle wire (above) while making these silver cuffs. Stamping photo courtesy Jeff Fulkerson. Cuff photos: Jim Lawson.

3 Use

Your jewelry tools are your admission ticket to jewelry making, and you both deserve them in prime condition. Use them as designed, don’t abuse them. Be inventive, but keeping them free from harm goes double anytime you’re experimenting.

4 Moving

Bring your jewelry tools to your work surface with care, and put them back the same way. Setting up and closing down are as much a part of jewelry making as the fun in between.

5 Storage

You can’t move your tools in and out of their special spot if they don’t have one. Tools can be damaged just by exposure to moisture, being knocked off a surface, getting scratched by other tools or materials. Each tool deserves its own home where it can rest safely — and that you can comfortably access. If retrieving or returning a tool is awkward, you might accidentally drop or otherwise mishandle it, or not even bother to put it away.

6 Transport

If you take classes or do work elsewhere, be sure you pack your tools so they are safe for the whole trip. If you have to ship them, make sure they are very secure and that there are no restrictions on what kinds of things can be shipped via that carrier.

7 Others

If you’re willing to let someone else use your tools or take them for a time, let the borrower know what special treatment these tools require and when you expect them back. If you don’t feel comfortable lending them, don’t do it.

When someone offers you the use of their tools, be honored and show it. Confirm that you have permission, and ask for restrictions. Be gracious about initiating any request, and accepting a no. Tools are often said to be an extension of the craftsperson, making this an exceptionally personal bit of borrowing.

November Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist, your turn by Jewelry Artist, Susan DeCreny Siering

Inspired by a pendant project in the November issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist, Susan DeCreny Siering created this necklace and sent in this photo.

8 Satisfaction

Finally, be sure to show your jewelry tools the ultimate respect: create something with them that pleases you and makes you proud.

Merle White is Editor-in-Chief of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist and Editorial Director for the Interweave Jewelry Group. This post is adapted from her column, “Love Them, Respect Them,” in the November, 2017, issue.

Find More in the November issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist

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