Jewelry Tools: EuroTool Resurrects Miland’s Pliers, Part 2
Peter Murphy has an eye for tool talent. Years ago, he met Miland Suess at the Tucson gem show when the maker of jewelry tools was in his 80s. And he quickly realized the value of the red-handled creations.
“His tools were unique. They served a purpose for large jewelry pieces,” says Peter, who also is president of EuroTool. “There weren’t other tools that were big and beefy that could do what his did.”
But Miland made each tool by hand. “And because of that, there was quite a waiting period. So they didn’t get into the hands of a lot of people,” Peter says. “Miland wasn’t into it for the money. He was a retired police officer. This was more of a passion of his to make jewelry tools one-by-one.
“He was always gracious enough to tell me stories. I would have conversations with Miland, and I said if you ever need help with your tool line, let me help. But he was never going to let it go. He died in his 90s with his boots on.”
A while later, Peter received a phone call from Dana Suess, Miland’s son. “He said I’d love to see his legacy live on, so what can we do to make this happen?”
Peter bought rights to Miland’s name and jewelry tools. Then he contracted with a high-tech pliers maker in Sialkot, Pakistan, known for medical instruments.
“Because of this factory’s history of making precision medical instruments, it lends itself to making precision tools for the jewelry making trade,” Peter says.
“I didn’t just want to copy a bunch of stuff and have problems with quality,” he says.
In fact, the pliers look as if they could be a challenge to manufacture. Dies must be precision machined, aligned, and brazed onto handles. Then the tool must be ground and polished to perfection to avoid marring precious metal. Box joints must be strong for a lifetime of use and the whole tool must look beautiful, including the chemically-etched logo.
The response to Miland’s jewelry tools has been overwhelmingly positive, he says.
“People who have never used any of the Miland tools were really happy with the quality and uniqueness of the tools and what they could do,” he says. “When you explain to the novice what they can do, their eyes light up. That was me when I met Miland.”
To date: Peter’s website features 14 of Miland’s jewelry tools, with more to come. To distinguish them from Miland’s original handmade tools, they have blue handles.
Peter’s favorite: The Miland Accu-shear Precision Flush Cutter that handles up to 6-gauge wire.
To see short videos of Miland’s pliers in action, visit his vintage website.
Betsy Lehndorff has been writing for Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist since 2010. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.