Pliers Terms for Jewelers

Learn about the different types of pliers available for jewelry making and their uses in this glossary.

Last edited: 10/31/2019
Four Swanstrom pliers on a wood surface

What jewelry-making tasks are chain-nose pliers used for? And why are there so many different types of pliers for jewelry? Each style of pliers is designed to perform specific tasks at your workbench and using the right type for your task makes your work easier, increases your efficiency, and reduces hand strain allowing you to work longer. Bookmark this jewelry-making pliers glossary for the next time you come across a term you’re unfamiliar with.



Bail-Forming Pliers
Swanstrom Parallel-Action Bail-Forming Pliers
Pliers with barrel-shaped jaws that do not taper. They are used for to shape, form jump rings, S-hook clasps, loops, bails and any finding requiring a smooth, even loop in wire, strip and sheet. Each jaw is a different diameter.
Bent Chain-Nose Pliers
Slim Bent Chain-Nose Pliers
Chain-nose pliers with fine tips that are bent to be perpendicular to the handle and joint, enhancing reach and visibility. These pliers are great for accessing tight, hard-to-reach areas.
Bow-Opening Pliers
Bow-opening pliers are used to open bows, links and jump rings. Unlike traditional pliers, the jaws of bow-opening pliers open smoothly and evenly as you squeeze the handles.


Chain-Nose Pliers
Swanstrom Micro Chain-Nose Pliers
Pliers with jaws that taper to a point with smooth flat interior faces. These pliers are used for opening and closing jump rings, flat crimping, making angled bends, and wireworking.
Confirming Pliers
Swanstrom 2-inch Confirming Pliers
Pliers with leading edges thinned to an almost knife-like fineness. Used to pinch and confirm edges of folds or corrugated metals. These pliers can also be used to hold workpieces during benchwork.
Crimping Pliers
Large Crimping Pliers
Specialty pliers used to close crimp beads, securing beads on beading wire, without creating the sharp, unattractive edges that regular pliers can leave.


Flat-Nose Pliers
Swanstrom Flat-Nose Pliers
Pliers with two smooth, rectangular flat jaws. They are great for making broader curves in wire, angled bends in metal and wire, straightening wire and flattening metal and holding components.
Flat Stock and Wire Shaping Pliers
Flat Stock and Wire Shaping Pliers
Pliers with compound joint action to consistently shape heavier flat stock and wire without pinching or binding. Pliers with compound joint action to consistently shape heavier flat stock and wire without pinching or binding.
Forming/Bending/Shaping Pliers
Large jawed pliers for forming and bending sheet metal and wire into a variety of shapes. Forming pliers are available with concave, convex, flat, half-round, combination (flat and round/concave and round) jaws. Some have nylon or Delrin® jaws to reduce marring the surface of the metal.


Hole Punching Pliers
Swanstrom Hole-Punching Pliers
Pliers used specifically for punching holes in metal and leather.


Jump Ring Closing Pliers
Jump Ring Closing Pliers
Pliers specifically designed to close jump rings.


Needle Chain-Nose Pliers
Chain-nose platers with extra-fine tapered jaws are ideal for fine, detail work. They are used to open and close jump rings, flat crimping, making angled bends, and delicate wireworking.
Nylon/Delrin® Jaw Pliers
Thin Flat-Nose Pliers with Nylon Jaws
Pliers with nylon or Delrin® jaws that reduce the marring on the surface of the metal. Some pliers include replaceable jaws.


Parallel-Action Pliers
Swanstrom Parallel-Action Flat-Nose Pliers
Pliers with jaws that open parallel to each other. Parallel pliers apply equal pressure to the object you are forming or holding. They are great for forming, shaping and holding sheet and wire stock.
Prong Closing Pliers
Prong-Closing Pliers
Pliers specifically used to close prongs on settings.
Prong Opening Pliers
Rio Grande Prong-Opening Pliers
Pliers specifically designed to open prongs.


Rosary Pliers
Swanstrom Rosary Pliers
A combination of round-nose pliers and side cutters in one tool. Ideal for making rosary-style necklaces, assembling chain and making loops.
Round-Nose Pliers
Swanstrom Round-Nose Pliers
Pliers with long, tapered round jaws. They are used to make loops, eye pins, French wires, jump rings, clasps, coils and curved bends.
Solder Cutting Pliers
Solder-Cutting Pliers
Specially designed pliers that are ideal for precutting small pieces of sheet solder into square pieces.
Split Ring Pliers
Split-Ring Opening Pliers
Pliers that are specifically designed to open split rings for attachment and removal.


Stone-Setting Pliers
Stone-Setting Pliers
The jaws on stone-setting pliers are specially shaped—often grooved, angled or notched—to provide easy access prongs. Use them to move prongs securely into place against the stone or to move prongs away when removing a stone from its setting.


Tube Holding and Cutting Pliers
Tube-Holding and Cutting Pliers
Pliers that hold tubing or small rods while sawing. Some have duck-billed jaws and feature a narrow groove down the center of the jaws for saw blades to follow.


Wire Twisting Pliers
Wire Twisting Pliers
Pliers specifically designed create a uniform twist in wire. They are a locking plier with a manual mechanism which spins the pliers and wire. A cutting blade is built into the base of the jaw.