As I sat down with Emily Miller and Kate Richbourg from Jewelry tools, the sounds of the nearby jewelry making classes were rich with hammering and instructions. The classes available at the JOGS Tucson Gem & Jewelry show ranged from beginners classes to experienced metalsmithing seminars, each class taught by instructors flown in from around the country. “These are instructors that have written books, that teach on the national scene, and they all converge here, with Jewelry Tools as the sponsor.”
Jewelry Tools is the host of the intimate jewelry making classes at the JOGS show, but their main focus is providing good quality materials and good quality tools sold by knowledgeable jewelry enthusiasts. Between Emily and Kate, two of Jewelry Tools’s representatives, they have 50 years of collective experience in the industry.
“One of the things that our company has as a big draw is that customers can come and see things they’ve never seen before, and we can explain to them how to use it.” Jewelry Tools carries a wide variety of tools, including trusted brand names like Lortone and Wubbers.
At their booth and online you can find pliers of all sorts, hammers, files, gauges, rotary tools, wooden jewelry benches, and supplies for all types of crafting including bead stringing, enameling, metalsmithing, casting and carving.
“A lot of times a customer will buy a tool then not know what to do with it. The cool thing about coming to Jewelry Tools, especially at the JOGS show, is that we have people to demo the tools. So even if you bought a tool from Jewelry Tools before, you can come on down and see the tool in action. We sell a lot of great tools, but we also provide a lot of education.” The show isn’t the only place you can see Jewelry Tool’s products in action – while browsing their website, you’ll find videos under most products explaining exactly how they work, how to use them, and the pros and cons of the different varieties available for purchase. Each video is professionally filmed and narrated by Kate Richbourg, a professional jewelry design teacher.
“Jewelry making tools of all sorts come in different qualities. Sometimes the quality is about the size and the refinement of that tool, sometimes that quality is about the durability of that tool, sometimes its about the hand grip and how it feels in your hand and how it will help you make your pieces. There are times when it’s important to have tools that protect your body too. Safety glasses, hearing protection, tools that are more gentle on your hands and wrists with good ergonomics.”
At the show, Jewelry Tools was also displaying some of their exclusive tools that can’t be bought anywhere else, developed by artists at the company. “Eugenia Chan, metal enamelist, has created some tools. It’s kind of amazing that it’s still happening in the jewelry world, you’d think that everything’s been done. She developed a steel basket that fits into a tripod - it holds the piece very carefully between four points and allows you to enamel from below. But this basket can also go inside a kiln, so you can enamel inside a kiln as well. She also developed stencils for enameling.” Eugenia has also developed a unique enameling spatula, a bezel soldering grip, and specialty metal hole punches.
Customers at the booth ranged from the veteran to the beginner. “We have a really wide variety of customers that come, but I think it’s really cool when a beginning customers can come and they can try things out, we really have a range from the hobbyist to the do-it-yourself jewelry maker all the way up to the professional jewelry maker. And when we demo, we’re able to speak to the experience of each customer who’s here, because the two of us, we’ve been making jewelry for over 50 years collectively - so we can address really simple and easy questions for the beginner, or if you’re a seasoned professional, we can also speak to your questions as well.”
If you’re interested in opening up a world of options with Jewelry Tools, you can visit www.jewelrytools.com or call 1-866-453-6147. “That’s what we actually do – We sell the tools, and we teach you how to use them.”Read more →