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posted by Colleen Shirazi, September 8, 2007 at 1:45 PM (Pacific)

I made my first ring today, and discovered something. You need a ring mandrel. lol...

Making the ring isn't difficult, but controlling the size is next to impossible without the mandrel. I kept grabbing it and trying to size it, but as you're working on it, it tends to slide apart and get bigger. Grabbing it and pulling it back tends to make it too small.

I did finish it and it was a tiny bit too big. Ugh.

People often ask what tools are absolutely necessary to make jewelry. Tools aren't cheap, so it is a good question.

Of course it depends what kind of jewelry you want to make, but even if you know what you want to make, there does seem to be a sort of endless array of tools.

For example, it's only recently I got a cup burr. It's not that cup burrs cost a lot, it's just it's on top of the bazillion other tools on my wishlist. All along, I'd been using a regular emery board to smooth the ends of my wires. So I wondered if the cup burr were absolutely necessary.

Since getting it though, I like it. It doesn't miraculously smooth the wire into a dome, exactly, but it does make the end smooth and nice, better than the emery board.

When I got that EZ Bracelet Sizer, I didn't use it at first. I was used to trying to measure the strand, putting it on a wrist, yadda yadda... Once I started using the sizer, my life suddenly got a whole lot easier.

I'm not saying you have to buy a bracelet sizer; you could make one. I saw some plastic drinking glasses at the dollar store that would work. They'd be horrible drinking glasses--besides being thin crappy plastic, they were too long, and narrow at the base--but that's also why they'd make good bracelet sizers. You need something that's too long, and narrow at the base.

I'm actually pretty happy with the ring; it looks nice, but I can see the necessity of the mandrel. Apparently you can hammer the ring right on the mandrel; check this out:

Free Form Ring - Jewelry Making at

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