When you go shopping for your first jeweler’s tools, go to a specialty shop, either in person or online. You want to find tools that were designed for your specific needs; not something at the local hardware store. Tools that are made for the purpose you intend will work better, hold up longer, and most importantly, work easier. You will not experience as much strain on your hands when you use the right tool for the job, and when you do a lot of jewelry making, the right tool is critical.
Some tools can be purchased at a hardware store and still do the job. My first set of tools was a kit from Sears that had needle nose pliers, chain nose pliers and wire cutters. I still use the needle nose pliers and like the fact that they have the Craftsman lifetime warranty.
Chain nose pliers, wire cutters and specialty bending pliers all need to be purchased from a jewelry supply store, and should be the best you can afford. Lesser tools will wear out quickly, so you don’t really save any money by going budget.
While it’s a good idea to shop around for less expensive components, in most cases, tools are one area where it pays to go big, so don’t be afraid to spend money in this area. You will appreciate the quality through the years.