I had a tough time naming this post. It's not really a 'tutorial' or 'How To' post, it really is more like a lesson on jewelry making pliers. I figure before I post more jewelry making tutorials and videos I should start with the essentials.
Here are the four types of pliers I use in my jewelry making. There are more, I agree, but these are the only ones I've found I've needed so far. They would be the perfect set for a beginner jeweler.
I'll keep this simple:
1. Chain Nose Pliers - You'll find me calling these flat nose pliers because they seem flat to me. They are a tapered round plier with a flat clamp. A good set should grip your wire nicely and refrain from scuffing the surface. I use these for everything. Bending, holding, clamping. I love them. I basically think of them as an extension of my hand.
2. Round Nose Pliers - These have two tapered round prongs. They are used for creating loops and eyeholes. Clamp them onto the wire and wrap the wire around them to create a perfect and beautiful circle.
3. Snipping Pliers - These can be called a few things, like cutters or flush cutting pliers. They are used to cut your wire. I like mine to be sturdy and come to a point. The pliers in picture #3 are new and are wonderful. They are precise and cut through wire like butter.
4. Crimping Pliers - These pliers are used to close crimp beads. They look like a confused alligator with funny teeth. There are two crimping molds between the prongs. One is to squeeze the crimping bead into a crescent shape, the other is to fold the crescent in half so that it forms a small crimped ball.
As with all tools, I recommend investing in pliers that are nice and sturdy and smooth. You don't want the metal surface to scratch up your wire. And if they aren't sturdy enough they might not hold when you are bending and twisting hard wire.
I truly hope that helps. Please let me know if you have any questions!