A jeweler's stick, or mandrel, is an object used to shape or form jewelry. A common jeweler's stick is the ring mandrel, which is used to measure ring sizes when creating ring bands. Mandrels can also be used to size bracelets or rings for chain maille. Mandrels can be stepped or sloped.
To make a ring or bracelet, the jeweler wraps a wire around the location on the mandrel that corresponds with the size of the ring or bracelet he wants to create. Mandrels can come in different shapes, such as ovals, to create different types of bracelets.
Stepped mandrels are notched at each size to assist in the process of wrapping the wire or metal to the appropriate size. Sloped mandrels lack the notch and are therefore less precise but also less expensive and more common, says JewelryLessons.com.
Madrels can be wooden, steel or plastic. Steel is more durable and less likely to be damaged by constant wrapping of wire around the tool. Chain maillers use specialty mandrels called jump ring mandrels to size and cut the rings used in chain maille, although a full set of jump ring mandrels are not necessary for hobbyist jewelers, according to JewelryLessons.com