Mandrels are tapered steel rods, which come in various shapes and sizes. I have three round ones, which go from a millimetre or so up to maybe 40mm in diameter.
Using either my wooden mallet, which will reshape silver but not stretch or resize it, or my bench hammer, which will both shape and stretch the silver to a different size, I use my mandrels to shape bezels, shanks and various other things as I am creating a piece. I even bend my round hoop earrings on my mandrel!
You can get oval mandrels, square mandrels, teardrop shaped mandrels, hexagonal mandrels.. I do have another one or two on my wish list, but for now I love my round mandrels!