Forceps are among the plethora of surgical instruments that surgeons require during operation. Forceps come in different shapes, sizes, and varieties; some with ratchets, serrations, grooves, teeth, and, coatings depending upon their intended use. Their main purpose is to grasp things (tubes, cotton, etc) or tissue during surgery. They are made from high carbon stainless steel and are sterilizable under ETO, Autoclave, and X-ray/ Gamma.
Forceps come in two basic shapes; those which employ a screw / box-joint mechanism to move the parts of the instrument (like a scissor), and those that resemble a tweezer (known as operating or tissue forceps).
There are some forceps which are gold plated from the bottom because they have a special tungsten carbide (TC) tip in their mouths. The TC tips increase the durability, grip, and quality of the instrument and makes them more productive and valuable. To gold plate them at the bottom is just the industry standard for identifying TC instruments.
Then there are electrosurgical forceps which are active instruments (that is, electricity passes through them). These forceps have an insulation coating (normally blue in color) on all of their surface except the front and the back end through which electricity can be passed and received. The back end of the forceps is attached to an electrosurgical generator through a plug cable mechanism and the front end is left naked so electricity can come out during procedure. There are many different types of electrosurgical forceps like monopolar (diathermy), bipolar, irrigation and laparoscopic forceps.
Below are examples of some of the different types of forceps for your viewing pleasure.