In this post, we’ve pulled together everything you might need to know about engraving. From the engraving techniques used today, including hand engraving and laser engraving. We’ve also compiled our advice on what to engrave and when, as well as ideas for engraving drawn from our years of experience here at Jackson Square Fine Jewelers. So read on to become an Engraving Expert or just to learn how we can make you a treasured piece of jewelry truly unique.
How is Jewelry Engraved?
Engraving is an ancient craft, with roots stretching back millennia. Today, there are two main ways to engrave a piece of precious gold, silver, or platinum jewelry; Hand engraving or Machine Engraving.
Throughout its long history, engraving was a craft painstakingly done by hand. And the tools that are used for hand engraving today would look quite familiar to an ancient craftsperson. Hand-held tools like gravers are used to carefully remove small amounts of metal to create a design.
Hand engravers are only restricted by the size of the surface and their imagination. Common types of jewelry engraving include images, repeating patterns, or lettering. It is sadly not as common anymore.
Much of the engraved jewelry you see today has been produced using a machine. Modern engraving machines operate in one of two ways, using either a laser or a diamond-tipped bit to engrave a template drawn up and finalized
The advantage of this system is of course that it is quite a bit faster and eliminates most possibilities of human error. Both Diamond tip and laser machine engraving have a very neat finish. A variety of designs or fonts can be used, so long as the design works in black and white with decent line weight.
What Should I Engrave?
Many people know they want to add an engraving to a special piece of jewelry. But when it comes to finalizing a choice of engraving, many draw a blank or have so many ideas it can be hard to zero in on one! In our many years of experience, we have seen it all! So here are our tips for choosing what to engrave and indeed, when.
Keep Engraving Short, Sweet and Simple
What you engrave really depends on what the piece is and how big it is! Depending on the size of the piece of jewelry, space for engraving will most likely be limited. So we would advise against an intricate design or an entire song is engraved on the inside of a ring for your sweetheart! It may look great on-screen or sketched out on paper. But when scaled down to a size that will work on a ring, it may look cramped or worse, illegible. So we recommend you keep the engraving short, sweet, or simple for maximum impact.
Make Engraving Personal
In our years of experience, we’ve seen it all when it comes to engraving! But the best engravings are always personal. Here are a few of the most common requests we have had from our customers over the years to give you some ideas to start from:
- Engrave an important Date: Whether the day of a wedding, birth or graduation, an important date is always a popular one for marking life’s important events with a jewelry keepsake.
- Engrave a name or initials: Perhaps the most personal engraving, whether it’s a pet name on a piece for your sweetheart, your own and your fiancé’s initials on your wedding bands, or the name of a dearly departed family member for a piece in memoriam. Names are a very common request for engraving as it instantly makes a piece personal.
- Engrave a Place of Significance: This request is certainly not as common as dates or names but it is just as lovely. We’ve had several couples get in touch asking for engravings of co-ordinates or place names. An important piece of jewelry engraved in remembrance of the spot where a couple first met, got engaged, or married is a lovely and deeply personal choice.
- Engrave your own design: Perhaps it is a doodle that you are known for, a constellation of importance to you, or an ornate Monogram of your own and your loved one’s initials. If you have a creative eye, this can be a beautiful idea to make a piece that is truly unique to you. The only thing to keep in mind with this one is choosing a piece of jewelry that has enough space for your design to be given pride of place.
- Engrave a short sentiment: As we mentioned above, keeping it short and sweet is a good idea. But a short sentiment is a lovely way to make a piece of jewelry your own. Indeed a split message is a popular choice for couples on wedding bands where the first ring might say “To have” and the second “To hold.”
- Engrave a combination of ideas: If you can’t decide on one type of engraving you could always combine ideas e.g. a wedding date and initials. The main restriction here is space. But we are always very happy to help our customers get the engraving they have their hearts set on. Just get in touch and we will do our best to make your dream a reality.
Take Your Time
You definitely don’t want to put yourself under pressure with an engraving! So do take your time. This is doubly the case for wedding bands. You and your partner will be wearing your rings for years to come so you want to be sure you get what you want. We advise couples that are not sure what they want to think about engraving their rings at a later date if they can’t settle on a design or inscription. Rings needn’t be engraved before you walk down the aisle! It could be something you have done for your first anniversary. Personal engravings can always be added at a later date. This gives you more time to think about the message without the myriad of other wedding decisions weighing in!