Engraved Rings – Five Things You Need to Know

Platinum Hand Engraved Rings, Three Diamond Engagement

Hand Engraved Engagement Ring. Calla Gold Design

What exactly is ring engraving? My phone rang on a rainy day. A nice guy named Lon said, “My girlfriend Sue wants engraved rings. We were talking about ring styles she likes, because I want to create an engagement ring for her. I haven't started the design process yet. Do you know what she means when she says she wants 'engraved rings?'”

“Lon, that’s a good question. I’m writing this blog post for you and the other guys who need more information on what engraved rings are all about."

Engraving Covers a Lot of Territory

Engraving inside and outside band ring

Inscription engraving inside the band tells a special love message

What exactly does Sue mean when she requests an engraved ring? Is Sue talking about the wedding date and both your initials inscribed inside the shank, or a message phrase, or perhaps a cute pet name for her?

Or could Sue be referring to intricate designs etched over the top surface of her wished for engagement ring? In other words decorative designs?

The answer: maybe both. We just need to figure out what type of engraving Sue wants and what engraving method you should request. Here is a quick explanation of engraving types and your choices of methods in having it done.

Two Main Types of Ring Engraving Defined

Inscription engraving done by laser

Inscription Engraving on the Inside of a Ring

1) Inscription Engraving

Names, dates, and messages engraved on the inside shank of a ring are called, “inscription engraving.”

Couples commonly add this type of engraving to their wedding or engagement rings to further personalize their rings.

2) Decorative Design Engraving on the Outside of the Ring

Engraver engraving a ring by hand

Vaskin, the Hand Engraver, Crafts the Design One Carving at a Time

Creating a vintage feel on your ring's surface using floral, sweeping designs, or tiny pictures, hand engraved, makes your ring unique.

Oftentimes, the little, exacting, and intricate artful details on a ring can’t be replicated in the wax carving and casting processes. Once the ring is complete, the hand engraving is done.

Hand engraving is also done on more modern designed rings. It is not just the vintage ring secret.

What's Next With Engraved Rings?

If you want inscription engraving, you’ll want to know your choices of engraving methods.

The Three Ring Engraving Methods Used in Inscription Engraving

1) Machine Engraving

Templates of one font

Machine Engraving Letter Templates in Script Font

In machine engraving, your ring is secured in a vise grip on a machine.

While the engraver traces a template, (pattern,) of the letter or symbol that will be inscribed, a corresponding sharp tool engraves your piece of jewelry.

The templates are the limiting factor in machine engraving. You need to choose one of their offered fonts.

Typically the engraving isn’t deep but the letters are more neat and uniform than hand engraving.

2) Hand Engraved Rings

This type of engraving has been around for thousands of years. Because it’s done by hand, it’s imperfect, but…it’s unique and I find it charming.

hand engraving on inside of ring shank

Hand Engraving Going Narrow to Wide and Back Again. Perfectly Imperfect

Hand engraving also allows the freedom of choosing symbols and various lettering styles in sizes and fonts where no template pattern exists for a machine engraver.

Hand engraved rings are usually etched deeper and therefore, the message will last longer.

Variation of thickness within one letter or symbol is a high point and advantage when having hand engraving done on your ring. It results in more interesting looking letters and symbols. In addition, hand engraving goes from shallow to deep, and back to shallow on each letter or symbol. Therefore it creates a depth and interest when seen, that is unique and artistic in its handmade beauty.

For more examples of hand engraving check out "Engraving Your Signet Ring."

3) Laser Engraving

Laser machines are expensive, but offer great flexibility, especially in terms of size and font style selection.

The laser engraving operator programs your message on a computer. They can work off of artwork you provide or any clean print out of unusual fonts or symbols. If you want to have your message engraved in a foreign language, your artwork will be able to be duplicated. This gives you greater versatility in your choices.

Detail Picture Of Laser Engraving in Ring Shank

This Long Message Would Only Work With Laser Engraving

Biblical quotes or longer wording generally won't fit on the inside of a ring. But sometimes that's what you want. Laser engraving is the only option when you need more words or symbols inside that ring.

The computer precision you get with laser engraving will allow for longer messages. You may need a magnifying glass to read it. I've even engraved a kiss inside a ring!

Lip laser engraved inside the wedding ring

Jordana's Kiss Inside His Wedding Band

The laser engraving operator can set shorter or longer dwell times for the laser beam doing the engraving. Therefore with laser engraving you can etch alternate metals other than gold, such as tungsten, titanium and stainless steel. These alternate metals take a longer time to engrave and often cannot be engraved by machine or by hand.

Today, even diamonds can be engraved. Thanks to laser engraving.

The font size laser engraved onto the girdle, (widest thin edge), of a diamond is so small, it can only be seen under high magnification.

The Method Most Used for Decorative Engraving on the Outside of Your Ring

Side View Detail of Hand Engraved Ring by Calla Gold Jewelry

Beautiful Hand Engraving on an Engagement Ring I Recently Made

Hand Engraving is the most common method to engrave decorative designs on the outside of rings.

The engraving on the ring above, was inspired by my free-hand drawing, that was done while sitting with my client Anne. Vasken, my hand engraver, took the picture and using the varying widths of metal he had to work with, he interpreted our desired design. My client Anne said, "That's a wow factor ten on the engraving!"

White Gold Engagement ring with a halo and trillians

Hand Engraved Ring. Another View

Hand engraving is an art form and looks amazing on wedding rings. Hand carved metal creates tiny sharp details and reflects the light in differing ways, and that sets it apart from the other methods of engraving.

Newly hand engraved rings often sparkle so much that people think there are little diamonds set where only engraving lives.

My Advice for Lon on Finding out What Kind of Engraved Rings Sue Wants

Decorative Engraving done by Hand Engraving Method - Calla Gold Jewelry

Decorative Hand Engraving Adds Detail and Beauty to This Engagement Ring

"Lon, I’d love to work with you on a custom designed engraved ring for your engagement. Ask Sue’s best friend to find out what kind of engraved ring she’s dreaming of. And find out if she's created a Pinterest page. That is a good place to start."

Your Engraving Jeweler,
Calla Gold

Many thanks to Gerard Leon Engraving and Diamond Crest Engraving for photos and information.

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About Calla Gold

Calla Gold is a Personal Jeweler and Author who takes pride in working with clients one-on-one to integrate their personal sense of style and taste into custom designed jewelry and repaired jewelry pieces.   Unlike typical Santa Barbara jewelry businesses, Calla Gold has no brick-and-mortar location. Calla Gold comes to you, bringing you the jewelry collection you want to see and collaborating with you to create unique custom jewelry. Calla also works with at-a-distance clients.

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Jackie Ruka
12 years ago

An engraved piece is so personable and romantic! I love this idea and hope more men think to go the extra step when purchasing their next piece from Calla!

12 years ago

so basically men need to ask women more questions? Yeesss! heh heh

12 years ago

I love engraving!!! Especially hand engraving-so personal and beautiful. The idea of engraving a diamond is awesome-a special secret to your most important ring in your life. Love your engraving Calla-a true artist.

madeleine Vite
12 years ago

I really like the engraving on the wedding bands. I love the engraving work of Calla Gold Jewelry. It photographs very well.
Madeleine at madphoto.com

Executive Coach
12 years ago

I didn’t know you did that! You are a personal jeweler who can do anything that the jeweler with the big store front on Main St., or Broadway 🙂 can do!! XXOO
Dr. Lynn
Certified Personal and Executive Coach

Sue M.
Sue M.
12 years ago

This informative post with engraving info is something I hope you’ll include in your next edition of your e-book “The Language of Jewelry Design” that I downloaded recently. Your e-book is chock full of great information for those of us planning our dream engagement ring. But these added engraving details I really like.
I really liked learning more about the engagement ring engraving details. Keep up the good blogging!

latasha armendariz
latasha armendariz
8 years ago

I have a question my daughter’s ring was engraved very lightly, and hardly noticeable and will be given to her this sat. It is for her 16th birthday a ring her great grandma was supposed to buy for her but passed away 7 months ago, so we enscribed it with something she used to always say, tell cheyenne she is so pretty. My question is, is there a way to make the encryption colored like black so she can see it better, she is going to be stunned when she sees it, but i want her to be able to… Read more »

Marissa Collins
Marissa Collins
8 years ago

Could you do pictures instead of words?
I’m looking to get a design done on a spinner ring and was wondering if you had any of those as well? I can send a picture of the design I wanted around the ring, just let me know where to send it.

6 years ago

good, Weldon, I have interest to learn how to write on wedding ring

Reply to  Calla Gold
4 years ago

So What does the 39.25 means, engraved on the band?

Reply to  Calla Gold
4 years ago

Thank you so much!!

2 years ago

This engraved ring with scroll patterns on profile was done by me. But my name isn’t Vasken 😁