What Exactly Is Ring Engraving?
On a rainy day my phone rang. 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 by ‘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
What exactly does your Sue mean when she requests an engraved ring? Is she talking about the wedding date and both your initials inscribed inside the shank? Or a message? Perhaps a cute pet name for her?
Or is she referring to intricate designs etched over the top surface of her wished for engagement ring?
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
1) Inscription Engraving
Names, dates, and messages engraved on the inside shank of a ring is “inscription engraving.”
Couples commonly add this type of engraving to their wedding and engagement rings.
2) Decorative Design Engraving on the Outside of the Ring
Floral, sweeping designs, or tiny pictures create the vintage look to make 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.
It these cases, it’s left to a professional engraver to carve the complex and artistic design into the metal after the ring has been cast.
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
Like the name implies, 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 the jewelry.
The templates are the limiting factor in that you need to choose one that they offer.
Typically the engraving isn’t deep but the letters are neat and uniform.
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 also allows the freedom of choosing symbols and various lettering styles in sizes and fonts where no template pattern exists for a machine engraver.
Finally, the letters on hand engraved rings are usually deeper and therefore, will last longer.
One aesthetically appealing aspect of hand engraving is the look of a letter going from narrow to wide and back to narrow. And from shallow to deep back to shallow.
This creates a depth and interest when seen that is unique and artistic in its handmade beauty on your engraved rings.
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 operator programs your message on a computer, offering much versatility.
Because the operator can set shorter or longer dwell times for the laser beam, he 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.
I’ve even engraved a kiss inside a ring!
Today, even diamonds can be engraved. Thanks to laser engraving. The font size lasered onto the girdle of a diamond is so small, it can only be seen under high magnification.
The Method I Use for Engraving on the Outside of Your Ring
We use hand engraving for designs on the surface of the engraved rings we make.
This type of engraving is an art form and looks amazing on wedding rings.
I love the detail and the way the hand carved metal reflects the light in a glimmery, gorgeous way!
My Advice for Lon on Finding out What Kind of Engraved Rings Sue Wants
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. Then we are good to go!
For more pictures of the different styles of engraving on rings see “How Re-Engraving Saved This Ring.”
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