Hand Engraved Inscriptions

There are a number of ways of adding an inscription to a piece of jewellery. Some are quicker than others. Some require more skill. Some give a different look to a piece of jewellery. There is therefore no right nor wrong, just your personal preference.

The video above shows a small 30mm golf ball marker being hand engraved in a classic Edwardian script.

Virtually any font can be hand engraved, any language or exotic script. From Elvish, Greek, Latin, Typewriter, Arial, Viking, Barcode, QR Code, Morse Code, Braille, Ogham or indeed your own hand writing.

Of all inscriptions, this takes the longest and requires the most skill.

hand engraved jewellery

An example of a classic “Castellar” font.(Above)

Traditional, classic and some might say quite masculine

edwardian script hand engraving

A popular script font (Above). There are variations on a theme in any font and you will find subtle difference between many of them. This is the “Edwardian script” font.

handwriting hand engraved

Anyones hand writing can be copied (Above). Your own or a loved one’s hand writing are obvious choices.

I have used samples of John Lennon, Einstein and Shakespeare.

You can pretty much have anything hand engraved

pink floyd hand engraved plectrum

Even line art (Above) , logo’s and drawings can be hand engraved on to jewellery.

Here a 9k yellow gold guitar plectrum complete with some art work from Pink Floyd

Below. A video showing the high precision cutting of a QR code.

Hand Stamping

After the accuracy and exact , formal layout that hand engraving gives you. Another technique is hand stamping.

This is now a somewhat limited technique. Each letter is on the end of a single steel punch. This is lined up by eye, and struck with a hammer. The process continues until the work is finished.

There is a degree of haphazard letter placement which is unavoidable. It has a more handmade fell to the inscription. It is not as formal as hand engraving.

It is also limited on the font choice. Only bolder fonts work well with hand stamping.

It is quicker and cheaper to use hand stamping.

hand stamped typewriter

With hand stamping you are restricted by the font choice.

Here is a serif based “typewriter” style font (Above)

hand stamped arial

You can see that hand stamping delivers slightly irregular letter layout (Above), both in spacing and in angle.

It is an honest inscription style. You either prefer this more shabby chic style or you prefer the more formal style of hand engraving.

3D Modelling (CAD) and 3D Printing.

3D Modelling. This is when the lettering is modelled into the wax design of the piece of jewellery before it is cast.

It is part of the making process, so can’t be added after the item is cast.

A piece of jewellery is CAD (Computer Aided Design) made and then 3D printed. The lettering is modelled into the piece at this stage. The resulting wax that is 3D printed is then cast.

cad lettering 18k gold

The lettering here (Above) was modelled in to the design at the creation stage of the model on computer.

It was then 3D printed and cast in 18k white gold.

copperplate cad design

An example of “Copperplate” font (Above)  being modelled in to the ring on computer.

3d CAD design jewellery

One of the advantages of using CAD deisgn, is that you can quickly create lettering that protrudes form the surface. (Above)

This technique can be replicated via hand engraving but takes significantly longer to accomplish.

cut out 3d CAd design

Another example of utilising CAD modelling to create complex lettering.(Above)

This can be hand fabricated, but would take significantly longer as each letter would need to be drill and cut out by hand.

Other Techniques

There are other methods of creating lettering, but I will seldom or never use them.

You can use acid etching to create text. This method is rather crude and delivers a font that is not very deep or crisp.

Machine engraving is best left to “key shops” who want to engrave your dog collar or for the trophy shop who want to engrave the school trophy.

Machine engraving gives a very shallow cut and in my opinion is not well suited for jewellery.