Whether you love a special piece of jewelry or you love the person who gave it to you, at some point you may decide to make it even more unique by having it engraved. But there are a few things you’ll want to consider before you move ahead with your plan. For one thing, you’ll have to put some thought into the symbol or inscription you plan to engrave on your jewelry. This could depend on several factors, such as the size of the area to be engraved, the type of metal you’re working with, the cost, and the sentimentality of the inscription. But you also need to decide whether you want to get your message engraved by hand or if you prefer to have it done by machine. There are a couple of pros and cons associated with each.
Let’s start with machine engraving, which is more common these days and will almost certainly be easier to come by. There are a couple of good reasons to go this route. For one thing, you will likely pay less for the process of machine engraving and the job will be finished much more quickly. Although a laser engraving machine is an expensive piece of equipment, it works a lot faster than a person when it comes to engraving, and doesn’t require anywhere near the manpower. Basically, a technician just uses a computer program to spell out the area to be engraved, pops the jewelry into the laser engraver, and lets the machinery do its thing. In addition, a machine can do just about anything you want, and do it flawlessly. Any font, any symbol, any size or thickness of line – the machine can deliver exactly to your specifications thanks to laser precision and the minute calculations that a computer can perform on the spot.
Now, that said, you may still have reason to consider going with an engraving produced by a master craftsman trained to hand-hammer designs into metal. Although it could cost more and take a little longer to complete, the end product will truly be one of a kind. And while a hand engraving may not have the precision and options that come with a computer program, a machine can’t give you the character that a live, human, professional can. As an additional benefit, you can ask a hand engraver to give you a truly custom design. A computer can only do what it’s programmed for. So if you happen to have a symbol or graphic in a digital format you may be able to get it engraved. But if you’re looking for an original piece of art or hand lettering, you can only get it from a pro that is trained and experienced with hand engraving.
In truth, the format you choose is an entirely personal decision. If you don’t want to go overboard when all you’re looking for is a single letter or a simple message, for example, then the uniformity, low cost, and convenience offered by a jeweler with a Trotec Laser is probably what you want. But if a totally one-of-a-kind engraving is all that will do for your special piece and you want it designed by an artist, then hand engraving is likely your best bet.