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Engraving Options

Best Ways to Engrave Wedding Rings

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Why Should I Engrave a Ring?

When I pick up a vintage diamond ring I usually don't look at the diamond. The first thing I do is look inside for an inscription. There's something about sentimental engravings from the past that brings out the romantic in me.

Your own wedding rings will become even more cherished when they are engraved with a message that's significant to you. It's never too late. You can engrave your wedding rings any time, before you're married or years afterwards.

A traditional inscription includes your names and wedding date, but you can be more creative with the engraving. Choose a special phrase--from a poem, from a song, from your time together, from religious writings--the choices are endless.

Start thinking about the inscription early. What phrase or word best describes your relationship? I'm sure you'll come up with something perfect, and once you do, it's time to consider some of the technical aspects of engraving your wedding rings.

Size the Rings Before You Engrave

Make sure your rings are sized before they are engraved, especially if the phrase is long, because the letters could be damaged during the sizing procedure.

Hand Engraving Methods

Hand engraving is done with a tool called a graver--think of it as a miniature chisel. The sharp, chisel ends of gravers are formed into different shapes that offer different looks for the text. Multiple shapes let engravers choose the best tool for the type of lettering you request.

Many experienced hand engravers are artisans who can put your inscription into any style of text you desire. Some engravers can even produce intricate symbols.

Hand engravers sometimes prefer to work with gold rings, rather than platinum, since the softer gold has more "give" under the engraving tool. On the other hand, platinum doesn't wear away as easily as gold, so once it's there an inscription in platinum is usually more durable.

Machine Engraving Options

Machine engraving is accomplished with different types of power-driven engravers that work off of templates or computer aided designs. The jewelry is inserted in the machine and when turned on the machine forms the letters.

Machine engravers burrow into or spread the metal apart to create letters. Some machine engravers offer only block lettering, so be sure to ask about available options.

Before You Engrave a Ring

  • Ask to see examples of a hand engraver's work. Ask the same of a company that produces machine engraving.

  • Do the sample engravings appear to be fairly deep cuts (longer lasting) or shallow cuts (which will often wear away more easily)?

  • Find out which type of lettering your jeweler feels will be most durable on a ring worn every day.

  • Ask how long it takes to have the rings engraved to be sure there's time to complete the job before the wedding ceremony.

  • Will rings be sent out for engraving, or is it done in-house? There's always a risk of loss when rings are sent out.

  • Are the rings insured while in the jeweler's possession or when sent to another party for work?

How Much Does an Engraving Cost?

Machine engraving costs less than hand engraving, but hand engraving is not terribly expensive unless you request many characters in a difficult style. Choose the look you like the best and make sure it's durable, because you'll hopefully wear these rings for the rest of your lives.

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