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The Difference Between Engraving Styles

Engraving is the art of 'carving' letters, numbers, words or designs into hard surfaces including metal, stone or glass.  Humans have made their marks for a very long time and today there are more options than ever before.

Marking keepsakes with permanent messages and symbols is a beautiful way to tell the story of the people, places and events you are connected to.  Engraving is like writing a love letter that will last for ever. There are four main ways to engrave or mark jewellery these days and each method shares similarities to precious letters written with love. 

Electric Burr Hand Engraving

Hand-engraving with an electric burr has been the most popular form of engraving for many years now. Characters are created by hand and it takes skill, experience and an artistic eye to work out the best positioning for the letters and the relationship of the characters to the metal or piece.  An electrically operated tool is used to hand carve each letter into the metal.  Engraving with a hand-held burr is like hand-writing a love letter with a fountain pen, letters have the human-touch with each letter individually created with care and time.


Master hand-engraving with a 'chisel'

Characters and images hand cut into metal are miniature works of art! It takes an engraver with many years of training, experience and talent to be able to hand carve lettering, monograms, cyphers, logos, crests and designs into metal with old-fashioned gravers, or chisels and tools.  Engraving created this way is as perfect as humanly possible while retaining the imperfect perfection of something created by humans, not machines.  Engraving by a master engraver with a hand held graver is like having a love letter written with a calligraphy brush and ink.


Laser Engraving

Marking jewellery using a laser will create perfectly formed letters of any size or shape.  The lettering is created by a computer so is very precise and perfectly formed but it is not always very deep. Most laser engraving also needs a completely flat surface to work. Laser engraving can also replicate logos, images or handwriting. Laser engraving is like writing a love letter on a computer.  Technically perfect but without the personal touch.


Stamping differs from engraving in that letters are hammered into the metal using a hard stamp.  Letters are permanent.  Stamping is relatively easy to do and was very popular over the past few years - we are no longer stamping jewellery. Each letter needs the human touch (or bang) and each letter is preformed and letters will be roughly aligned but not always perfectly.  Stamping a piece of jewellery is like writing a love letter on an old fashioned typewriter. Quirky, fun and mostly uniform.



Stamping and laser engraving can have a contemporary or casual look. Hand-engraving usually has a more personal or traditional look.  Each method will suit different jewellery styles and whichever method you choose, it is sure to make a keepsake a little more meaningful and treasured always.


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