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Top 5 Questions About Laser Engraving Jewelry

by Shari Berg 20 Jul 2023
Top 5 Questions About Laser Engraving Jewelry

Laser engraving is one of the many ways you can customize your jewelry to add special meaning. Today’s lasering techniques allow for greater flexibility. Gone are the days when simple initials were all that could reliably be etched into your rings or bracelets.

Today, you can use lasers to create intricate designs and detailing that truly sets your jewelry apart. Before you head to your Albuquerque jewelry store and request laser engraving on a new or existing piece of jewelry, take a few minutes to review the answers to the top 5 questions our customers ask about laser engraving.

1 – How does laser engraving work?

Remember when we mentioned the old days of traditional jewelry engraving methods that limited how you could personalize your jewelry? Thanks to new technology, your options for getting creative have greatly expanded.

A jeweler hand engraves a men's fine fashion jewelry ring.

Traditional vs. laser engraving

The methodology behind these two engraving types differs significantly. Traditional engraving required handheld tools such as gravers or burins to manually cut into the surface of the jewelry. As you can probably imagine, this left a lot of room for errors.

Laser engraving uses a focused laser beam to remove material from the jewelry’s surface in tiny increments, creating a precise and controlled design.

Speed and versatility are two other benefits of using laser engraving over traditional engraving methods. Not only do you get the work done faster, but you also can create more intricate designs with lasers than handheld engraving tools.

Materials you can engrave

Laser engraving works with a variety of materials. Even the most delicate gemstones can usually be engraved using this technique.

Metals you can safely engrave with lasers include brass, copper, gold, platinum, silver, stainless steel, and titanium.

Certain gemstones can withstand laser engraving without damage. They include:

  • Amethysts
  • Diamonds
  • Garnets
  • Quartz
  • Rubies
  • Sapphires
  • Topaz
  • Tourmaline

If you have bracelets or necklaces that incorporate leather, those materials are also engravable using lasers.

2 - What level of detail can you achieve with laser engraving?

Laser engraving is popular for jewelry because of its exceptional precision and ability to achieve intricate and detailed designs. The laser system’s capabilities, combined with the expertise of the master jeweler operating it, determine the level of detail you can achieve.

Producing highly-detailed patterns, text, and images with remarkable clarity are among the benefits of using a laser engraver. Some of the key factors that contribute to achieving this level of detail include:

  • Design complexity. The complexity of the design influences the level of detail. Simple text and basic shapes are incredibly precise. Highly-intricate artwork may require careful adjustments and multiple passes with the laser to maintain clarity.
  • Laser power and speed. The power and speed settings on a laser engraver determine the depth and width of the engraved lines. Finding the right balance can mean the difference between crispness and excessive burning of the material.
  • Laser resolution. If you desire finer lines and smaller details, work with a laser engraving machine with higher resolution.
  • Material properties. Different jewelry materials have varying responses to laser engraving. Harder materials require more laser power to achieve the same level of detail as softer materials. Work with a jeweler who is skilled in knowing when to make these adjustments for the best results.

A jeweler engraves a delicate piece of jewelry.

3 – Is laser engraving safe for delicate or valuable jewelry pieces?

Laser engraving is generally considered safe for delicate and valuable jewelry when performed by a skilled and experienced jeweler.

However, as with any jewelry modification, certain precautions must be taken to ensure the safety and preservation of the piece. Here are some key factors to consider.

  • The expertise of the jewelry engraver. Skilled operators know how to adjust the laser settings to prevent damage to your precious jewelry pieces. Make sure you choose a jewelry engraver with experience and expertise.
  • The suitability of the material. Laser engraving works on many materials. However, it’s not compatible with every gemstone or metal. Consult with your engraver to verify your jewelry can withstand the laser engraving process without damage.
  • The engraving depth. Careful consideration must be given to the depth of the engraving. For valuable jewelry pieces, a shallow engraving might be preferred to preserve its structural integrity and value.

4 – How much does laser engraving jewelry cost?

Several factors contribute to the cost of laser engraving your jewelry. The complexity of the design, the skill of the engraver, and the age and delicacy of the piece all play a role in the price.

General pricing guidelines usually include the following considerations:

  • Design complexity. More intricate and detailed designs may require more time and precision, leading to higher costs.
  • Engraving depth. Deeper engravings or those requiring multiple passes with the laser can increase the cost because of the additional time needed to achieve the desired result.
  • Material type. The hardness and type of material being engraved influences the cost. Engraving on softer materials is less expensive because they require fewer passes with the laser.

Other factors can influence the total cost for laser engraving your jewelry. Be sure to request an estimate from your jewelry engraver before getting started.

A jeweler engraves a bracelet by hand.

5 – Are there any limitations to laser engraving jewelry?

Laser engraving is generally versatile. However, that doesn’t mean it’s suited for all jewelry materials. Some gemstones or delicate materials may be sensitive to the heat generated by the laser. Exposing it to these conditions can damage or discolor your jewelry.

Some other limitations include:

  • Color variation. Depending on the material and laser settings, laser engraving can sometimes cause slight variations in color on the engraved surface.
  • Engraving depth. Laser engraving is generally shallow compared with traditional hand engraving methods. Projects that require deep engravings may not be suited to a laser engraving method.
  • Surface area. The size and shape of the jewelry determines the engraving area. Extremely curved or uneven surfaces may pose challenges in achieving a consistent and precise engraving result.

Despite these limitations, laser engraving remains a popular and effective method for personalizing your jewelry.

Find a laser engraving jeweler you trust

Laser engraving – especially for antique or delicate jewelry pieces – requires the steady hand of a skilled engraver and a high-quality laser. Harris Jewelers has both available to our customers who wish to explore customizing their jewelry collections.

Stop by our showroom today to learn more about laser engraving.

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