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How to Enhance Your Engraving with Color

Written by Annabelle
October 16, 2019

Engraving is an awesome way to customize your item, but have you considered taking it a step further? There are several ways for you to make that engraving really “pop” and stand out. Read more to learn about enhancing your piece with color engraving.

What is an engraving?

There are a lot of common misconceptions that we get about the engraving process. “Can I engrave this in blue?” “Will it be black after the engraving?”

What you need to understand is that the engraving process does not add color. All you need to do in order to engrave something is to carve into the surface of it- think of it like scratching the surface of a tree trunk with a knife. For instance, if your item is gold, the engraving will reveal the gold color of the metal underneath.


This tungsten ring shows its color underneath where it was engraved.

The method of engraving that we prefer to use for our clients has a bit of a darker look; this is due to the fact that we use a laser to cut into the surface of the item. This leaves behind some burnt metal residue that will eventually wash away. Some clients request for us to leave it as is, while other clients ask us to steam clean the item and remove the residue.

How Do I Color My Engraving?

In order to get started with color engraving, there are two methods you can consider.

  1. Antiquing: This paint-like process is very simple yet effective if you want to just touch up your engraving and make it a bit darker in order for it to stand out. The jeweler simply rubs the antiquing formula over the engraving, and lets it fill in the carving. Then they clean off the excess with an industry antiquing remover, and let it sit to cure. Once the antiquing is finished, it creates a dark, black, and clean look within the engraving. Antiquing only comes in black, but it makes up for its lack of variety by being extremely precise and easy to apply.

    This pendant was recreated in sterling silver and gold plated with an antiqued engraving.

  2. Enameling: Enameling is another way to do color engraving! This method is a little more involved than antiquing; the enamel is also a paint-like substance that has to be applied to the engraved area, and then baked to harden in an industry oven. Unlike antiquing, however, it can't just be rubbed over the area randomly. The jeweler needs to painstakingly apply the enamel to the location where it will reside, requiring a steady hand and a good eye. The engraving itself has to be wide enough to take the enameling– if the font is too thin, the enamel will look sloppy and spill over in various areas. As a result, the enameling method is more expensive and more difficult to apply than antiquing, but it offers a wide variety of colors and isn't limited to just black.

    This ring has enameling applied onto the sides.

Now you're ready to get started on enhancing your engraving with some color! Comment below if you have a piece you'd like to work on.

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