Question: durability of engraved jewelry

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I would like to engrave a necklace with a fine line/dot bulino engraving on silver. But i wonder how long such delicate engravings will last? Do they wear of during the years? I mean silver is a very soft material and the lines a pretty thin. Has any of you experiences with that topic? Would it help to roll the silver before engraving it to harden it a bit more?

And how does it work with rings? Of course, i dont want to engrave with bulino style on a ring. But what is about ordinary flat cut engraving on gold rings?
 

allan621

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Most of the time its the amount of wear any piece of jewelry receives. For example, a wedding ring that is removed very often will wear the inside engraving more than one that is never taken off.

In the case of something like a pendant, charm or bracelet ( if its cut deep enough ) its not the actual wear thats the problem. Usually its the surface abrasions from normal contact with clothes, people or other jewelry items. The engraving is not worn but hidden behind a patina of scratches. Deep flat or square tool engraving on the outside of the ring suffers from this.

If you're bulino engraving is shallow there is one additional problem. It shouldn't be polished after engraving. Polishing wears the edges of the cut, making it rounded and giving the engraving a worn look. That's what happens to engraving over the long term. Normal wear rounds the edges of the cut and if the cut is not wide or deep to begin with the effect could be pretty easy to spot relatively quickly.

I do a lot of recutting rings and pendants. The store I get my work from has a long of long standing customers and they bring in pendants and charms for recutting. The procedure is to recut the engraving lightly, sand the abrasions off, polish and then re-engrave. The key is not to use a mechanical polishing or sanding tool. Glue it to something flat and rub it on the sanding papers working your way through the grits. When its ready to be polished, use a polishing cloth wet with a little lighter fluid, rub some polishing compound on the cloth and rub it on the cloth. It won't come out perfect like a polishing wheel, but it will be perfect enough. And the engraving will look better than if it was polished on the wheel.

Allan
 
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Thank you for your answer Allan!

I dont want to polish the bulino pendant after engraving. I guess the engraving is better visible with a matt finish.

What you are saying increases my concerns. But is it pontless to do a necklace like this then?
The rose leafs, for example, looking like very fine cuts.
 

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mitch

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Daniel, everybody here pretty much knows I hold Winston & his work in the highest esteem, but whatever your plans are, please do not copy that "P". The shadowing on it is a disaster! There are about 4 or 5 different, conflicting lighting angles at play. I have no idea where he got that, if it was supplied by a client, copied from a book, or he drew it, but it's a mess...

IMG_20190527_0001.jpg
 

allan621

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What you are saying increases my concerns. But is it pontless to do a necklace like this then?
The rose leafs, for example, looking like very fine cuts.
Not pointless to do that and we should work to the highest levels of our abilities. And there are times you have to just do the engraving you have in mind just to see how it turns out. Your experience may be totally different from mine.


But Mitch is right. I do jewelry engraving and we very seldom do any blackening of the cuts. So we are very conscious about managing the reflection of the light. Its something to keep in mind. There are times when the results look confused because of the way the light is managed.

The other thing is having the customer understand the limitations of wearing the piece. The pendant is beautiful but it looks like its never been worn. There's not a casual mark on it from wear. So either the recipient only wore it carefully on special occasions or kept it in a box like the work of art it is.

The last thing is about the matt finish. On the pendant I would call that a light satin finish. The satin lines are vertical, but if you notice there is only one line that is truly parallel to the finish. The left side body line. Every other cut runs counter to that so the cuts have no competition from the reflection of the finish. Having this inked and the lines cut at different depths help this a great deal.

Allan
 
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Thank you both for your answers!

Dont worry Mitch, i dont want to copy this pendant. It was just as an example. But thank you regarding the advice about the light angles. I always watched for the roses and almost ignored the P letter. I am just in natural images, mostly birds and other animals. If possible i try to avoid lettering.

Allan, maybe the image from the pendant is right after it was finished and not worn at the moment?
 

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