Laser Engraving Vs Traditional Etched Engraving
After the Fraunhofer Institute in Aachen, Germany, the powerhouse for international laser developments, invented in 1997 a new type of laser the technique became really popular. This new laser made very tiny dots and the writing speed was incomparable with the Russian technology. This resulted in models, with say 50, 000 dots, which took only 20 seconds to be engraved in a glass block. The term 3d crystal laser engraving is widely used instead of subsurface laser engraving. Although subsurface laser engraving describes exactly what happens laser engraving machine, it sounds commercially more interesting to call it 3d crystal laser engraving. The word ‘crystal’ appeals more valuable to people than glass and that is probably the reason for this somewhat confusing name. Although it is possible to do subsurface laser engraving in crystal and many other transparent materials, the material usually used for this technique is Optical Glass. Optical glass is a type of glass which is made
in a very precise way. Any artefacts in the glass would influence the optical quality. For the 3d laser engraving process it is very important that the quality of the used optical glass is uniform throughout the whole block to avoid mistakes. So the next time that you see somewhere written “3D crystal” you know it is actually not crystal but (optical) glass. You and your spouse-to-be got your brand new wedding bands all picked out and you are ready to personalize them by engraving a special message to each other inside the ring. But you don’t know what type of engraving you should get. Did you know most reputable jewelers offer traditional etched engraving and new laser engraving?
Traditional engraving is the way engraving has been down since the beginning of time, which is by carving or etching your personal message on to the surface of the ring. This is the same type of engraving you would see on trophies and plaques. This technique is quite simple. It involves using a needle like object made of an extremely hard material, usually hardened steel, to literally scratch your engraving on to your wedding bands. Although many jewelers will tell you that this type of engraving cannot be done on tungsten wedding bands because tungsten is just too hard of a metal, it is simply not true. If a traditional engraving machine has a diamond tipped needle, it can engrave on tungsten bands because diamonds are the hardest substance on earth, which means they can scratch anything.
Jewelers who stay on top of technological advances know about laser engraving and offer it to their customers. Although laser engraving or marking machines have been around for decades and have been used in many industrial applications, only recently has this type of engraving been applied to jewelry. The most common type of laser used for doing laser engraving is a Yttrium Aluminum Garnet (YAG) laser. YAG is the abbreviation for the type of crystal this laser uses to focus the laser beam. To do the engraving, the laser basically burns your message on to the surface of the ring. This type of engraving is safe to use on all types of metals from soft gold to extremely hard tungsten. One great advantage of laser engraving is that is allows for more types of fonts to choose from and it can engrave just about any symbol or picture.
The durability of an engraving done on the outside of the ring depends on the durability of the metal itself. On softer metals, like gold, the ring will get scratched and the engraving will wear away over time, but on hard metals like tungsten, the engraving will not wear away as it is very difficult to scratch the ring. Engravings on the inside of the ring will not wear away no matter what metal you choose, as long as you wear the ring on your finger. For the engraving to wear away, that would mean your skin is tougher than the metal, which is not possible. Wearing a ring on a necklace could rub away an engraving on a gold ring over time. Traditional engraving tends to be more popular with customers who purchase rings made from traditional metals, such as platinum, palladium and gold. This is probably because people are used to seeing their parents’ wedding rings, which are made from traditional metals, with traditional engraving. Customers who purchase alternative metals, such as tungsten rings, tend to prefer laser engraving, as their wedding band is made from a new metal, so they prefer a new engraving technique. There is no right or wrong way to engrave your ring. It all comes down to personal preference, and we are proud to be able to offer you the option that suits you best.