The Articles of Engraving - Information for the engraving consumer
Purchasing engraving or an engraved gift can be a daunting task. An inexperienced buyer is presented with more questions than answers. An unprepared consumer may be forced to make hurried decisions they later regret. A little preparation is definitely in order.
..(1) Have you selected your engraver?
You may find a store where you can purchase an item that also has limited engraving capabilities. This type of store usually relies on pre-programmed systems to perform their engraving rather than skill or expertise. This is a good option if the results meets your expectations.
A more common scenario is to purchase your item at one store and then look for someone to engrave it.
Unless you are knowledgeable on the subject, it is a good idea to select an engraver before you purchase your item. The engraver can advise you before you purchase as to what to look for and whether or not they would be willing to do the job. They may be able to refer you to a reputable dealer that you can trust, or talk to the dealer you are considering to ensure that the resulting product is as you expect it to be.
Many engravers and jewelers will not engrave articles they do not sell. There are valid reasons for this:
...a. First and foremost, they may not be able to replace the item if the customer is not satisfied or something goes wrong.
...b. The engraver may not have the necessary tooling to perform the task requested.
...c. The engraver may lack the confidence or expertise in the particular area of engraving required. There are many forms of engraving. Most engravers do not specialize in all areas. You may need to be referred to another engraver better equipped to perform the task.
..(2) Is the item worth engraving?
Professional engraving is expensive. It takes many years experience to develop the skill and to collect the tooling necessary to do the work. It is not unusual for the cost of the engraving to exceed the cost of the item by many times. Only the consumer can decide if the finished article will be worth it to them or not.
..(3) Is The Item Engraveable?
Items that lack certain qualities can be ruined by attempts to engrave them. Many items today are not solid metal but are cast in an inexpensive alloy and plated finish. In most cases quality plating can survive some engraving processes but more often than not the plating will peal or allow corrosion under the engraving causing severe problems down the road.
It can be difficult even for an experienced engraver to detect the quality of an item before the cutting begins. An item made of a poor metal alloy covered with a gold plating will look and feel real nice but when the engraving starts the plating separates from the base metal and the item is ruined.
Quality may be reflected in the cost of the item. If you are considering engraving an inexpensive item you will probably not be satisfied with the results. Do not be fooled because the item is expensive. Many marginal quality items have been sold to unsuspecting customers at to high a price.
Purchase your item from a reputable dealer who will guarantee your purchase is engraveable. One that will refund your money as well as your engraving costs if a quality problem occurs.
..(4) Can your item hold all you want to engrave on it?
Be realistic. The more engraving you put on a small area the harder it is going to be to read. We have equipment in our studio that has the ability to engrave letters so small they look like dots. This is interesting but what is the value? Engraving usually involves a sentiment the purchaser would like to be readable. Try to keep the message as short as possible. Font choice will play an important part as well.
..(5) Have an idea what you want to say...
It is not fair to expect the engraver to create your message. Most are more than happy to help you craft your words to fit the item but the you must have a good idea of what you want to say.
Have your ideas written down. You will be making many choices during your conversation with the engraver concerning fonts, layout or design, you do not want to forget what you want to engrave or be incorrect in your information.
With a little preparation, the purchase of engraving can be a very enjoyable and satisfying experience.
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