In general, there are a few tricks you can use when engraving jewelry. Let’s say a customer brings in a pendant to be engraved, but only has one. There are a few things you as the engraver can do.
If you have a problem finding the center of pendant, but only have one piece to get it right, use some sample techniques to start with. First, finding the length and width of the piece is vital. Once you have those numbers, taking half of each measurement will find the near center of the object.
With an irregular-shaped object, the mathematical center is not always the preferred visual center. When laying out your design in your software, size the dimensional layout to the height and width of the piece to be engraved. Lay out your design, then print the design on a piece of paper. Put the print of the design on your engraving table. Then lay the item to be engraved on top of the printed layout.
Engraving on a thin piece of scrap acrylic sheet will show you where on the piece you will be engraving. This can save you time and money, and will help avoid wasting an expensive piece of jewelry.
Another method to lay out your design is to first scan the object with a document scanner. Import your scanned object into your favorite software, and then size your imported object. Now we have a canvas to lay out our design. When dealing with custom jewelry, you will find that the objects are not square or round. In fact, some are most likely handmade and the finished product is not dimensional-the same from one piece to another. Scanning an image is particularly helpful in this case.
-Matthew McCreary, LaserSketch, Ltd.