Jewelry engraving is a popular way to personalize and customize your jewelry pieces. Whether you want to add a name, a message, a date, or a design, jewelry engraving can make your jewelry more meaningful and unique.
Among the many jewelry engraving machines, laser engravers are preferred over others due to their high accuracy.
In this blog post, we will explain what is a jewelry laser engraving machine, why it is better than other methods, what are the different kinds of jewelry laser engravers, and how to select the best one for your projects. By the end of this post, you will have a clear idea of how to create stunning and personalized jewelry pieces with laser engraving.
In This Article
- How Does a Jewelry Laser Engraver Work?
- Advantages of Jewelry Laser Engraving Machines
- Types of Jewelry Laser Engraving Machines
- Factors to Consider When Choosing a Jewelry Laser Engraver
- Best Laser Engraver for Jewelry
- How to Laser Engrave Jewelry?
How Does a Jewelry Laser Engraver Work?
Jewelry laser engraving is a process of creating permanent and personalized designs on various types of jewelry pieces, such as rings, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, pendants, etc. Jewelry laser engraving can be used for adding text, logos, symbols, images, patterns, or any other custom artwork to your jewelry.
This form of engraving uses a jewelry laser engraving machine, a specialized device that directs a high-powered laser beam onto the material's surface. The laser beam heats up and vaporizes the surface of the jewelry material, creating a precise and detailed engraving.
The jewelry laser engraver is controlled by computer software that allows you to adjust the speed, power, frequency, and other settings of the laser. This offers unparalleled precision that allows for incredibly detailed work, far exceeding what manual engraving can achieve. The laser beam can also be focused to a very small spot size. As a result, laser engraved jewelry pieces often feature an exquisite level of detail.
Jewelry laser engraving can be done on various types of metals, such as gold, silver, platinum, stainless steel, titanium, brass, copper, etc. Laser Engravers can also be done on some non-metallic materials, such as wood, leather, acrylic, glass, etc.
The result of jewelry engraving using a laser engraving machine differs according to the material of the jewelry. There are different results on wooden engraved jewelry compared to metal engraved jewelry. The appearance and feel are completely different.
Engraving metal jewelry using a laser engraver means laser marking the item. By laser marking, it means that the laser leaves marks when it comes in contact with the material. The metal material is pretty hard and has a very high boiling temperature; therefore, there is no cavity, 3D appearance, or deep engraving.
On the other hand, when you laser engrave wooden or acrylic jewelry, the laser engraver creates a deep mark or cut that gives a 3D look. If you touch that surface, you will feel the depth of the engraving. It is because these materials vaporize quickly when the laser beams meet the surface. Thus, the material is taken off the surface, and you are left with a cavity.
Jewelry engraving is used for various purposes. The most important or common use of jewelry laser engraving is
Advantages of Jewelry Laser Engraving Machines
These advantages make jewelry laser engraving machines a valuable asset for jewelers seeking to elevate their craftsmanship, efficiency, and customer satisfaction.
Superior Precision: Jewelry laser engraving offers unparalleled precision. It can achieve fine, exact detail in designs that are nearly impossible to replicate with traditional manual methods. This precision enables the creation of intricate and complex patterns, personalized messages, and even lifelike portraits on small surfaces, such as a ring or a pendant.
Versatility: Laser engraving machines can work on virtually any material—be it gold, silver, platinum, or even hard gemstones. This versatility extends the design possibilities, allowing jewelry makers to expand their creative horizons and offer more personalized and unique pieces.
Non-Contact Process: Since laser engraving doesn't involve any physical contact between the tool and the jewelry piece, the risk of causing damage or wear to the item is significantly reduced. This non-contact process is especially beneficial when working with delicate or thin materials that could be damaged by more invasive methods.
Consistency: Laser engraving ensures consistent results. Whether you're engraving a single piece or a batch of hundreds, the laser engraving machine will produce the same high-quality result every time, which is essential for brand consistency and large-scale production.
Time-Efficiency: The process of jewelry laser engraving is automated and thus, faster than manual methods. This speed enables jewelry businesses to increase their productivity and meet customer demands more efficiently.
Customization: With the integration of CAD software, jewelry laser engraving machines can execute any design conceived by the artist or customer. This advantage makes it a powerful tool for creating customized or personalized jewelry, meeting the growing demand for one-of-a-kind pieces in the industry.
Durability: Laser-engraved designs are known for their longevity. As the laser alters the surface structure of the material, the engravings are highly resistant to fading or wearing off over time, ensuring a lasting design that can be cherished for generations.
Types of Jewelry Laser Engraving Machine
There are three types of laser machines commonly used for laser engraving. All these machines have different characteristics, capabilities, and properties. Therefore, it is a must to understand what kind of jewelry they can engrave and how it works.
1. Diode Laser Engravers for Jewelry
The most common and affordable option for jewelry engraving is a diode laser engraver. If you want to work from home or in a small shop, this machine is suitable because it is compact and portable.
a. Applicable Jewelry Materials
In a diode laser engraver, pump diodes are used to generate laser beams. These laser beams have the capability to engrave various materials.
Diode laser engraving machines can be further classified into two types. One is the most common one, which is the blue laser. The wavelength of this laser is 450nm, and it is capable of engraving wood, acrylic, stone, glass, steel, etc.
Depending on the optical power of the blue laser, the machine is able to engrave hard materials. Usually, a diode laser engraver has a power rating of 5W to 15W. This power can laser engrave wood, acrylic and some metal jewelry, but you cannot engrave on precious metals. Some more powerful diode laser engravers, such as the xTool’s world’s most powerful diode laser, xTool D1 Pro 40W, can offer color laser engraving on metals. But again, it still can not be used for precious metals engraving because of its wavelength.
You can cut and engrave acrylic and wooden jewelry without any hassle using a diode laser engraver. But please note that to be able to laser cut acrylic, the laser light has to be absorbed by acrylic. Due to clear acrylic letting over 90% blue light (visible light) pass through it, they can’t be cut using a blue light diode laser.
The second type of diode laser is the infrared laser, which usually has a wavelength of 1064nm. Due to the wavelength of this laser, it is capable of engraving precious metals, such as gold, silver, and platinum. Moreover, it can also laser engrave plastic much better than the blue laser.
b. Features & Advantages
Diode laser engraving machines are suitable for beginners, and they can easily handle it and start a new business. If they contains both the blue laser and infrared laser modules, they can cover a wide range of materials that are not possible by CO2 or fiber lasers.
Diode laser engravers require a lower investment compared to other types of machines, and you can get an excellent return on your investment. You can target various products and fill your inventory with splendid wooden, acrylic, and metal items.
A diode laser machine is ideal for small businesses as there is almost no maintenance, and the lifespan is quite longer than a CO2 machine. It also has batch processing features, safety features, and almost everything you need to start the jewelry engraving business.
The results of diode lasers are very fine. Usually, the laser spot is smaller than 0.05 x 0.05, which is the best for engraving on jewelry. It offers fine results and the utmost perfection you need. There are no burn marks, and the objects appear clean and clear after engraving.
c. Price Range
Diode laser machines are usually available for $600 to $2000, depending on the features, power, and other specifications. It is much less than the price of a CO2 or fiber laser. Common people can easily invest in this machine and make different types of jewelry. These machines have a longer life, so you do not need to replace them in a short time. With that being said, your investment is recovered for sure.
Keep in mind that this price range is only for the machine. If you need to buy a rotary attachment, enclosure, air assist, extension, and other accessories, it will cost you more.
2. CO2 Laser Engravers for Jewelry
A CO2 laser engraver is the next suitable option for jewelry engraving. This is also a suitable machine for small businesses. It is a bit more expensive than a diode laser, but it is still affordable.
The operation of CO2 lasers is based on a CO2 tube from where the laser beams are produced. The wavelength of the laser is over 10,000nm, which is in the infrared region of radiation.
a. Applicable Jewelry Materials
CO2 laser machines can engrave more non-metals than diode lasers. You can engrave wood, acrylic, paper, leather, plastic, stone, cardboard, food, fabric, stone, glass, and rubber. They can also engrave plated and painted metal, but it is not for engraving precious metals. If you want a machine that can engrave precious metals, you can go for an infrared diode laser or fiber laser.
The reason behind not engraving precious metal is the wavelength. The wavelength of a CO2 laser cannot properly engrave gold, silver, and platinum. You won’t get the results you are looking for. You might be thinking that getting a high-powered CO2 laser would do the job, but the reality is that the engraving depends on the wavelength first and then on the power. If the wavelength is not suitable, it does not matter how intense the power of the laser beam is.
For instance, you cannot engrave on clear acrylic using a diode laser, but it can be engraved using a CO2 laser. Furthermore, CO2 lasers are very powerful. They are usually available in wattages of more than 30-40 watts. Thus, there is no issue with the power; the main reason is the wavelength.
With that being said, you can only engrave the jewelry made from the non-metals we have discussed and some non-precious metals with a CO2 laser engraver.
b. Features & Advantages
A CO2 laser engraving machine is quite compact and affordable. It is the next option for people who want to start laser engraving from home or a small shop, but it is not the right option for jewelry engraving because it cannot engrave precious metals.
It is quite powerful and can do engraving and cutting jobs at a very fast pace. Due to its high power, it is compatible with a large range of materials. For those who want to buy a laser machine for wood, acrylic, stone, and other jewelry made from non-metals, it could be the right choice as it can engrave these materials at high speed and boost your productivity.
CO2 lasers usually have various built-in features that diode lasers do not have. They are usually enclosed, there is a proper exhaust system, most of the machines have a built-in camera, and last but not least is batch processing. The features depend on the machine you are purchasing.
c. Price Range
CO2 lasers are more expensive than diode lasers; however, the price is still affordable. The price is usually $3,500 to $5,000.
The expected lifespan of CO2 laser machines is much shorter than diode lasers. They can last only up to 6,000-10,000 hours, while the diode lasers have a lifespan of 50,000 hours.
But again, these laser machines have their own advantages, such as engraving a wide range of materials that increase the number of products in your inventory. But still, it is not the right choice for precious jewelry engraving.
3. Fiber Laser Engravers for Jewelry
A fiber laser engraver is the first choice for engraving and marking metals, whether they be precious or non-precious metals. This laser machine is very expensive because of its immense power, incredible capability, and complex construction.
For large businesses, this machine is quite suitable because the price is quite high, which can only be recovered if the business is on a large scale. If you are looking to start a small business or your investment is low, we would never recommend a fiber laser machine.
Fiber lasers have a fiber optic cable that makes them different and better than other lasers. This cable is doped with a rare earth metal that decides the wavelength of the laser. For instance, if neodymium is used, the output wavelength would be 780-1100nm. There are other rare earth metals that are commonly used in fiber lasers, such as ytterbium, thulium, holmium, erbium, and praseodymium. Thus, the wavelength of the fiber laser varies.
The final wavelength decides for what purpose the laser machine is suitable. It can be used for jewelry engraving, metal cutting, laser welding, laser cleaning, and other purposes. You need to choose the right fiber laser machine that is specifically made for engraving jewelry and precious metals.
a. Applicable Jewelry Materials
Fiber laser engraving machines can engrave all precious metals, such as gold, silver, and platinum. It offers optimal results and high accuracy. Other than these materials, fiber lasers are compatible with other materials as well, depending on the type of laser and power.
Fiber lasers are very powerful; even the 20W laser can engrave metals. You can go for higher power as well, but that increases the overall cost. Usually, you will see fiber lasers in the market having an optical power of 20-100W. Thus, there is no need to worry about the power of the laser as all can engrave jewelry, but it is better to buy 20W or above.
b. Features & Advantages
There is no comparison between the speed of a fiber laser and other types of laser machines. The peak power of the laser can reach up to 5,000 to 10,000W, which is very intense and can easily engrave hard materials at a very high speed. Thus, if you have a fiber laser engraving machine, the productivity will be incredible.
It is a long-term investment, so it is perfect for large-scale business. After considering productivity, speed, and performance, there is no better than a fiber laser for engraving items at a large scale.
But keep in mind that the machine size is also larger, so you need a large space.
c. Price Range
The price of a fiber laser engraver is more than three to four times the price of a CO2 laser and 15 to 25 times the price of a diode laser. The price can be more, depending on the power and other features of the laser machine. A 20W fiber laser will cost you $5,000 or more. If you go for a higher power, the cost can be more than $15,000. Therefore, the cost of fiber lasers is quite high, and it is not a preferred option for beginners. Moreover, as you cannot engrave a variety of materials, you can only recover the investment if you have bulk orders of jewelry engraving.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Jewelry Laser Engraver
Choosing the right jewelry laser engraver is the most critical task for a beginner before starting the business. However, if you know the things you need to consider and the important and essential things you need to notice, it will become much easier.
Let’s have a detailed look at the factors that you must consider to get the right jewelry laser engraving machine.
1. Type of Laser
The first thing that you need to decide on is the type of the laser engraver. We have already discussed three types of laser machines aboved and explained almost everything you need to know. You might have a clear idea of the type of laser you need.
If you don’t want to spend much, your business is new, you are a beginner, and you want to engrave precious metals, you can go for an infrared laser. It is a splendid choice for jewelry engraving.
For bulk orders and established businesses, fiber laser is the right choice. It requires more investment and is the ideal machine for jewelry engraving.
The power of the laser machine should be considered. If the power of the laser is too low, it won’t be able to engrave the object, or you might have to run several passes, which will take too much time. Thus, getting the right power is necessary.
Before we discuss this further, it is important to know that there are different types of power ratings mentioned on a laser machine.
You will see optical/output power, machine power, and module electric power in the specifications. The power that we need to look at to decide whether the machine is suitable for the task or not is the optical/output power. Technically, optical/output power is always lower than the machine and module electric power.
Module electric power is the electrical consumption of the laser module. It does not show the capability of the laser. The last one is the machine power, which indicates the power consumption of the machine.
If you are purchasing the diode laser machine (blue laser), the power should be 20W at least. For the CO2 laser machine, the power should be at least 40W.
For metal laser engraving, we have suggested Infrared and fiber lasers. The power of the infrared laser should be 1-2W, and the fiber laser should be at least 20W.
Again, by power, we mean optical/output power.
3. Working Area
The working area is a vital aspect of the laser engraving machine. It decides the size of the object that your laser machine can engrave.
The larger the area, the better it is. For jewelry engraving, you do not require a large area, but if you go for it, you will be able to engrave other larger materials as well.
Make sure the laser machine has at least the working area you desire for jewelry engraving. The ideal choice would be to go for a larger one to accommodate more objects and larger objects.
4. Rotary Attachment
The rotary attachment is a very important accessory in jewelry engraving. For engraving rings, bracelets, and other round objects, you need this attachment to rotate the object while engraving it.
The attachment rotates the object 360 degrees to ensure engraving on every corner and side. You should get it while purchasing the machine.
Not all rotary attachment is suitable for every purpose. You need to buy the rotary attachment that works on rings and other jewelry items. It is better to go with an attachment that is a combination of different types of rotaries, such as ring rotary, roller rotary, and chuck rotary. It increases the choice of objects.
5. Life Span
The lifespan of the laser engraver should be considered because it gives you a better idea of the working life of the machine. It is usually mentioned in the specifications. Make sure to check to know how you can get your return on investment.
In a laser machine, accuracy is quite important, and in the case of jewelry engraving, it becomes essential. Due to the delicate and small jewelry objects, there is no compromise on the accuracy and precision of the machine.
There are two types of accuracies mentioned on the laser machines. One is the positioning accuracy, and the other is the repeat position accuracy. The position accuracy shows how accurate the laser machine is in engraving at the right position, while the repeat position accuracy indicates the capability of the machine to get back to the same spot with minimal error.
Ideally, these two accuracies should be a fraction of inches or 1-2mm. The lesser, the better.
7. Compatible Materials
To get the right laser engraving machine for jewelry, you need to look at the list of materials that the machine can engrave. It gives you a better idea of what you can do with the machine. We have discussed the compatible materials of different machines in the article, but still, you need to check it for the machine you are buying.
8. Accessories and Features
You also need to check the accessories that you will need for the machine, such as enclosure, extension, air assist, and honeycomb panel. Depending on the machine, you need to buy these accessories.
The safety features of the laser machine are very important to prevent accidents. You also need to check what safety features are available. For instance, there should be flame detection, automatic turn-off, laser protective glass, and tip-over safety.
xTool F1: Best Laser Engraver for Jewelry
Jewelry engraving has never been this easy. With xTool F1, you get a perfect handheld machine that’s sized optimally for small crafts like jewelry. Thinking of laser-engraved pendants? Whether for personal flair or for selling at craft shows, F1 has got you covered.
But don’t let its size fool you. This might just be the speediest portable laser engraver you’ll find. How speedy? Try 4000 mm/s - yes, that’s industrial-grade speed in a travel-friendly package.
When engraving jewelry, it’s all about precision and the xTool F1 shines with accuracy down to 0.00199 mm. That means jaw-dropping designs every time. If you’re curious to see how your design looks before it's final, there's a safe blue light preview. Spot something off? Adjust and go!
It comes packed with two lasers - a diode and an IR. The 10W diode is great for materials like wood, paper, or leather. But if you want to create those metallic earrings or necklaces, the 2W IR laser is your go-to. Bonus? It can cut thin materials too, like carving through 8mm of wood in one go.
Ease of use? Top-notch. Pop in your jewelry piece, and it auto-focuses for you. Prefer hands-on adjustments? Twist the manual knob. And design-wise, the XCS app works on all devices, streamlining your creative process.
Its workspace is 115*115mm - just right for most jewelry projects. For something bigger, like a necklace, grab the xTool slide extension kit and expand your space to 400*115mm.
Batch engraving projects are no problem at all. Engrave multiple pieces at once. If rings are more your style, it does support rotary engraving with a special attachment called RA2 Pro.
Safety is handled too. The xTool F1’s enclosed design ensures no lasers or fumes escape. Plus, its built-in exhaust keeps the air clean as you work.
What makes xTool F1 the best Jewelry Engraver?
- Fastest Industrial grade speed; completes engravings within seconds
- Equipped with twin (diode + IR) modules
- Compact design for easy on-spot engraving and craft shows
- Works equally well on metals
- Small working area, optimal for jewelry-making
How to Laser Engrave Jewelry?
Jewelry laser engraving machine creates intricate jewelry designs with advanced technology. Here are the general steps involved to laser engrave jewerly.
• Position and align the jewelry securely.
• Input the desired design file into the jewelry engraving machine's software.
• Focus the laser module on the material and adjust the optimal machine settings.
• Start the engraving process.
• Polish and clean the jewelry for a stunning finish.
• Enjoy a personalized, valuable piece with a beautiful engraved design.
Jewelry engraving is an intricate job that requires extra precision and accuracy. For this, a suitable machine must be selected that is capable of engraving all types of metals commonly used to make jewelry items.
We have discussed the three common types of laser engraving machines. It will give you a better idea of what you need to select. There is also a complete section on choosing the right jewelry engraving machine by considering important factors.
For the ease of readers, we have also shared the xTool F1, which is an ideal machine for jewelry engraving as well as engraving wood, acrylic, plastic, glass, stone, and other materials. We hope now you have a better idea of what machine you need for jewelry engraving and how you can choose the best one. Good Luck!
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