There is nothing quite like engraving a piece of jewellery to make it truly personal. Whether it is a wedding ring, signet or seal ring, or a locket, cutting in words or a pattern makes it unique to the wearer.

Engraving was used thousands of years ago and there is evidence of its use on organic materials such as ivory tusk and bone as far back as the Stone Age. The Romans were at the forefront of engraving precious gemstones such as agate and cornelian and, in rarer examples, sapphires and emeralds.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, engraving on precious metals like gold and silver became widespread. Simple pieces could be adorned with meaningful patterns and fashionable designs such as acanthus leaves, scrolls and cherubs. Important Latin family mottos, armorials, crests and dedications were also added to personalise the item.

Signet and seal rings, usually made out of gold, are traditionally worn on the little finger by the gentleman of the family and are gifted on their 21st birthday. These are engraved to the top of the ring with a family crest and were commonly used to seal letters so the recipient knew who the letter was from before they even opened it.

At Heirlooms, we regularly engrave single initials, or design and engrave a monogram, a family crest or even a precious symbol onto jewellery. We are able to copy handwriting and signatures for a truly personal touch. We recently engraved a copy of a child’s handwritten note and a small drawing she had done as a 5-year old onto a silver pendant as a gift for a parent.

What a beautiful heirloom in the making!

Originally published in the Purbeck Gazette 15th April 2024