A recent survey found that 166 of the 173 jewelers surveyed sold personalized jewelry. It's an essential, growing sector of the jewelry market.
New methods for creating precise, customized designs emerge as the demand for these pieces grows. Hand stamped jewelry is one of the most promising, as it's used to create a range of personalized designs.
Gemstones may be beautiful, but they're not as customizable or filled with meaning for the recipient as a handmade message. That is where hand stamped jewelry comes in. With it, you can add almost any design onto almost any metal, creating a truly meaningful piece.
Read our guide to learn everything you could want to know about this powerful method. You'll discover what hand stamped jewelry is, how it differs from other customization processes, how it's created, and where to find it.
What Is Hand Stamped Jewelry?
Hand stamping involves the use of a metal stamp and a hammer to create an imprint on a metal object. The stamp can have almost anything on it, from a meaningful image to a favorite saying.
Understanding hand stamping as a whole helps you know what to look for and choose the best possible piece. This includes knowing how it differs from engraving, the materials used, and the types of designs it can make.
Hand Stamping Vs. Laser Engraving
There are several techniques to choose from when creating designs for metal jewelry. They vary in quality and complexity, and comparing them helps you choose the best one to use to create the product you're searching for.
Two of the most popular jewelry customization methods are hand stamping and laser engraving. Knowing the differences between them helps you better understand both processes, making it easier to choose between them.
Both methods create permanent marks onto a metal base known as a blank. Laser engraving, as the name suggests, uses lasers instead of a stamp and hammer.
Laser engraving designs are more even and precise but less traditional and personal. Hand stamped jewelry also has better depth.
Laser engraving works on a wider variety of materials, but hand stamping can still create a beautiful, permanent, personal design on almost any type of metal.
Hand stamped jewelry can be made using almost any metal, but some materials are especially suited to the process. This gives you a wide range to choose from to create a unique final product. Some of the most popular options are aluminum, copper, gold, gold-filled materials, brass, silver, and pewter.
Aluminum resembles silver but is cheaper, softer, and more lightweight. This makes it affordable and adaptable, but susceptible to scratching and bending. It's ideal for heavy pendants and earrings.
Copper is another inexpensive, readily available material. It allows for stronger, clearer stamp impressions but tends to tarnish. This is why copper blanks are often mixed with other materials.
Gold is an expensive material that is difficult to make into hand stamped jewelry without bending or damaging it. Still, experienced designers can turn it into high-end personalized pieces.
Gold-filled materials are more affordable and easier to stamp. They serve as an alternative to gold that provides equal brilliance.
Brass is a hard material, making it difficult to stamp. It requires a strong hand when hammering in the design.
Silver is a popular hand made jewelry option, and there are two main types.
Fine silver is more expensive and not very durable. Its softness makes it ideal for customized necklaces.
Sterling silver is cheaper and more readily available. It requires a strong hand but is one of the most durable materials a jeweler can use.
The final material to consider is pewter. The thickness of the sheet metal blanks makes them easy to stamp. They provide clear design impressions and won't tarnish unless combined with silver.
Hand stamped jewelry allows for a customized piece that you or a loved one can treasure forever. There are several different types available, and knowing them all helps you choose the best one.
The first thing to remember is that any type of jewelry can be hand stamped. This includes necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and more.
You must also remember that the available design options for hand stamped jewelry are almost endless. You can choose a favorite verse, the name of someone precious, a favorite saying, or a significant date.
These are only a few examples of the options available to you. Check here for more ideas on what design to use for your hand stamped jewelry.
How Is Hand Stamped Jewelry Made?
Jewelers must be familiar with a wide range of methods to reach a final product. This allows them to create exactly the pieces their clients want.
It's also important for customers to understand the process used to make hand stamped jewelry so they know what to expect from the final product. It's a multi-step method, and each step must be followed carefully.
Step 1: Gathering Materials
Preparing as much as possible before starting to create something is important because it improves efficiency and reduces mistakes. This is why the first step in the hand stamped jewelry process is gathering the proper materials.
- the metal blank(s)
- the stamp(s)
- a stamp pad
- masking tape
- permanent markers and/or acrylic paint
- rubbing alcohol
- paper towels
After gathering the materials, it's time to begin creating the hand stamped jewelry.
Step 2: Choosing a Blank and Stamp
Planning out a design before stamping it into metal is an essential part of the process, especially because all marks are permanent. That is why the jeweler must choose the best possible metal blank and stamp for the design they want to create.
Hand stamped jewelry can be made with almost any metal materials, but some are better suited to specific designs or types of jewelry. It's important to choose the right material to meet the clients' specifications.
Jewelers must also carefully choose their stamps when making hand stamped jewelry. Each one must be able to create the intended design and leave a clear, visible imprint.
Step 3: Preparing to Apply the Design
Lining up the stamps in order and placing them against the blank before beginning to stamp helps prevent typos and other errors. This is an important part of the preparation process.
Many jewelers also apply masking tape to mark the areas that need to be stamped. Drawing a line over the tape in pencil allows for a more precise design.
Step 4: Applying the Design
This is one of the most critical steps of the process, as any mistakes made here aren't easy to fix. It requires a skilled, patient hand.
Each stamp must be applied one line at a time. The letters must also be hammered in one letter at a time.
To properly apply the stamp, it must be hammered at least two or three times. Anything less and it will not show up clearly.
Step 5: Adding Color
Adding color to the design is simple with the right markers or paints. Applying the desired colors to the stamped area can make the design stand out and create a more beautiful, personalized image.
Mistakes are common during the coloring step, but they're easy to rectify. Placing a bit of rubbing alcohol on a paper towel allows the jeweler to rub away any excess or undesired colors.
Step 6: Finalizing the Design
Finalization requires more precise and careful hammering. It is an important step to create the best possible finished product.
Using the flat edge of a regular hammer can help flatten the design. Specialized texturizing hammers or specific letters of a stamp can be used to improve the design's overall texture.
Step 7: Making It Wearable
At this point in the process, the jeweler will have nothing but a stamped piece of metal. To turn it into hand stamped jewelry, they must make it wearable.
The metal plate must have a hole to attach any chains or bases. Not all metal blanks come pre-punched with holes. Making one requires the use of a metal punching tool.
After finding an appropriate hole, the jeweler uses pliers and jump rings to attach the metal piece to an earring base or a necklace or bracelet chain. It's important to choose the right attachment option for the piece being made. An earring back won't work for a necklace and vice versa.
Once the stamped metal is wearable, it can be sold or given away as a piece of hand stamped jewelry.
Where Can I Get Hand Stamped Jewelry?
Hand stamping allows for beautiful, customizable designs. The range of materials and design possibilities is almost endless, meaning you can create exactly the piece you or a loved one desires.
Hand stamping is a difficult, multi-step process that is best left to a professional. The shops and suppliers that sell hand stamped jewelry vary greatly in quality and skill. It's essential to choose the best one to get the results you hope for.