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Hand engraving vs. Laser engraving: What are the differences?

3 min read

Hand engraving vs. Laser engraving: What are the differences?

Here at Lebrusan Studio, hand engraved engagement rings and wedding bands are our bread and butter; our intricate scrolls, florid vines and vintage-inspired milgrain beading are our signature motifs. Sometimes, we’re asked whether we can embellish special jewellery by the process of laser engraving, and the answer is yes – but which is best for you? Today, we’ll explore the pros and cons of hand engraved jewellery vs. laser-engraving jewellery.



Our iconic Wriggle Scrolls motif hand-engraved onto two Scrolls wedding bands, our vintage-inspired Hearts motif hand-engraved onto a bespoke engagement ring, our Vines wedding band in various widths and colours

At Lebrusan Studio, we’re passionate about exquisite craftsmanship and championing the skilled craftspeople responsible for it. We believe that human beings are vessels of cultural heritage and the only possible means by which knowledge and tradition can continue to be passed down from one generation to the next. For this reason, we’re committed to championing local manufacture, with 100% of our jewellery created in the UK; primarily in small family-run workshops in London’s jewellery quarter, Hatton Garden. With the knowledge of where to find him, venturing down into Hatton Garden’s labyrinth of underground safety deposits and workshops would lead you to Darren, our master hand engraver. Upheld by years of experience he carefully inscribes patterns and messages into our jewellery using traditional handheld tools like drills and gravers.

The pros:

  • Hand engraving using hardened steel tools can create extremely detailed and intricate designs that are difficult or even impossible to replicate with modern technology. No hand engraved design is identical to the last, making each and every project of Darren’s a truly unique work of art.
  • Hand engravers like Darren can directly control the depth and width of their cuts, affording them a broad style range in their freedom to adapt and experiment.
  • Since hand engraving works by gently removing volumes of metal, the finished product is generally smoother in surface than jewellery marked by other, more precise methods like laser engraving. In some instances, this makes hand engraved jewellery a little more resistant to wear and corrosion over time.
  • Investing in a piece of hand engraved jewellery is investing in the future of a British jewellery tradition, enabling a highly skilled artisan like Darren to continue fulfilling his talent and sustaining a legacy.


The cons:

  • Naturally, hand engraving as a laborious technique takes much longer than machine-driven engraving; particularly in the case of large pieces or exceptionally intricate designs. This is worth considering if your project is time sensitive.
  • Uniformity cannot be guaranteed. For some, the beauty of hand engravings is in their organic uniqueness. If your vision is one of absolute precision or you’re seeking to match another piece of jewellery like-for-like, however, perhaps a more exact engraving method is better for you.
  • Hand engraving is generally the most expensive method of engraving. That said, unlike machine-driven methods, paying for a hand engraving is paying for a human being, their rare skills and their time, which is perhaps money better invested.



A pair of bespoke commitment rings, laser-engraved with unique emblems

Laser engraving uses a highly concentrated laser beam, the thickness of which affects the thickness of the engraving itself. Either freehand or attached to a machine, it works similarly to how a pencil moves across paper and can be focused as necessary to create detailed images or patterns.

The pros:

  • Since the laser does all of the work once the design has been finalised, there is less room for human error.
  • Laser engraving produces the cleanest and crispest finish of all engraving methods. This level of precision allows for incredibly fine lines and tiny lettering, making it possible to engrave even the thinnest of bands.
  • Since designs are created digitally, it’s possible to realise a specific font, logo or even image file as an engraving. This approach also enables designs to be perfectly replicated on numerous pieces of jewellery.

The cons:

  • As with any technique that replaces a human being with a machine, where laser engraving trumps hand engraving in the ‘perfection’ stakes, it lacks in personal touch. Opting for a laser does not enable us to support independent craftspeople, nor create unrepeatable pieces of jewellery.
  • Laser engraving machines require a lot of energy to run, having a far bigger impact on the environment.


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Love, Arabel & Team


Ruby McGonigle
Ruby McGonigle

Ruby McGonigle is a copywriter and digital marketing professional with over five years of jewellery industry experience. After graduating with a BA in Linguistics, she combined her passions for written word and all things sparkly by joining the Lebrusan Studio team as in-house wordsmith and content creator. Among bi-monthly blog posts, notable examples of Ruby's work include a think-piece on the ‘natural diamonds vs. lab-grown diamonds’ debate, a probe into why traceable and third party certified ASM gold is so important, and an investigation of why platinum is no longer more expensive than gold.