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Engrave Signet ring

Made customer signet ring, she want to engrave her 3 initials the old fashion way back before the 60s.
I don’t know that font style but its similar to old english with middle initial larger. does someone know
the name of fonts and if its done by modern engraving machines or by hand and who can do these type of engravings.

The only real way of doing authentic old fashioned pre-60’s initials is to do it the old fashioned way with old fashioned tools. Primarily, a pencil and paper and for Old English, a ruler and square. A divider or compass with a pencil lead in one point is handy too.

There’s no secret or trick to it, just do a search for “Old English images” on the 'net, find one you like, print it out and start drawing. You will find that doing Old English style lettering can be the most difficult of all lettering styles as it requires absolutely parallel lines and perfectly right and 45 degree angles or it looks like, well, you know. Unlike the invisibility of slight imperfections in most decorative engraving, lettering, especially Old English, displays even the slightest errors in spacing, shape and placement. The human eye has become accustomed to seeing lettering and will instantly spot the smallest deviation from perfection. Old English and similar styles just make flaws that much more apparent.

This is a design that a client and I designed for her husband as a surprise anniversary gift that might fall under the classification you mentioned. It is a variation on a design in J. M. Bergling’s book, Art Monograms and Lettering. We loved it, he hated it. Keeping true to my word that you love it or you don’t pay for it, he and I designed an oval shaped signet ring with a more traditional vertical script. It took me about ten different drawings until I finally got what he wanted. I’ll post that next.



This is what he and I finally came up with after several design sessions. We traded the diamond in his first ring for the scrolling on the sides. Yeah, I know, he got the better end of the deal, but since I don’t advertise in the traditional sense, I look at it as a marketing expense. Since then he and his wife have spent many thousands of dollars on other stuff, more than making up for the initial loss.

I still have the first ring if anyone is interested…

Best of luck goldmandesigns. That’s tough road, but the journey is worth it.



Oh! Well done sir! I so love seeing great hand engraving. I presume this
was done back in the day before power assisted graver max?
-Jo Haemer

Beautiful engraving work. There are just so many different techniques and skills that I wish I had time to learn proficiently. I don’t think I could even draw the lettering you initially showed without it taking a ridiculously long amount of time. Nice work!

Just a question about monograms: I’m from “way back before the 60s” myself and learned back then that a 3-letter monogram with the central letter larger indicates that the central letter stands for the last name. If all 3 are the same size, then they indicate first, middle and last initials in order. Has this changed over the years or is it still correct? On the other hand, when 3 initials are the same size, that meant that the initials were first, middle and last names in that order. I did a quick check on the Mark and Graham website and they’re as old-fashioned as I am with their “Monogram Rules.”

I decide in what order the letters will be based on what makes the best and
prettiest design.
Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
-Jo Haemer

I like that!Mary

Dave your work is fantastic, what type of engravers did you use thanks for your help.

Mary thats the best info I received all week. “Monogram Rules” are the rules.

Thanks Jo and Goldman. No, these were done about five years ago. I use a Lindsay Classic Airgraver. I like it because I can use it more as a power-assisted push graver as opposed to a power tool. Most cuts are push powered but every now and then a little nudge from the graver comes in handy. As a result you don’t get the vibration and the resulting tell-tale notched cuts that look they were cut with a serrated knife or something under magnification.

Thanks Erich. You’re so right, there’s just not enough time to learn all that I want to. The day I’ve learned all there is for me to learn is the day you’ll find me face-down in my bench pan.

Yes Mary, that’s the tradition on both counts. The three letter monogram concept originated several centuries ago in Europe alongside the development of family crests and other forms of heraldry. The center letter represented the father’s family or clan name, the name on the right was for the mother’s family name, which resulted in a sort of Middle Ages version of a hyphenated name. The initial on the left denoted the engraved property’s owner’s given or “Christian” name. The original purpose developed as a method of establishing and displaying someone’s social and political status or rank quickly and easily. The study of heraldry is the work of a lifetime by itself.

As to whether the rules have changed or not, I can’t really say, but monogramming has morphed into a much broader usage in the last few decades. Quite often these days it’s a layout of a couple’s first names on either side of their common last name. I’ve also done them for people that want a child’s initial in the center with the parents’ on either side. Sometimes we’ll change up the order just to make it look better. Some letters work well together and others just don’t. W and M can be a joy to work with or they can be a nightmare, depending on what’s on the sides. I’m pretty happy about the traditional rules fading away as I never really have cared much for rules.