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Minimum detail size in sterling silver?

Hello everyone! My name is Aleksandra and I’m new to the forum :blush:

I am an amateur illustrator currently working on a coin style pendant, that will be mass produced in sterling silver. I have a few questions, so I was hoping you could help me.

I have searched the forum and the web to the extent of my abilities, but I was not able to find the information I was looking for.

I was wondering what the smallest detail extruded from a flat surface in sterling silver can be. The surface I’m working on will be flat with raised elements or flat with “engraved” elements (cut into the surface).

To reiterate: how small can the smallest details extruded from the flat surface of the pendant be? In the photo below you can see an example of extruded elements/letters. In the example below, the line of the letter “W” seems quite thin (If I had to guess, less that 0.1mm), so I would like to know what the smallest line/dot/detail that can be reliably made this way is.

I was also wondering whether there is a difference if the motives/letters are cut into a flat surface of the pendant. What would the minimum dimension in this case be? In the photo below you can see an example of the letters cut into the flat surface.

An additional question: how raised from the surface should the details be when extruded? And how deep should the details be when “cut” into the surface in such designs?

Another thing I wanted to note:
I’m asking about simple flat elements. Example:

I’m not asking about more complicated 3d reliefs. Example:

I hope the explanation is not too complicated and look forward to the answers :hugs:


I believe the answers to your questions will depend on your chosen mode of production (ie: cad/cam/cast, die struck/ hydraulic press, etc) (different production processes result in different surface conditions…3d cad to print to cast may give you different surface fineness, depending on the printer specifications, etc…a mirror finish die may give you a mirror finish stamping…

as well as your chosen mode of finishing (ie; different finishing processes are more or less aggressive in terms of maintaining sharp edge details, etc)

with all that said, if you are doing a 3D Cad model, you can always call the printer and ask about these productions standards…and call your jewelry production company and ask about their production casting or stamping production, as well as their finishing capacity (ie: machines used, hand finish, etc)

I can say in my personal experience, working with flat designs, ie: flat top signet ring design in 3DCad and then having a model printed in resin and then , i use the following guidelines:

raised or recessed letters/ walls/ beads- minimum .30mm

spaces between raised or recessed- minimum.30mm

i use dummy/ temporary .30mm circles to check spacing, or curve radiuses

it is suggested to fillet edges and avoid sharp or 90 corners- min .10mm

imagine that the 3DCad printer builds up layers/ steps

(like the difference between vector and raster)

the finess of the step size is dependant on the specs of the printer…ie: the resolution of the printer…some printers are better at flat designs that others (…solidscape(?),)

on another note, your design might be better suited to CAM…

just my thoughts, with my morning coffee…



If this were my job, I’d use chemical machining. Creating a master is inexpensive and since you are a graphics designer, it can use your design directly. It also permits you to use less expensive metal - thinner - than the casting would require. You could also look at using laser engraving. Either technique will generate the shape as well as the message.
Judy h


Hi Aleksandra,
Mail me off list , I can answer all your questions.
Mail at


Dear Julie,

Thank you for the answer, valuable information and for sharing the measurements you use! :hugs:

Could you tell me your opinion on the detail sizes on the first example photo I listed in the post?

Dear Judy,

thank you for the answer! :blush:

Would chemical machining be able to give results like in the example photos? Or would it be more like etching the surface?

hi ted!
i was totally going to mention your expertise, but i didnt want to presume!!!



hi judy!,
your comments sound the best! when i was typing i was also trying to recall…CNC!…but it wouldnt pop up in my head. interesting to hear cost effective options.

thank you


Hi Alexsandra,

if you are referring to specs for CAD, i would suggest letter thickness minimun .30mm, including minimum .30mm spaces in letters/ between letters.

and fillet top and bottom edges of letters to minimum .10mm (round the edges…no sharp 90 degree turns.

an important consideration is the desired finish, and if/ how you will obtain it…if sharp crisp clean finish is desired, the ted frater can tell you all about that…die stamping etc