Signing Your Pieces

I would like to find a simple, non-elaborate way to sign the back of
my pieces, maybe just my initials, or first name. I have tried using
a basic scriber but it doesn’t work very well. Any suggestions
without getting into a lot of equipment?

I use a.03mm ball bur. It takes a little practice but I sign,
number, quality mark, and engrave my registered trade mark in every
piece I make. It takes 3 or 4 minutes to do, but the marks can be
placed in many areas stamping would be impossible and of course a
stamp is not a signature. The hardest part when you first begin is to
not let the bur run. A true running hand piece is essential, a slim
nose will make it easer to get your fingers into something like a
writing position. I use a fairly light pressure and move slow enough
to allow the bur to cut in approximately half way as I move. Stroke
like you would a quill, mostly down. The bur will tend to drill in on
a pushing stroke. I can get somewhere around 20 to 30 pieces engraved
in 18k white Au (the hardest alloy I use) before it’s to dull to be
effective. Ti or steel would go through them faster. Softer metal,
like yellow alloys of Au, maybe a hundred pieces.

david lee jeweler


I’ve been very happy with my buzzy engraver gadget that I use to
sign an d title my work…I’m not sure what it’s called but it is like
a pen with a vibrating steel tip…very noisy but also effective.

I’ve seen them sold to people for inscribing their household
valuables a nd such. I bought mine at my local metals supply store
(Starr Gems) and I think it was around $35.00.

I also use it for texturing some of my pieces- And when I was sick in
the hospital I received a lovely get well card in metal signed by my
students…using my handy buzzy huh? Hope this
helps—wish I remembered the correct name for you…

Maureen Brusa Zappellini

There’s only two basic ways to sign a piece- stamping or scribing.
You can have a stamp made by various people for not very much -
supply them with your artwork, of course - I would say get a curved
ring stamp. You can stamp flat with a ring stamp, but not
vice-versa. You can get a lozenge or square graver, sharpen it
properly, and learn how to do a “stamp”, fairly easily without
becoming a whole engraver - it has to be sharper than you probably
think to work well - keep at it. I make my own stamps - annealed tool
steel, needle files, automatic center punch, flexshaft sometimes, and
that triangular tool they call a scraper, which gives superfine
lines. It’s not so hard, really - an old Indian stamp maker showed me
how, long ago. Then harden them…

How about getting a custom stamp made of your initials or name? That
way the impression will be clear and easy to read–not to mention it
will be quick to apply!

Vicki Embrey

I use two letter stamps, one with an L, one with an E, so I can
stamp my initials.


If your signing is on silver or gold, how about using a small round
bur of approximately #006 or a #007size. Penmanship is not really
needed here, but you can scribe your initials and maybe a “18 of 36”,


Hi Grace and Tom;

I would like to find a simple, non-elaborate way to sign the back
of my pieces, maybe just my initials, or first name. 

The best solution is a custom made stamp, and they aren’t that
expensive. Almost any jewelry tool house can order them for you.

Meanwhile, a few jewelry suppliers (and other sources, maybe Harbor
Freight), carry a “vibro-graver”. They aren’t that expensive,
depending on the model. The unit is about the size of one of those
little tomato paste cans, has an electric cord, and a carbide tipped
point which buzzes real fast… actually, you can adjust some models
to vary the depth/fineness of the line. Often these are advertised as
a way of putting identifying markings, i.e., driver’s license
numbers, on various appliances and possessions. These work great,
just like writing with a tattoo needle gun for metal. Besides, you
can change the carbide tip for a plain steel bit and use it as a
cheap version of a hammer handpiece. I used one for years to hammer
down bezels.

David L. Huffman

Grace and Tom,…

Some years ago I invested in a simple diamond tipped scribe. I use
it to sign all my stones and all my pieces. I use my first initial
and last name and a year date. I sign it next to the hallmark on the
metals and along the girdle on my stones.

Works for me.

Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where simpel
elegance IS fine jewelry! @coralnut2

A friend bought one of my pieces and asked if I’d sign it. I
told her it had my hallmark on the back but she said she wanted
a “real” signature so I took out an inexpensive electric
engraver (the kind you use to put your social security number on
tools) which cost around $25 and signed my name. Buyers seem to
regard it as a “personal” touch.

Donna in VA

I use a flex shaft and a fine ball bit.

It takes little practice and works wonderful for signatures.

I also like to date my creations which serves many purposes (i.e.,
cataloging, noting the time that the design has remained in stock;
for the collector it reinforces the artistic aspect of the piece.)

I sign mine with my first name (Noel, but including the two dots over
the e that don’t appear here on Orchid for some reason). I use a tiny
ball bur in my flex-shaft, and just sign. It may take a little
practice on scrap to look good, but it works just fine. I also
inscribe the titles of my more elaborate pieces. For that, I draw
lines with a Sharpie to keep my lettering nice-- but then, I did
calligraphy for money for years, before you could do something very
like it with a computer.


Hi Grace or Tom, or Grace and Tom,

I would like to find a simple, non-elaborate way to sign the back
of my pieces, maybe just my initials, or first name. 

I have had success using a very, very, very, tiny ball burr and my
flex shaft - set up so you can steady the hand holding the flexshaft.
Just before I sign the piece I practice on a piece of copper (it
helps to have a signature that can be made with one flowing gesture).

If you go to my website look in Gallery, One Of a Kind, Dia Pendent
and you can see my signature on the back of the piece.


Donna Hiebert Design

Yeah I bought a 5 dollar battery operated diamond bur engraver here
I use my gravers on cameo backs but on other things I use the battery
engraver…an engraving bit in your foredom type may be the answer
just steady hands on operation.

Silver & Cameo Heritage Jewelry

i use my flexshaft with a teensy bur. i put my 1st initial and my
last name, i’m luck, only four letters.

B. Cyr

I would like to find a simple, non-elaborate way to sign the back
of my pieces, maybe just my initials, or first name. I have tried
using a basic scriber but it doesn't work very well. Any
suggestions without getting into a lot of equipment? 

Well, you know, most of us use a stamp. You can have them made for

M’lou Brubaker
Minnesota, USA

Hello Grace & Tom Stokes,

I would like to find a simple, non-elaborate way to sign the back
of my pieces 

An inexpensive electric engraver might do the trick. Harbor Freight
sells one for about US$10

Item Number 46099

Variable speed and stroke are useful features.

Hope this helps,
Judy in Kansas

Hi just thought I’d pass on a tip I’ve been told recently, use a
tapered conical burr, not a ball burr - makes a much better cut and
is easier, i think, for letters and patterns, too

Christine in Sth Aust

I’ve had good luck using a 0.5mm ball burr in my flex shaft and
writing with it like a pen.

I’ve found it beneficial to practice on another piece of metal to
insure uniformity in letter style and writing pressure. I usually
write the inscription several times so I don’t have to stop to check
my notes.

J. Richardson

I had a stamp made with my name, Lee, in sort of a brand design. I
had two stamps made. One is about a 1/4 inch tall and the other is
about 1/8 inch. They work great for the kind of things I create.

There is an individual who works through our local jewelry supply
store who creates your design in a metal stamp. You provide him a
sketch of the stamp design you want.

The bottom of my original pottery get stamped several times.

My name
1/1 indicating an original
and my name in Cherokee, another stamp I had made.

Lee Epperson