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Get it Right the First Time: Engraving Tips & Ideas

Learn everything you need to know about engraving and how to make his gift (or the one you buy yourself) a true one-of-a-kind keepsake. Plus ideas for what to get engraved for dads, grooms, and even the graduate.

Having an accessory engraved is the number one way to make it unique. What are the chances you’ll run into another guy with the same watch and the exact same initials on the tube?

Whether getting your new new chronograph inscribed or giving a gift to a loved one, adding a custom engraving is a sure-fire way to turn your present into a keepsake.

The idea of personalization may sound exciting, but it can quickly become a decision you regret.

It’s important to step back and take your time before typing your text in the box and pressing send. You don’t want to end up with a set of cufflinks that has, ‘Love you, Dab’ instead of ‘Dad’.

Think of it like a tattoo. Get it right the first time or else wear long sleeves and sweaters for the rest of your life.

Before you immortalise a graduation, anniversary or your best friend's wedding with an engraved cufflink set, take a look at our suggestions for getting it right the first time.

1 Get it right the first time: engraving tips & ideas1.1 Types of engraving1.2 Engraved gifts for men1.3 Engraving ideas for dad1.4 Engraving ideas for your boyfriend, husband or groom1.5 Engraving ideas for your best man & groomsmen1.6 Engraving ideas for graduation1.7 Engraving ideas for a friend1.8 Engraving ideas for yourself1.9 You asked – we answered

Types of Engraving

For over 60,000 years, engraving has been used to make life more personal. Whether it’s your private collection of ostrich eggshells or your favorite signet ring, a custom engraving makes it unique.

And like most things nowadays, you can have it in record time – 35 seconds per ring with our laser engraver.


Engraving done by hand is a true art form. Since this work is performed by a skilled artisan, the result won’t be as exact or uniform as a laser engraving.

The appeal of hand-engraving comes from its old-world charm and one-of-a-kind character. But all of this charm comes at a cost… both in time and cash.

Rotary Engraving

Rotary engraving uses a spinning cutter controlled by a computer and results in a precise engraving. It’s commonly used on metals including gold, sterling silver, steel, and copper.

The main drawback to this technique is that it can’t be used on heat-sensitive materials. The friction created in the process heats up and can damage delicate jewelry containing plastic, glass or fragile gemstones.

Laser Engraving

Laser engraving uses (you guessed it!) a laser. A highly-focused laser beam creates heat during the engraving process and vaporizes the material it touches – leaving you with your custom message. It’s extremely fast and offers a greater selection of fonts, symbols, and style.

This technique can be used on metal, stone, leather, and wood and offers precision and clear readability. To form deeper marks, the process can be repeated.

At Trendhim, we use laser engraving because it's great for items worn a lot. Unlike hand or rotary engraving, no actual tool comes in contact with the surface. This means there is less chance of product damage or deformation.

Will a laser engraving wear off or is it permanent? The durability of an engraving depends on the material of the item. Some soft metals (such as gold and silver) are easily scratched and an engraving will dim in time. Engravings on harder metals, like tungsten, stainless steel and titanium, will last a lifetime.

Engraved Gifts for Men

It doesn’t matter if you’re shopping for your dad, brother, best friend or a member of your wedding party, every guy appreciates a gift with thought behind it.

And nothing is more special than a custom engraving… made just for him.

What to Get Engraved: Engraving Inspiration

The name ‘personalized engraving’ says it all – it’s personal!

Deciding what to have lasered on an accessory sounds easy enough… until you come face to face with the box where ‘your text’ goes and a 20-character limit.

We get asked ‘What should I get engraved on this?’ on the daily. Finding meaningful words or trying to not sound like a stalker isn’t easy.

Everyone can use a bit of inspiration. We’ve compiled the best from real-life engravings and had our favorite copywriter, Allen, add of few of his own for inspiration. All within the 20-character limit.

Engraving Ideas for Dad

Whether it’s your dad, step-dad, father-in-law or grandfather, telling him how you truly feel isn’t easy. It’s even harder if you have to tell him in 20 characters or less.

Deciding to give him something with a custom engraving is simple enough. But what will you say? We’ve got inspiration to get you started here:

  • Love you, Dad
  • You helped me be me
  • You made me who I am
  • World’s Greatest Dad
  • Better than a tie
  • No other like you
  • I want to be like u!
  • You are my hero
  • I owe you one
  • My Teacher. My Dad.

Engraving Ideas for your Boyfriend, Husband or Groom

Hey ladies, not good at choosing the right words? Surely your man knows you care… but it doesn’t hurt to make extra sure.

Whether deciding on an engraving for your significant other, fiancé or groom, it can be difficult to land on something that is all at once beautiful, meaningful, and not borrowed from a cheesy romantic comedy.

  • Sorry, he's taken
  • My heart is yours
  • Forever yours
  • Stuck with me
  • The future is ours
  • My prisoner forever
  • Legally Mine
  • Yours forever
  • I Promise Forever
  • Say Yes. Or Else.

Engraving Ideas for your Best Man & Groomsmen

It’s your big day. Your bros are there to cheer you on, embarrass you with toasts, and help you escape if you get last-minute cold feet.

Giving your best man and groomsmen something to remember the day by says, ‘Thanks for your friendship’ without having to get all emotional and weepy.

You can always go the traditional route of engraving their initials, name or date of the wedding. Song lyrics, quotes and inside jokes work great too.

Or try something more contemporary like the coordinates of the wedding – 55°55'12"N9°50'08"E (if you get married at Trendhim).

  • Dude. You’re next.
  • Autobots Roll Out!
  • Don't let me do this
  • Keep the car running
  • HELP.
  • Get me out of here.
  • The BEST best man
  • She made me do it.

Engraving Ideas for Graduation

Completing a milestone like graduation is something to celebrate and commemorate. Adding an engraving to a watch or a ring turns a normal present into a permanent reminder of his achievement.

You can’t go wrong with his initials or name.

At Trendhim, it’s quite popular to have the date of graduation engraved as a reminder that no matter what happens after this… today, you did it!

  • Go forth & conquer
  • You Did It!
  • A New Chapter Begins
  • Told You So!
  • Don't Forget us
  • A Job Well Done
  • oh the places you'll go
  • Ain't no stopping
  • Don't f*** it up
  • The Future is Yours

Engraving Ideas for a Friend

Finding the right message for your mate that says how much you care without getting all weird and feely isn’t easy.

You can always opt for the safe route – name, initials, birthdate, special date or coordinates that you both share – or find inspiration from our ideas below.

  • I'm the smart one
  • Remember the time…
  • Do Good. Be Good.
  • I know your secrets
  • Our Powers Combined
  • Feeling lucky, punk
  • Hasta la vista, baby
  • The need for speed
  • Get Busy Living
  • You talkin to me?

Engraving Ideas for Yourself

Choosing a personalized engraving for yourself should be easy compared to deciding on a gift for your best man or dad.

Whether it's your name or an inspirational verse from the Bible, Torah, Qur’an or something from the Harry Potter series, the end result should be personal.

  • Tell your story
  • Never Surrender!
  • Carpe Diem
  • Be a Warrior
  • Do it. End of story
  • Do or do not
  • Think BIG
  • Have Courage
  • Now is a good time
  • Be You.

You Asked – We Answered

Are etching and engraving the same thing?

There are many different types of etching. The most common is used on crystal and glass and requires a strong acid.

When it comes to jewelry, etching can also refer to laser etching (a subset of laser engraving). In this process, the heat from the laser melts the surface of the material. During laser engraving, the material vaporizes and creates a cavity.

Laser etchings aren’t as durable as engravings because they aren’t as deep, and they’re better suited for surfaces that experience low levels of wear (not your rings!).

How much does it cost to engrave a ring, bracelet, or a watch?

The cost for engraving is dependant on the length of your message and the type of engraving used – by hand or by machine.

If you have specific questions regarding cost, contact us and let’s chat!

What is the proper way for engraving initials?

If you’re having something engraved for yourself there is no rule – write your initials however you wish.

If the engraving is part of a gift, you’ll want to make sure he instantly recognizes his initials and doesn’t ask, ‘um... what does it say?’.

When engraving jewelry for a man, we suggest using the initials in the first, middle and last order. For example, Hans Christian Andersen would be HCA.

You may want to include a full stop after each letter H.C.A. or H.C.A (with no full stop after the last letter).

If you’re buying an engraved gift for a married couple (or soon-to-be-wed), the initials should be listed in the following order: the bride's first initial, the surname of the couple, and the groom's first initial.

For example, Hans Christian Andersen and Connie Nielsen would be CAH.

If the option exists, you could also choose a monogram style and have the surname (the A in this example) larger than the other letters.

What is the best font for engraving?

If you are allowed to choose a font, select one that is clear and easy-to-read. The last thing you want is to order a pair of engraved cufflinks and not be able to make out the message.

What should I engrave on a bracelet? What should I engrave on a ring?

The idea with all engravings is to keep the message short, clear and precise. Many engraving services have a character limit that forces you to focus your thoughts and message.

When engraving a bracelet or a ring, consider the surface space available and the location of the engraving.

Is there something else on the ring that will clash with your personalized message? Some pieces have the type of metal engraved (SST, 14K, etc.) – how will that work with your text?

Take a look through our suggestions of engraving ideas above. See anything that inspires you?

Can you engrave over an engraving?

With time and wear, engravings on soft metals (silver and gold) will fade away. It is possible to engrave over the original to bring it back to life.

If you want a completely different engraving, it depends on the type of metal and depth of the engraving. Soft metals can be polished down and re-engraved. Harder metals, like stainless steel, are not so easily fixed.

Jewelry that is plated is difficult because polishing the metal removes the outer layer and reveals the metal underneath the plating.

Most engraving mistakes are because of misspellings. Make sure you’ve entered yours correctly to avoid wanting it changed later.

Can you engrave on stainless steel?

It is easy to engrave on stainless steel with a laser engraving machine. Everything from stainless steel cufflinks to rings can be engraved.

Can you engrave on plated jewellery?

The easy answer is yes. The complicated answer is that each piece of jewelry needs to be inspected to determine if the plating is thick enough to engrave or if the metal under the plating will show through when engraved.

What are the limits for engraving?

The number one limit for engraving is character limit. This limit is selected by the supplier to ensure you don’t crowd one tiny cufflink with the lyrics from Technotronic’s ‘Pump Up the Jam’.

At Trendhim, we’ve set a limit of 20 characters. The perfect amount to look good on a ring, tie clip or bracelet.

What are common engraving mistakes?

The most common mistakes are misspelled names or words and incorrect dates.

Dates can be expressed in different ways – day, month, year versus year, month, day – so be sure the format you’ve chosen is easy to read and clear. And double-check your spelling before pressing send.