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Ask the engraver: Engraving tips for urn charms and photo engraved pendants

We sat down with Carre, our master engraver, to ask her some of our most commonly asked questions about engraving urn charms but also to get some tips on how our customers can get the most out of their engraved pendant.

Carre has been working for Jewelry Keepsakes since 2010 and her focus has been strictly on engraving. She oversees all the engraving on our cremation jewelry and is our primary engraver for photo engraved pendants.

Text Engraving

Question

Jewelry Keepsakes: What are the most popular text engravings that customers ask for on their keepsake?

Answer

Carre: I would say the most popular is ďAlways In My HeartĒ. People put that a lot. And then the next popular would be the personís name, their birth date and their death date. Just the basics. Those are probably my most popular two.


Question

Jewelry Keepsakes: If a pendant says it can only be engraved with 6 characters - can you bend the rules and engrave more?

Answer

Carre: The first thing we do to determine how many characters we can engrave on a pendant is to measure the width and height of the engravable area. We donít want to go all the way to the edges because Script font has lots of curves and curlicues and we donít want the needle to drop off the edges. Once we have the width, then that tells us how many letters we can engrave on that space. The height will tell us how many lines of text we can offer. Normally, the amount we have listed for engraving is the maximum amount that we can do. Sometimes if a customer wants an extra letter or two, we have a little extra room to engrave. Usually if we allow extra characters we tell the customer we can do it but it would need to be engraved in Block font only. Script font has more curves so it is harder to squeeze in extra letters without making them look too small. It also depends on the pendant itself as to whether we might be able to add an extra letter or two. Some pendants are more curved so there is not room to add extra, or the engraving area has a screw which cannot be engraved over. The problem with adding extra characters is we have to lessen the size of each letter to squeeze in the extra and it makes everything smaller and sometimes harder to read. Spaces and symbols count as characters so those have to be included in the amount of engraving that can be done on each pendant. We donít usually text engrave symbols on pendants because the area is so small already and the needle on the text engraver is limited to what symbols it can engrave and still look nice.



Question

Jewelry Keepsakes: Which is better, Bold or Italic? Why would I choose one over the other?

Answer

Carre: Block font is like printing and is easily readable. Script font is like cursive and is prettier to look at but some characters are a little harder to read because of the extra curves and curlicues. Script is definitely the most popular engraving font that we do. Usually if the pendant is for a female, the customer will order Script font because it has a more feminine, delicate look. Block font is ordered a lot of times if the pendant is for a male. Block has a more masculine look. It definitely depends on the customers preference as to which font they want to use. Sometimes customers look at the font and feel that the Script adds a more soft, personal feel to what is being engraved on the pendant. Sometimes the customers feel that if a quote or comment is being engraved that the deceased used, and the deceased was a female, it would be better engraved in Script. The same would go for if the quote or comment being engraved was said by a deceased male, then the Block font would be used.



Question

Jewelry Keepsakes:If I want my pendant engraved, does it delay the pendant shipping?

Answer

Carre: If you want your pendant engraved it does not delay the shipping process. If you order engraving and you order Express shipping then your pendant will be done first ahead of regular shipping orders that have engraving. Any orders that come in with engraving before 12:00 MST will be engraved and shipped the same day guaranteed. We even strive to engrave pendants that are ordered after our cut off time and get them shipped out same day if it is still within our work hours. Engraving does not take much time, unless there is an error in the wording or dates, then we try to resolve those issues as quickly as we can so that the pendant can still be engraved that day and shipped. On regular engraving orders if there is an issue we will send an email first explaining what questions we have. If we donít hear from customer by next day we will make a phone call and try and resolve the issue. If the engraving order is an Express order then we will try calling right away to resolve the issue. If no one answers we leave a detailed message and then we follow up with an email also detailing the issue.



Photo Engraving

Question

Jewelry Keepsakes: What is the most unusual photo engraving youíve done?

Answer

Carre: The most unusual is I have engraved the picture of a receipt from a restaurant. Thatís the most unusual I think.



Question

Jewelry Keepsakes: When it comes to photo engraved pendants is there a minimum pixel requirement for the digital image?

Answer

Carre: Yes. We require a minimum of 400 pixels. Anything lower than that and the quality of the photo diminishes. Sometimes I can work my magic and make the photo work if itís like 390, 300 but I require 400. Just because it brings out the best qualities and details of a photo.



Question

Jewelry Keepsakes: What if someone has two different images and they want all the people in both pictures on one pendant? Can you extract images and join them all together on one pendant?

Answer

Carre: Yes. I can crop out of different photos and put them all together in photoshop. I kind of crop out what I need and then I merge it all together and put it on one. So, yes, I can do that.



Question

Jewelry Keepsakes:Can both sides of the pendant be engraved with a photo and if so, is there an additional cost associated with the additional engraving?

Answer

Carre:Yes, on most pendants. On our regular photo engraved pendants the answer is yes. The customer will be charged an engraving fee for the back if they want a photo on the back. So, say the pendant is $39.95 and that includes the photo on the front. And then we give them the text engraving option on the back which would be $14.99. If a customer calls and says ďI want my son on the front and my daughter on the back.Ē the son would be included in the $39.95 and then we would charge them $14.99 to put the daughter on the back. The only ones I canít do it on are the few cremation pendants that have a black enamel on the back. I cannot engrave a photo on the back of those.



Question

Jewelry Keepsakes:If my photo is missing part of the head - or part of the hair - what can be done?

Answer

Carre: It depends on the part of the hair or head that is missing as to whether I can recreate enough to add to the photo to make it look nice. Usually I can recreate enough that it looks natural and it will engrave nicely. If there is too much detail or lighting change in that area then I canít recreate it without it looking unnatural. If I canít recreate the area and the photo will engrave looking funny, then I call the customer and ask if they have cropped the photo. A lot of times customers will crop what they think will fit and send that over to me. It is better if I have the whole photo and then do the cropping myself. The customer can just put in the comments what they want cropped and how they want it to look on the pendant. If they didnít crop the photo and I canít recreate what is missing, then I suggest to them to find a different photo to use that has all of the head or hair showing. I never send anything out that I things look odd or unnatural, I will always talk with customers to make sure they understand.



Question

Jewelry Keepsakes:What type of photos work best for particular shapes of pendants?

Answer

Carre: A clear, not blurry, photo works best. Not a lot of light shining right on person, or shining from behind person. 400 pixels or more is best. The tall skinny pendants such as the dog tag or rectangles, are best for showing more body shots of one or two people. If you have a wider photo, possibly of 2 or more people, it is best to go with the hearts or maybe the circle. The hearts and the circle shows more of a face shot whereas the rectangle, dog tag or oval shows more body. The oval and the puzzle pieces are better for one or two people standing close. If the customer chooses a shape that does not work well with the photo, I will email or call and discuss other shape options that work better with that specific photo. I explain that I want the details of the photo to stand out and which shape would enhance that idea.



Questions From Our Customers

Question

Jewelry Keepsakes: What types of pictures are easiest to engrave?

Answer

Carre: A clear picture, no shadows, just something thatís clear where you can see the person or whatever it is that they want me to engrave. Shadows are really hard to deal with. If itís a crisp, clean photo, even if itís a little blurry, sometimes I can clean it up enough. The easiest ones are just a real clean, full on shot.



Question

Jewelry Keepsakes:Can you engrave a handwritten note or a signature?

Answer

Carre: I can photo engrave a handwritten note or signature as long as it is clear . It would be sent over the same as a regular photo and then I would change it to black and white, enhance it and then engrave onto pendant. Depending on how much writing would be engraved would determine which pendant we could engrave the writing on. In some cases, I could cut and paste words closer together in order for them to fit better on a specific shape of pendant.



Question

Jewelry Keepsakes: Can you engrave a fingerprint?

Answer

Carre: We do not engrave fingerprints on regular jewelry pendants. The area on the pendants is too small for that kind of detail. We can do a photo engraved pendant with a fingerprint, handprint or even footprint. The prints just need to be clear so that the details can be engraved nicely. Sending in a print is the same as sending in a photo. It needs to be at least 400 pixels so that I can get a nice quality and also needs to be sent in jpeg format.



Question

Jewelry Keepsakes:Can you engrave copywritten symbols?

Answer

Carre: I can engrave copywritten items if there is a copyright release sent over from the original photographer allowing for us to engrave the photo for the customer that is listed on the order.



Question

Jewelry Keepsakes: What types of pictures are the most challenging to engrave?

Answer

Carre: The dark ones, shadows on faces. Those are the hardest. I have to go in with a photo shop pen, pick out all the shadow and try to lighten it without distorting the picture. Itís tough.



Question

Jewelry Keepsakes:Why trust Jewelry Keepsakes to engrave my pendant?

Answer

Carre: You can trust Jewelry Keepsakes to engrave your pendant because we take pride in every piece that we do. We treat each photo as the special memories that they are. We work diligently to preserve every detail of the photo and to bring out the love of each memory that we are engraving. We know that that pendant will be with the customer every day, and they want to be able to look at it and remember that special moment with someone that is engraved on their pendant. It is a keepsake that has so much meaning and that is why we put so much thought and care into making sure each pendant is a pendant that we are proud to send out to our customers.


Question

Jewelry Keepsakes:How many pendants to you estimate you have engraved over the years?

Answer

Carre: I have been engraving for the company for the past six years. I have text engraved thousands of pendants and thousands of photo engraved pendants. If I had to estimate on the photo engraved pendants, I would estimate 10,000+ that I have engraved.


Question

Jewelry Keepsakes: What has been your favorite photo engraving?

Answer

Carre: Probably the photos of families. Those are my favorite. Just happy families all together. Those are great photos to do.



Question

Jewelry Keepsakes: If you could give your customers one piece of advice when it comes to choosing their engraving what would it be?

Answer

Carre: On a photo, I would advise that you just try to find a nice clear straight on shot at whomever youíre looking at having engraved. Not dark, no shadows, sun shining behind them, just something basic. Those work out the best. For text, my advice would be that before you order you need to think about what you want engraved on it. Give it thought and make it meaningful to you. A lot of customers they call and say ďI donít know what to put.Ē If they gave it some thought like - that was my brother and what was meaningful to us. Itís easy to cookie cutter and say his name was this, his birthdate was this - and thatís fine. I think if they sat and thought about what they wanted, think about what was special between you and that person and then have something engraved, that makes it meaningful.