What is Jewelry Stamping?

April 28th, 2022

Jewelry stamping is an imprinting method used to mark the serial number of each piece for easy identification. It is also an excellent way to personalize jewelry pieces with messages, dates, or initials to commemorate a special occasion.

Discover how to start jewelry stamping, what tools you need, and which techniques to use to create stunning pieces for your jewelry collection.

What is Jewelry Metal Stamping?

Jewelry metal stamping is a marking technique used to create designs on the surface of jewelry without removing any metal mass. This ensures that metal quality, weight, and purity remain consistent.

Jewelry metal stamping is used to add alphanumeric codes to jewelry tags and surfaces to indicate the types of materials used, the karat value, the number of gemstone carats, the location of manufacture, and the manufacturer’s name.

Metal Stamping Jewelry Supplies

Metal stamping requires a specific set of tools to make clear, accurate impressions on the surface of your jewelry pieces.

  • Steel bench block: The bench block provides a solid surface behind the jewelry piece or blank to prevent damage to the table and ensure the stamp marks are
  • A hammer: A brass head hammer weighing at least 16 oz. provides enough force to imprint the stamp into the blank without excessive bounce back. However, heavier hammers up to 32 oz. create clearer imprints and are easier to use.
  • A stamp set: Stamps are typically made from high-carbon steel. A full letter and number set is the ideal selection of stamps for beginners, but you can also find decorative designs like flowers, mandalas, and animals.
  • Stamping tape: Tape is easy to write on, allowing you to line up the stamps perfectly. The light adhesive is quick to remove and won’t leave residue on jewelry or blanks.
  • Blanks: Blanks are used to create charms, pendants, or tags when there is no broad flat surface to stamp directly on a piece of jewelry. They are available in various metal types, including aluminum, brass, copper, stainless steel, solid gold, and sterling silver.
  • Rubbing alcohol and a polishing cloth: To clean residue and any chemicals from your jewelry after stamping.

Metal Jewelry Stamping for Beginners

With the right tools, jewelry stamping is a straightforward process and a fun way for beginners to start designing their own jewelry pieces.

Start by placing your steel bench block on a stable flat surface. Tape your blank to the bench block, and use a ruler and a Sharpie to mark the location of each stamp, so they are evenly spaced.

Line up the bottom edge of the stamp with the top edge of the tape over the marked location. You’ll need to slide the stamp down towards the tape until you feel the edge of the letter or design catch on the tape.

Hold the stamp upright at the base and strike the top once with the flat side of the hammer. Don’t strike it again, or you’ll end up with a shadow print that can make your design look unclear. Avoid striking the stamp too hard, or you’ll crack the metal or see the outline of the stamp frame.

If you want to emphasize the shape of the stamp, color the impression with enamel-look Sharpie or Liver of Sulfur. Then, remove the tape and use rubbing alcohol and a polishing cloth to burnish the piece to a high shine.

Metal Stamping Techniques

In addition to standard metal stamping, there are several techniques you can use to create one-of-a-kind stamped designs to help your jewelry stand out.

Oxidizing the stamps

One way to make your stamps stand out against the jewelry or blank’s metal finish is by oxidizing the tip. Apply a thin layer of Gilder’s paste to the raised parts of the stamp before stamping the metal. Gilder’s paste is made from highly concentrated metallic and organic pigments mixed with wax, ensuring the color won’t fade or wash away.

Patina stamping

You can create unique finishes on your stamped pieces by creating a patina. Patina is a thin layer of oxidation on the surface of your jewelry. You can control the patina’s patterns by applying Liver of Sulfur to the impressions after stamping. Liver of Sulfur is a compound made from a combination of potassium bisulfide, potassium polysulfide, potassium sulfide, and potassium thiosulfate.

Texture stamping

Rather than stamping clearly defined designs onto a blank or piece of jewelry, you can rapidly move the stamp to different locations on the metal surface to create a unique pattern or texture.

Engraving vs. Hand Stamping Jewelry

Both engraving and hand stamping are excellent techniques for creating designs on jewelry. Hand stamping offers a more organic, artisanal look, while engraving is ideal for high-volume jewelry production.

Engraving typically leaves shallow impressions, which are more prone to wear and fading than hand stamped designs. Hand-stamped jewelry designs remain clear as the jewelry ages.

Stamping Ideas

Stamping jewelry allows you to customize pieces with personal messages, sentimental quotes, and intricate designs. Some simple stamping ideas for beginners include:

Stacked rings

Stacked rings with each piece spelling out a different part of a motivational quote. Opt for different metals, such as rose, yellow, and white gold, to create a chic, on-trend look.

Layered pendants

Three different-sized circle pendants, each with the name of a child or loved one hand-stamped along the bottom edge, can make a charming Mother’s Day or anniversary present.

A signet ring

A signet ring hand-stamped with the wearer’s initials, sports team, or alma mater can be a thoughtful way to commemorate a special occasion.

Copper cuff bracelet displayed on a log with the word rescue hand-stamped on the surface

Insuring Your Hand-Stamped Jewelry

Stamped jewelry often holds sentimental value and monetary value, so it is critical to apply for dedicated jewelry insurance to protect your pieces. BriteCo offers coverage up to 125% of the appraisal price and zero deductible, so there are no out-of-pocket costs for replacement or repair.

Applying for jewelry insurance is simple with BriteCo. Use our convenient quote calculator and input the jewelry type and appraisal value to estimate what you can expect to pay each month. Within two minutes, you can receive worldwide coverage for your jewelry.

For more information on insuring your jewelry, contact BriteCo via our online chat function or email us at info@brite.co to learn more about our policies.

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About the Author

Dustin Lemick is the Founder and CEO of BriteCo and a third-generation jeweler with over thirteen years of retail jewelry experience. He holds a Graduate Gemologist degree from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and has in-depth knowledge and expertise in appraisal systems, diamond and gemstone markets, retail pricing models, insurance replacement models, and jewelry quotation pricing systems.
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