A Peek at Personalized Jewelry’s Past

History of Personalized Jewelry

Personalized cuff bracelet example of pre-engraved jewelry

Pre-Engraved vs. Custom Engraved

Today there are many styles of personalized jewelry available to the jewelry shopper. We offer initial pendants, Tiffany style initial necklaces, ID bracelets, initial bracelets, and so much more! The best personalized jewelry has always been created through the art of engraving. You can see all of the different personalized jewelry items offered by Thoughtful Impressions from classic elegance to fun new trends.

Jewelry was first created to be an adornment, typically made of precious metals and often set with gems or imitation gems. But, engraving enhanced the beauty and meaning of the jewelry, and thus evolved a wide range of personalized jewelry.

History of Engraved Jewelry

Engraving dates back to prehistoric times, when cavemen would sculpt rock drawings or engrave images on pottery. It’s considered by many to be an art form unto itself, and a difficult one to master. Over the years, engraving has been used largely to create original artworks, and to reproduce limited editions of original artworks. Among the most famous of the modern and contemporary artists who used engraving to create limited editions of their work are Chagal, Picasso, Miro, and Dali.

The matrices used to prepare the limited editions would be carved either in relief (e.g. wood engraving, or linoleum engraving) or intaglio (directly on a metal plate) depending on the method used to reproduce the image, either spreading the ink on the parts in relief or filling in the depressions.

Intaglio engravings are most often created by hand using specialized instruments, but can also be created through the process of etching, where the drawing is created by applying an acid solution to the metal wherever the metal is to be engraved.

Anyone who has ever attempted to use a hand engraver’s tools for creating personalized jewelry knows that early engravers had to possess the imagination and balance of an artist, the steady hand of a surgeon, and the patience of a saint. Working in a very small space — the size of a silver or gold locket, for example — can be difficult enough, but when the material is curved, it’s difficult to get the proper perspective. Then there’s the need to start the engraving at just the right point so that the finished inscription will end up looking well-balanced. Engraved jewelry is also more challenging because the thickness of the metal may not be consistent, and the depth of the engraving needs to take this into consideration.

Engraved Lockets

One way to be certain if a locket is well-constructed is to see if the vendor is willing to engrave it. Many lockets being sold today have had the walls of the locket thinned-out to reduce the amount of silver or gold they contain. That has allowed mass-merchandisers to sell lockets at a lower price, but thinner walled lockets are likely to cave in when they’re pinched, and thus cannot be engraved.

Semi-Automated Engraving

The pantograph was one of the first semi-automated tools used for engraving. Although it’s probably been around in one form or another for several hundred years, the pantograph came into widespread use near the end of the 1700’s when pantographs were used to help create the metal letters used in the printing press. To use a pantograph, one simply inserts a stylus into a cutout template design and traces the template. Attached to the stylus would be an engraving tool that would then ‘engrave’ the template’s image into metal. Templates were soon created for alphabetic fonts and font sizes, and the technique for personalization of jewelry became more exact.

Computerized Engraving

With the creation of the personal computer in the late 1970’s, personalized jewelry engraving moved to a new dimension. Computerized engraving was faster and more precise than either hand engraving or the pantograph technique could provide.

History of Personalized Jewelry

No one is absolutely certain when people began engraving names and personalized messages into jewelry, but it likely began around the 14th or 15th century when personalized jewelry lockets were first created in France. What is certain is that personalized jewelry items such as lockets and ID bracelets are often cherished more dearly than other types of jewelry creations.Recently a man came to visit us wearing an ID bracelet he’d been given by his sister when he was preparing to go off to war (WWII). The ID bracelet had the man’s name engraved on the top of the bracelet plaque, and engraved on the reverse side was the date he’d been given the ID bracelet. Although the man might have cherished any jewelry item given to him by his sister, the fact that this ID bracelet was engraved with his name and the date his sister had given it to him no doubt made it extra special. And, he was still wearing his personalized bracelet nearly 65 years later.

Personalized Jewelry Lockets

Personalized lockets tend to be even more special than id bracelets when engraved with the recipient’s monogram or a personal message, since the locket holds one or more photos. Heart lockets are still the most popular of all lockets. Trailing close behind, though, are round lockets, oval lockets, Mom lockets, child lockets, baby lockets, lockets with crosses, lockets with diamonds, and four photo lockets.

Traditionally, gold lockets have been more popular than sterling silver lockets simply because of the perceived value of gold, but today sterling silver lockets and gold filled lockets have become just as popular. With the price of gold having risen so sharply, sterling silver lockets have also become an excellent value.

Sterling Silver Lockets

In order for silver lockets to be called sterling lockets, they must be made of at least 92.5% pure silver. The remaining 7.5% can be a combination of several metals, but it’s most often copper. Pure silver (99.9%) is too soft for making jewelry or almost anything else that’s large or functional. Adding copper to the silver gives it additional strength without changing the color of the metal. Sterling silver lockets are always stamped with the word ‘sterling’, or ‘925’, or a lion in walking position with its right leg raised (known as the lion passant).

Many people comment that silver jewelry they purchase at a craft fair, or from a silver jewelry stand in Mexico, quickly begins to tarnish. All silver tarnishes in time unless it has been plated (typically with a rhodium finish). The ID bracelets that have a product number that begins with the letters ‘R’ or ‘M’, and the sterling lockets that have a product number beginning with the letter ‘M’ are all plated with rhodium to avoid tarnishing.

14K Gold Lockets

14K gold lockets are made of a combination of metals, 58.3% (14/24th) of which must be pure (24K) gold. The other 41.7% alloying elements are typically silver, copper, nickel, and zinc. These other elements used in producing the gold alloy have a significant effect on the final color of the gold. For example, as the amount of silver increases, the gold will change in hue from yellow, to greenish-yellow, and then to white. Copper causes gold lockets to become redder in appearance. Nickel has a whitening effect. Zinc is used to remove the reddish gold color that results from adding copper, causing the gold to become more yellow.

Why don’t all 14K gold lockets appear to be the same color? Some people prefer gold that’s reddish in color, and others prefer their gold to look more yellow. So, goldsmiths create different mixtures of gold and alloy elements to produce the desired effect.

Gold jewelry is stamped with an official mark to specify its karat purity –10K (41.6% gold), 14K (58.3% gold), 18K (75% gold), or 24K (99.9% gold). The price of a 14K gold locket is determined largely by the weight of the locket, the current price of gold (which fluctuates daily, but which has frequently been in excess of $400 an ounce), and the amount of workmanship and design that has been added to the construction of the locket.

White Gold Lockets

Recently, white gold lockets have been gaining in popularity as a replacement for platinum lockets. They are especially nice for individuals who prefer gold, but who want to match their jewelry with outfits that need a silvery-looking accompaniment. White gold lockets are actually made of the same 14K gold found in yellow lockets, but white gold has more nickel and zinc contained in its alloying elements. White gold lockets are typically priced about the same as their 14K yellow gold locket counterparts. White gold lockets, like 14K gold lockets, are stamped with the karat purity of the gold contained in the locket.

Gold Filled Lockets

Gold Filled lockets have a fused outer layer that’s karat gold, but the metal is filled with other alloys. Gold filled lockets look and wear like 14K gold lockets because the outer surface of the locket is solid gold. There is no electroplating as with gold plated jewelry. Gold-filled jewelry must consist of at least one layer of a minimum of 10K gold. The karat gold layer must represent at least 1/20th of the total metal weight.

Gold Filled offers all the same physical characteristics for jewelry as 14K gold, such as beauty, durability, and strength, but at a fraction of the cost. Since the gold is on the outer surface area, it is nearly impossible to tell the difference between 14K gold lockets and gold filled lockets. Gold filled lockets are typically priced about the same as sterling silver lockets.

Medical ID Bracelets

A relatively new category of personalized jewelry is the Medical Alert ID Bracelet.  Designed for persons who have chronic or life-threatening illnesses or allergies, the medical id alert is said to speak for the individual when he is unable to speak for himself.  The original medical id bracelets were fairly dull and boring, usually made of cheap material, and many people who needed to wear a bracelet shunned them because they were so ugly.  Within recent years, medical id bracelets and pendants have been introduced by Sticky Jewelry that are both stylish and affordable.  And, Sticky Jewelry also offers personalized custom engraving so that someone who needs a medical id can have their condition and personal information added.

Engraved Jewelry Styles

The most common form of personalization for engraved jewelry items – especially lockets — is a monogram or single initial engraved on the front side of the locket, and a short, personal message engraved on the back side. The fonts used for engraving a monogram or single-letter on the front of lockets are typically ones with lots of curves and loops, and they are always upright fonts such as Interlocking Monogram, or Upright Script. For the personal message engraved on the back of a silver locket or gold locket, either a simple block or script font looks best. The flowery fonts take up too much space, and are difficult to read when the letters are very small.

For ID bracelets, it’s most common to engrave the recipient’s first name on the front of the plaque. For males, Futura Outline is an excellent font choice. For women, a script font such as Victoria Outline or Wedding Script looks best when the name is to be inscribed in upper and lower case.

For wrist lockets and envelope lockets, the insert plate is small, so a simple block font is best.

If in doubt, it’s best to allow the engraver to make a selection for you. Just reference that in the comments section when placing an order.

Personalized Engraved Lockets: History, Love, and Quality

Originally a gift only for wealth and nobility, Lockets were given as condolences to those who had lost a loved one in the Victorian Era. After centuries, people realized the beauty and versatility of an engraved locket.



Lockets have been made out of every known metal, and come in every shape and size imaginable.  Unlike lockets of the Victorian Era which were only engraved with artful designs, our modern day lockets can be personalized as well with the recipient’s name or initials, and often a personal message is engraved on the back.  Most lockets today are made of sterling silver, 14K yellow gold, 14K white gold, and 18k yellow gold, and it’s common also to see lockets that are gold filled.  Gold filled lockets are priced similar to sterling silver lockets, but must, by law, have one layer of at least 10K gold that makes up at least 5% of the total weight of the locket.

One of the things we pride ourselves on at Sticky Jewelry is the quality of the items we sell.  This is especially evident in our locket collection.  Often, lockets are given as gift that’s meant to be passed down from generation to generation.  Thus, a locket’s durability is crucial to its design.  We’re very selective about the lockets we choose to sell, and we’d like to show you why that is.

Lockets have been around for centuries.  As time passed, the use of lockets expanded.  They became wonderfully romantic gifts, and keepsakes, as the lockets were handed down from generation to generation.




In life, sometimes you get what you pay for; and even though our lockets range in price from less than $40 to several hundred dollars, all of our lockets are extremely high quality engravable lockets that go through multiple quality checks before leaving our store. To illustrate the differences between our lockets and our competitors lockets, we’ve taken a photo of one of our lockets lying next to a locket purchased from another store…

The first thing to notice is the careless way in which the locket on the left is assembled.  The metal has been smashed together and bent up in order to hold it in place, and there are scratches, dents, and other imperfections all over the locket.  And finally, there is no frame lining the inside with which to hold a photo in place.  Thus, a photo must be glued to the metal in order to keep it in place.

The second thing I’d like to point out in this post is the quality of the metal.  Sticky Jewelry has locket styles available in 14k gold, white gold, and sterling silver, as well as base metals plated with gold or silver.  However, even our most affordable lockets made from base metals (as pictured in the photo above) are durable, high quality metal alloys that are very beautiful and more resistant to denting than a typical locket.  You can even see a difference in the color of the gold plating on the chains pictured above.

History of Lockets and the Heart



The most popular locket throughout the centuries has been the heart shaped locket, since it represents someone else’s heart resting on yours.

Although the heart had taken shape centuries before in Rome, the creation of heart shaped lockets didn’t become popular until the romantic Victorian era, when lockets were thought to hold a woman’s feelings for the one whose photo was encased within.

We hope that you will enjoy looking through each of our beautiful lockets, and find one that you feel is worthy of putting your feelings into.

Beyond Charmed: Personalized Charm Bracelets

Charm Bracelets Have a Rich History

The charm bracelet, so popular today, has its roots in ancient times. The early models did not necessarily have silver charms for bracelet wearing, but are recognizable as charm bracelets just the same. In Ancient Egypt, during the time of the Pharaohs, people wore charms for protection and as signs of status. When they prepared for the afterlife, the bracelets would help the Gods guide them to the proper status level. During Ancient Roman times, the early Christians would produce the charm of the fish as a sign they were Christians, so they could be admitted to secret services.
During medieval times, kings and knights used them to cast spells on enemies. They were also worn on belts as signs of family origin, political standing and profession. As education of the masses occurred and superstition fell away, charms fell into disuse, except with the poorer classes, until the early 1900s.
It was Queen Victoria who brought the charm bracelet into vogue merely as decorative ornamentation. The charms of the times were lockets, glass beads and family crests. During WWII, soldiers stationed in faraway places would buy trinkets or charms from local craftsmen. Often these charms were tiny replicas of items that might be familiar to that locale. As the trend caught on, jewelers in the US began making charms of their own. It wasn’t long before silver charms for bracelet wearing were the fashion of the day.
Today, charms come in all sorts of materials, including silver. Birthstones, glass beads, stainless steel, and many novelty items, can be found dangling from wrists.




Give the Gift of Custom Charm Bracelets This Holiday Season

When you find yourself stumped on what to get your loved ones for the holidays, custom charm bracelets are always a good idea. Whether you wish to buy your loved one a readymade bracelet with all the charms already on it, a plain bracelet chain and a charm to get her started, or just wish to give her a new charm to add to an existing bracelet, there are many options for you to choose from that will help her personalize her attire.
Choosing a Bracelet
The first thing you need to do is decide on a bracelet. Do you wish to give her a chain-link bracelet, a cord bracelet, cuff bracelet or a beaded bracelet? There are many styles and colors to choose from, and what it comes down to is really a matter of preference. When trying to decide on one, take note of what type of jewelry your loved one wears, and then choose a style according to her tastes.
A Ready-Made Bracelet or Charms for an Existing One?
Another option to keep in mind is whether or not you want to charm your lady friend with a readymade charm bracelet or give her the chain and a customized charm to create a new one. Likewise, if she already has a charm bracelet she loves to wear, you might consider buying her a new charm to go on it. This can also be customized with an engraving, so she will think of you whenever she wears it.
Custom charm bracelets make charming holiday gifts, and, with a little consideration, you should be able to pick out the right one for your loved one this holiday season.

Seeing Double: Custom Dog Tags for Couples

Early 90’s brought about the break apart charm necklace trend.
You remember those “BFF” necklaces, right? Each person wore a side that was either the “be fri” or the “st end” in the best friends partnership.
Thoughtful Impressions can give you the grown up version with custom engraved dog tags.
Custom dog tags engraved with a special message, anniversary date and their names are the latest in couple’s jewelry. This is also suitable for best friends. These dog tags are worn by each person and should never be removed. It is essentially telling the world that they belong to each other as a couple, or are dedicated and loyal to one another as best friends.Dog tags have long been a symbol of dedication worn by soldiers for identification purposes. The move to mainstream jewelry has been received well. Men and women wear them engraved with their name, with a personal motto or quote, and even with song lyrics. But really meaningful custom dog tags for couples have become very popular.

Military couples, teenage couples and even those who have been married for several years may enjoy wearing matching custom dog tags. They are lightweight, go with nearly any type of clothing, and can easily be tucked inside a shirt if necessary. Due to the long-lasting materials used and the durability of dog tags, you can slip your dog tag necklace over your head and keep the loving declaration close to your heart at all times.

Engraved Dog Tags: Let the Jewelry do the Talking!

Come check out our new line of engraved dog tags!

Express yourself! Sticky Jewelry now has a brand new line of jewelry! Most are engraved dog tags with a few keychains thrown in the mix! They have inspirational quotes to get you through the day, and others are fitness themed with lines such as “I don’t sweat, I sparkle” and “no pain, no gain – shut up and train”.

Looking for the perfect gift for a fitness instructor, personal trainer, gym coach or gym lover? Even if it’s just to get out of those last few extra push-ups, we have hilarious engraved dog tags for them! Check them out! We won’t tell.

“drop it like a squat” motivational fitness engraved dog tag

Our engraved dog tags can also be engraved with most quotes and images. Please see our “custom logo” information if you have a pinterest-style quote image that you would love to have engraved on your jewelry! We would be more than happy to let you know whether or not the image you’re requesting will work. Keep in mind that our laser engraved items are “annealed”, meaning we are actually altering the color of the metal itself, not adding black color on top of it. You will never have to worry about your image coming off! Perfect for athletes, those who are rough on their jewelry, and those who don’t want to have to think about removing jewelry before bathing with sea urchins.

So wheel your virtual shopping cart on over to StickyJ.com and load up on some of our newest, greatest (and sassiest) items for your self and friends! It’s way better than loading into your car and driving over to a crowded store with a bunch of people you don’t know and finding out they don’t have that perfect motivational keychain you were hoping for. Not to mention all the gas you just wasted.

Engraved Dog Tags
Engraved Dog Tags: Let the Jewelry do the Talking!
Sticky Jewelry has a new line of engraved dog tags with motivational fitness phrases and fun quotes! Great as gifts for personal trainers or gym lovers!