Gold metal needs little introduction. Valued for its rarity and visual appeal, jewelry made of gold has been used since the olden times to convey affluence and elevated social status.

Nowadays, gold has become more accessible, with most consumers instead preferring their pieces to have a higher degree of personalisation and customisation. Pendants, rings, and charms are considered more valuable when etched with a person’s name, initials, or other personal inscriptions. Laser engraving on gold has become a particularly effective and popular technology used toward this end.

Outside of jewelry, laser marking and laser cutting of gold has also been used to create highly intricate designs for medals and currency coins.

Benefits of using laser marking machines for gold applications

Gold engraving using lasers is a particularly apt technology because it results in less wastage of material. Since the material could literally be worth their weight in gold, even a small amount of this precious metal etched away could be an expensive loss.

The quality and reliability of this metal is unparalleled. It can produce high-quality engravings that are permanent, accurate, and legibly display even the smallest details. The software allows jewelry makers to very easily load image and design files, and to produce models before marking on the actual jewelry. The accuracy and reliability of laser marking are highly prized when working with precious metals – after all, a mistake in this field could prove to be very costly.

With this in mind, the annealing process has become the standard process for etching, engraving, marking or cutting this material. In annealing, a colour change is achieved on the surface by oxidation of the material without any material loss. Since gold is an incredibly soft metal, marking it successfully requires high-speed and very little power – with just a 20W laser, a simple design is completed in a fraction of a second.

Laser marking technology provides total design freedom, allowing for the accurate reproduction of practically any design idea on gold jewelry – logos, small alphanumeric characters, fancy typeface, or even photo-realistic designs.

Since the metal has a highly reflective surface, a pulsed fiber laser is a preferred technology to laser cut gold. By using a laser with a higher energy density, the heat is quickly absorbed by the material. Despite the use of a high energy laser, the parameters of a pulsed fiber laser can be adjusted to work with very delicate materials such as extremely thin or hollow gold items.

Pulsed fiber lasers have become the standard technology used specifically for gold items. A fiber laser concentrates high energy in an extremely fine laser beam, allowing gold etching of highly intricate and detailed designs. With a higher degree of control, a pulsed laser fiber does not damage the surrounding material, resulting in custom engraved jewelry with a clean finish.

Laser engraving on gold

Laser etched hallmarks

Hallmarking is a process by which jewelry makers leave unique marks on their pieces as a sort of “trademark”. This process was traditionally done by using steel punches, but laser engraving technology has provided jewelry makers with the ability to create hallmarks without causing damage or distortion to the product.

Given the soft nature of gold metal, the non-contact engraving process is the best method to ensure that the item does not suffer any secondary damage. An automated laser marking operation ensures that results are accurate every single time and that the jewelry maker will not have any expensive rejects.

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