Monday, June 19, 2017

Review : TagMate Custom Jewelry Stamp System

By on Monday, June 19, 2017 5 Comments

Infinity Stamps is a US company which specializes in high quality, custom metal stamps.  They also sell other kinds of non-custom jewelry stamps for professionals as well as hobbyists.  It is a family business which began in 1999 with a husband and wife team, Jack and Billie Eglick.   They recently sent me their TagMate custom jewelry tag system to try out, going from the design phase to actually putting the TagMate through its paces.


The TagMate system consists of a two part holder (the base and cap) and a metal stamp.  I also received some tiny (1 cm) copper, brass and nickle silver jewelry tags. They also have all kinds of shapes and other metals available.


But before they could send the system to me, I had to submit a design. As my logo (Jewelry Expressions in Bloom!) is based on a flower with a gem inside, I came up with this simplified logo. I actually used one of their clip art flowers, and added the other elements using Microsoft Powerpoint's drawing features.  I also chose a "single stroke" font from their gallery.  These type of fonts are best for steel stamps for stamping really hard metals like stainless steel, as well as hard woods, plastic and other materials. 

initial concept 

Infinity Stamp's graphic design team then sent me a proof based on my initial concept. You are allowed up to 3 free proofs - after that, it costs $15 per proof.  They sent a PDF which I printed out so I could see the actual size. It looked too small to me (Option 1) and the "gem" center wasn't really visible. So they enlarged the text as you can see below and just changed the "gem" to a solid circle. Option 2 was good to go.

The stamp I received was well made.  Note that it is not completely round but flat at the bottom edge. This is to help align the stamp quickly in the holder so the design is always positioned correctly.


Each tag sits just so in the depression of the base. The tags I received were placed with the metal loop at the top. You could also have the design stamped such that it is read horizontally. This is clearer when you see their oval tags.


The cap fits on top of the base and functions as a sleeve to receive the stamp.


I needed only one good strike to get a perfectly aligned impression. I did strike twice with some of the tags and the holder kept the stamp in place.


These custom tags are ideal if you are looking to brand your collection. Keen hobbyists can make their gifts special by having unique tags. 


I also compared using the stamp without the TagMate holder.  I stamped a tag directly on my steel block.


I thought I had aligned the stamp on the tag properly. But clearly the result was not great!


Infinity Stamps also sent their oxidizing, polishing cloths, some cotton tips and toothpicks.


I tried following the instructions. After pouring out a little of the oxidizing solution into the bottle cap, I applied a little of it onto the tag.


As I had chosen a single stroke font, the lines were pretty thin so I did not see much oxidizing happening for the letters.   So, I dipped the whole tag into the solution!


The tags I had quickly turned black.  I rinsed off the solution in plenty of water which effectively stops the chemical reaction. Note : Never pour used solution into the original bottle as that will contaminate it. I poured it into a recycled jam jar to collect for safe disposal at my local authority later.


Then using some #0000 steel wool, I sanded off most of the oxidation.


Then polished the tags with the finishing cloth.


The picture below shows the unoxidized tags in the top row.  The unoxidized copper and brass tags were examples of when I struck twice with the hammer, giving the stamped design deeper impressions than compared to the nickle silver tag immediately on the right.

I preferred the unoxidized tags mainly because I was not that successful with getting the patina in the fine impressions.  Perhaps another try with liver of sulfur?  Or a double strike to get deeper impressions?

Top row : Unoxidized   Bottom row : Oxidized

I also quickly tested the stamp on polymer clay. Why not? That  will "brand" the back of a design just as well as for metal work.   I conditioned some Sculpey clay I had, rolled it out and cut out oval shapes. Then I pressed the stamp into the clay.


Here are the baked examples with no sanding.  I pressed harder for the one on the right. If you want to leave some color impressions, ink up the stamp first. Remember to clean it off afterwards!  Note that this is a TagMate stamp with a straight edge on the bottom of the round shape.  Infinity Stamps also do regular custom stamps.


I was suitably impressed on how reproducible and quick it was to use the TagMate system. One could quickly produce a whole pile of custom tags in next to no time even if one was not particularly good at stamping.  This sure minimizes wastage.

The TagMate system, given that it is custom design work is not cheap. It includes one stamp and costs $240+ depending on design complexity.  But well worth if you are making a lot of tags. The cost for just a custom stamp is $96+ - good to know if you are looking for a custom stamp for clay work and don't need the holder.

Also worth a look are their neat bent ring jewelry stamps - for stamping logos inside ring bands.

Disclosure
I receive books and products for review. The opinions expressed are solely my own.  They would be the same whether or not I receive any compensation.

Photography
I used natural light, my iPhone 6S with the ProCamera app and the Modahaus TS400 tabletop studio and Steady Stand for final product photography. The tutorial pictures were taken with the same equipment but with artificial lights in my windowless basement studio. Check out my How to Photograph Jewelry Webinar .

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5 comments:

  1. I came across this company when I was looking to brand some of my higher end pieces. But I gave up as I found it too expensive. Your tags look really cool though

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The tags are really good quality and not expensive once the initial investment of the TagMate system is made.

      Delete
  2. Thanks Pearl. This is really good to know!

    For some of my stuff I've found that just usinf a magic marker and wiping off the excess leaves the imprint nice and dark. Not much fuss involved except maybe having to do it more than once.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do that too. But I think if the impression is not deep enough, whatever the ink or patina will still come off.

      Delete
  3. Thanks Pearl, I've looked at this system but keep putting it off because of the price. Your tags look great!

    ReplyDelete

 

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