Many of us have a piece of jewelry that has been ‘engraved’. We label wedding rings and class rings with dates, initials and messages to mark special occasions. Many of these are made using a machine tracing a template or programmed to draw the mark. Many jewelry stores use this method.
A rare class of jewelers offer a different kind of engraving – hand engraving. Every cut into the metal is created by hand. Every swirl introduces a piece of the jeweler-artist’s personality to the metal under his or her hands. A hand engraver is painting in metal by removing metal at varying levels in the metal to provide shadows, textures and lines to reflect light to create the desired picture. It takes intensive training and years of practice for a jeweler to develop the specialized skill of engraving.
For a jeweler who offers hand-engraving, engraving is about creating artistic marks rather than just dates and initials – although there is nothing wrong with creating artistic initials! Almost all engraving is performed using gravers held in the hand. These come points of different shapes to provide different affects. Gravers allow the jeweler to dig deeper into the metal as well as vary the angle of the lines he draws. Light reflect off the metal at different angles; it gives each line character.
Engraving can be used to change the appearance of a piece of jewelry you haven’t worn for years. This ring used to have a family crest. The owner wanted something new. Now the top sports the owner’s initials displayed with flair!
And don’t limit your thinking to jewelry! Something as simple as a pocketknife can become spectacular when you personalize it with engraving. Here, a combination of techniques including cutting, shading and an engraved initial so no one can ‘borrow’ it from you!
Many antique lockets and pocket watches were decorated with engraving. The art is rarely taught anymore. Yet, you have found yourself on the website of one of the best engravers in Austin, Tx. See what other hand engraved items Philippe has created by clicking here.