Have you ever looked at those customizable pieces of jewellery with cool inscriptions? Did you ever find yourself admiring a vintage piece of jewellery with intricate patterns all over it?
Chances are, you're looking at engraving.
Engraving is the process of marking a surface to create a visual and textural effect. It can be done on a variety of materials such as glass, paper, plastic, metals, and stones.
The technique of engraving has been used since antiquity to make beautiful and complex pieces of jewellery. As technology improved, artisans shifted from hand engraving to more convenient and speedy methods such as rotary engraving. Nowadays, many modern-day jewellers make use of laser engraving.
The oldest and most laborious method, hand-engraving is performed by a skilled artisan and a small engraving tool. Since the work is done by a human, the engraving may not be as exact as a computer-controlled engraving, but many people opt for hand-engraving because of its old-world charm and craftsmanship value. It is easily the most expensive option out of the three engraving methods because of how time-consuming it can be.
This engraving method uses a tool that is controlled by a machine to create the engraving. The design is pre-programmed into a computer that controls the machine, making the engraving as precise as possible. Rotary machine engraving is more affordable than hand-engraving because it takes comparatively less time, but it cannot be used on materials that are heat-sensitive. The friction caused by the process can potentially heat up and damage jewellery containing glass, plastic, or delicate gemstones.
Laser engraving is the most modern and adaptable engraving method. A highly concentrated laser beam is used to perform the engraving, and the thickness of the beam can be adjusted to increase or decrease the overall width of the engraving. The laser can also be strengthened to carve more deeply into the base material, which improves the texture of the engraving.
In addition, laser engraving can be used on virtually any type of material, even paper! This means it can be used on items aside from jewellery, such as glassware