Engraving and its Many Applications
What is Engraving?
When lines or grooves are carved, etched or cut into a hard surface, we say it has been engraved. Engraving is commonly used on materials like metal, wood and stone. There are many applications for engraving, both decorative and functional. For example, printing, manufacturing and jewelry making all commonly incorporate engraving to produce the final product.
Engraving in Printing
Engraving is often used for printing. Most paper money produced today is engraved, and wedding invitations, personalized stationery, business cards and birth announcements are commonly custom ordered and engraved. The words and designs to be printed are engraved in a metal die, and the grooves are filled with ink. The die is then pressed to a card or paper, transferring the ink onto the paper. If you run your fingertips over the paper, you can feel the raised ink of the letters.
Laser engraving is currently a popular form of engraving. A laser is used to cut designs into the surface of the object being engraved. It is easier to get into small or difficult spots with a laser than with a hand tool. The laser is often used in conjunction with a computer program that controls its movements. Laser engraving can be used to etch a logo and phone number on marketing tools such as pens, key chains and paperweights. Because the logo is engraved in the item, it does not rub off with use over time as printed logos often do. Leather, glass and plastic can also be engraved with lasers, and laser engraving can be used for industrial applications.
Engraving in Art
Engraving was commonly used to illustrate books and newspapers before photography was invented. Until the late 19th century, wood engraving was used to produce most of the pictures seen in printed material. An artist would draw the image on a wood block, then an engraver would engrave the picture into the wood. Engraving was also used to reproduce paintings.
Engraved jewelry has been around for a long time, and engraved designs have been seen on jewelry that is thousands of years old. It is common to give engraved jewelry as a gift. Silver and gold jewelry is often engraved with the name or initials of the owner or an inscription. Enamel is sometimes used to fill the grooves made by engraving the jewelry. Designs have long been engraved on gemstones, and jade and ivory are commonly engraved with beautiful images.
Giving engraved items as gifts has been popular for years, and there are several shops that specialize in engraving gifts. Jewelry such as rings and bracelets are often engraved with initials or a short message. Pendants and lockets are frequently engraved with a dedication. Popular engraved gifts for men include cuff links, pocketknives, money clips and flasks. Aside from jewelry, popular engraved gifts for women include trinket boxes and key chains. For children, banks engraved with the child’s name are appreciated, and engraved photo frames make a nice gift for everyone.