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Hand Engraving has been done by artisans down through the ages. They have incised designs and images on everything from cave walls, bone, pottery, stones, and every kind of metal.


In Colonial times this creative expression was brought to a fine art by renowned silversmiths such as Paul Revere. He was also known as a master engraver.


In the Victorian period engraving became a popular way to decorate jewelry, weapons, and other objects. The engravers who plied their trade in Philadelphia and other cities decorated many metals such as silver, pewter, german silver, and gold. They used small special chisels known as "gravers" and often added the use of small hammers to assist the work.

Those fortunate enough to possess examples of this work prized them greatly, and handed them down through generations as precious heirlooms. Engraved service pieces graced dining tables. Clock makers commissioned engraved clock faces, and gifts of personalized watch cases, lockets, brooches, and rings often carried the monogram or name of the lucky recipient.

There are other methods available to the engravers of today:

First, of course, is the original method that has been handed down through the generations. In this method the engraver uses a selection of small chisels (gravers) and a hammer to make the cuts in the metal exactly the way he wants them to be, adding the brilliance that we see in this style. The cuts can be deep, shallow, textured, and angled to catch the light in certain ways.

Secondly there are pantograph-like machines that use a template that pre-sets the design or lettering. This method is less expensive, but also more limited. It is much less vivid because the cuts are very shallow. The machine scribes all the lines in exactly the same way, eliminating the variation that makes hand engraving so spectacular.

Much engraving is done by computers today, but while this method has some advantages, it also has its disadvantages. Hand engraving remains the choice for those who desire an artistic and completely personalized design with brightness and clarity that will last.