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How is metal engraved?

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Quick Answer

Metal is usually engraved through a process involving a diamond drag engraving tool that pushes slivers of metal to each side of the tool so a simple message may be added to a piece of jewelry. Amateurs often mistake a particularly neat engraving for some form of printing process as the words are so clear, but no inks or dyes are used.

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Engraving is a highly skilled craft that is only mastered after many years of practice. Even as late as the 1970s, the best engravers were reluctant to share their knowledge, and the most famous engravers through the ages became celebrated artists in their own right.

The legendary German engraver Albrecht Durer was particularly famed for his masterful works of engraving that remain revered by masters of the craft to this day.

Different sizes of strokes and line depths are used to add tone, texture and shading to engravings. Modern diamond drag engraving tools are capable of immense feats of intricacy that would be impossible only decades ago. Indeed, such is the accuracy and ease of use of a modern engraving tool that text may be added that is almost invisible to the naked eye. Perfectly cylindrical objects like mugs and flashlights may also be engraved, as well as glass, wood and, since the invention of the laser engraver, even photographs.

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