The art of crystal glass engraving

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Personalised crystal glass trophies and gifts are a great way to recognise achievements, mark special occasions or express gratitude.

There is a variety of crystal objects available that can be engraved, including trophies, drinking glasses, vases, plates, bowls and more. Read on to learn about the art of crystal glass engraving.

What is crystal?

Crystal is a type of glass that is of better quality than plain glass. It is made with a higher percentage of iron ore. If you tap the side of a crystal glass with metal cutlery to grab attention before a toast, it makes a ringing sound, compared to plain glass’ clunking sound. Held up to a light source, rainbow colours will be seen in a crystal glass.

As is to be expected, crystal glass is more expensive than plain glass, but it is still very affordable.

Different engraving techniques

There are three main methods used by commercial glass engravers to carve crystals: sandcarving, mechanical engraving and laser engraving.

Sandcarving, otherwise known as sandblasting, uses compressed air to force abrasive particles to carve a design in crystal glass. Sandblasting is very versatile and can achieve a variety of looks, from lightly frosted images to deep designs. A 3D effect can be achieved by sandblasting in stages, using different depths of carving. Sandcarving can make intricate and detailed images.

A stencil with the desired design is first created and then fixed to the crystal object. The abrasive particles will only cut the crystal in the cut-out areas of the stencil.

Mechanical engraving uses a rotary wheel. The crystal object is held against the wheel to cut patterns or text. A skilled engraver can create intricate designs by holding the glass by hand against the rotating wheel.

Laser engraving uses a controlled laser beam to etch designs into crystal glass. For round objects like drinking glasses, a laser engraving machine has a rotary attachment that rotates the object 360 degrees as it is being engraved.

Whichever technique a glass engraver uses, premium-quality equipment should be used and great skill in the art of crystal glass engraving is required.

What to engrave

Crystal gifts can be personalised in many ways. They can be engraved with text or images, or a combination of both. There are many different text font styles and sizes to choose from. Glass engravers have stock images available, or customers can provide their own image file.

Any message can be engraved on the crystal. The recipient’s name can be included, and the occasion or achievement recorded. Companies can add their logos, and sports teams can include their official badges.

Glass engraving is a creative process. An engraved crystal glass object, such as an item of drinkware or a trophy, looks stylish by itself. A great design and message carved on the glass add sentimental value.

Engraved glass gifts are treasured by their owners. Drinkware may be used many times to enjoy a drink, but engraved crystal glassware is rarely hidden away – it’s often displayed proudly in a prominent place at home or in the workplace.

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