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December 1999

Precious Metals & Bench: News

High-Tech Imaging

Jewelry companies combine modern technology with an ancient art to create an image that will last a lifetime

Long ago only the wealthy could afford to commission engraved jewelry. But technological advances and the growing importance people place on family mementos have led to tremendous growth in the field of personalized jewelry, particularly photo charm pendants.

"The ability to wear your favorite image close to your heart is soothing and invites a great deal of compliments and conversation," says David Savage, vice president of marketing for PhotoScribe, New York City. Bernard Halpern, president of Golden Graphics, New York City, agrees. "They are instant family heirlooms and a perfect gift to give on birthdays, anniversaries and holidays such as Valentines Day or Mother's Day," he says.

Customized charm pendants also set jewelers apart from mass merchants, require no extra investment and often prompt add-on sales, such as a gold chains or bracelets to wear them on. Place a sample next to other charm pendants in your display case. "In addition to displaying them in the case, we've found stores sell the most when a salesperson wears an image of a loved one," says Savage.

Here are details on two companies offering distinctive ways to turn ordinary photos into portraits on gold.

Golden Graphics

Golden Graphics offers three types of photo imaging:

  • Standard engraving (mechanical engraving) offers high resolution, precise detail and brightness. This computerized method of engraving cuts the metal with a diamond-pointed tool at 22,500 faceted cuts per square inch, giving the image a holographic effect.
  • UltraEngraving™ provides a black antiqued image with high resolution and detail. The image is bright and clearly visible at all angles. The gold is treated with black die permanently fused onto the surface.
  • The Picture Pendant™ system offers color imaging with vibrant colors. Like UltraEngraving,™ the gold is treated and color is fused to the

Golden Graphic's photo imaging pendants are $80-$290 keystone. All images are guaranteed against fading and peeling; if any charm is damaged beyond normal wear and tear, the company will replace it.

Photo Scribe

PhotoScribe offers a patented laser-engraving process for precious metal in which images, text, handwriting or line drawings are scanned into a computer system and engraved into precious metal with a laser system.

If the customer desires color, enamel is processed onto the gold and baked before a protective crystal is placed over the image. All pendants are seamlessly manufactured and all frames are cast in house. The line starts at $99 keystone and comes with a lifetime guarantee against manufacturer defects as well as a 30-day unconditional return policy.

How it Works

With both systems, the customer gives the jeweler the image he or she wants reproduced, and the jeweler sends it to the company.

Golden Graphics or Photoscribe then scan and retouch the image by computer to remove any flaws such as creases or cracks. The subjects are outlined and the backgrounds are removed to allow more of the gold to show through. If there is more than one subject, each is repositioned to better fit the pendant shape the customer has chosen. Cropping and positioning preferences should come from the customer.

After the image is engraved, colors are matched to the picture and added if desired. The pendant then is shipped back to the jeweler.


Golden Graphics offers kits that include samples of all three image types, a color catalog and a counter card showing different styles in actual sizes. "We also offer a tracking system with a serial number for each image so it can be reproduced again without using the original photo," says Halpern.

PhotoScribe offers a similar kit and an instruction booklet, generic ads and ad slicks for different holidays. The company also sells special displays.

by Lorraine M. Suermann

 This pendant at top left is an example of the color imaging process available from Golden Graphics, New York City; (212) 575-2105, fax (212) 575-2140.
You can see the difference between color and black-and-white laser engraved images by PhotoScribe, New York City; (888)746-8672 or (212) 819-1225, fax (212) 819-1717.

Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.


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