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December 1999

Precious Metals & Bench: New Products

Scratching the Surface

Hand engraving: a dying art form

The ancient Art of hand engraving has traveled a long road since the simple designs and crude tools of the third millennium B.C. But the technique and extensive training required remain much the same. Artisans still sit before an piece of metal held on an engraver's block or swivel vise where the pattern is laid out precisely. Then they re-create the pattern by cutting into the metal's surface with sharp gravers – or burins – of different sizes.

It's demanding work. "Our engraving instructor had to complete a seven year, 10,000-hour apprenticeship in New Zealand before becoming a master engraver," says Alan Revere of the Revere Academy in San Francisco, CA.

The long education and hard work could spell an end to hand engraving within a generation, say those involved in the craft, especially in the face of competition from machine engraving. But because of the artistry involved, the mark of a human hand and the high quality, hand-engraved jewelry is still in demand among some consumers, says Revere.

As your customers admire this jewelry, explain the process and the labor that goes into each creation. Let them know the number of craftspeople who can do this type of metalwork is limited, so each piece is truly special and could become collectible.

by Lorraine M. Suermann

A cultured pearl is suspended from each 14k gold hand-engraved earrings from the Monaco Collection. Suggested retail, $1,195. Klass Design Inc., Elko, NV; (775) 753 - 4262, fax (702) 777-3582.
Hand-engraved 14k gold bangles are $79 - $599 suggested retail. Available also in 10k. Royal Chain, New York City; (800) 622-0960, fax (800) 262-4246.

14k gold locket is hand-engraved and accented with pink flowers and green leaves. Skalet Gold, Chicago, IL; (800) 621-6017, fax (773) 477-6293.
18k and platinum hand-engraved wedding rings. B&N Jewelry Inc., Marietta, GA; (800) 358-6223 or (770) 578-8745, fax (770) 578-8744.

Hand-engraved 18k white and yellow gold wedding bands in the stack are $225-$550 suggested retail. The two platinum wedding bands leaning against the others are $325 - $825. OGI Wedding Bands Ltd., New York City; (212) 840-0935 or (212) 764-7240.

Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.


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