How Are Crystal Engraved Awards Made

By Marissa Velazquez

There are two different types of crystals to choose from when you consider having crystal engraved awards created by experts. The traditional leaded crystal is the most well known and highly regarded for its quality and value. Another type is the optical crystals which are lead free and display a highly visible reflective surface.

Leaded crystals are made by adding over twenty percent lead oxide to the process. The leaded oxide ensures that the optimum color, weight and hardness will be present in the finished product. This process also enhances the clarity of the crystals when the items are completed.

Optical crystals are lead free and created in large sheets up to three inches thick. They are extremely hard and will cut and bevel perfectly. They also contain a high level of brilliance when polished. While still molten the liquid is subjected to extreme pressure to remove all bubbles and flaws that may occur in processing. These crystals are often used in camera lenses and binoculars because of their flawless quality.

Both types of crystals can be engraved with the same techniques. There are several popular and effective methods of doing this. By far the most popular method for engraving is sand blasting. This technique uses thousands of tiny sand particles directed at the desired design at very high pressure. Most artists will use a stencil to guide the work being done. The result is an intricate and delicate image that demands attention. Sand etching has been in use for over twenty years and gives smooth uniform cuts that have a very high class look.

One of the fast disappearing techniques is wheel engraving. This method of etching is very difficult to learn and execute. The artists who have mastered this technique are truly master craftsmen. The most difficult aspect of this method comes from having to move the glass rather than the wheels to create the design. The wheels used are of various sizes to accommodate the arch and depth of the work in progress and must be changed often.

The down side to chemical etching is the noxious fumes that come from the acid that is used on the glass. Never the less, people find acid etching to be smoother and softer than the other techniques. It presents with a soft matte finish that has an overall glossy satin finish to it. Most artists do not use this system because of the dangers it poses to their health.

Laser engraving is a popular system that some say is a shortcut in production. Laser etching directs high precision lasers to mark leaded and synthetic crystals. They are unique because they can create the image inside a cube of glass without disturbing the surface of the cube. Many masters say that laser etching creates cracks in the crystals that you are working on and that the work is inferior compared to other techniques.

For the frugal shopper laser etching may be the best choice for the crystal engraved awards you need. Technique and materials can make a big difference when making your selections and the size of your order should have bearing when choosing. The wide variety of choices will help to make your selection fit perfectly to your needs.

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