The Shape of Memories: Different Types of Engraving

Engraving is an ancient art that has evolved over the years.

Engraving is a process that produces lettering, logos, or designs on just about anything from picture frames to wedding rings.

There are various types of engraving methods, each with its own unique benefits.

If you are interested in adding that special touch to a gift or to something you own, keep reading to learn more about the main engraving methods used today.

Hand Engraving

Engraving by hand is the oldest, most traditional method available.

With this method, you use a small tool to make cuts into your material of choice. This takes a lot of time, effort, and experience, making hand engraved items far more expensive than making items engraved by other methods.

Though hand engraving is not nearly as precise as the other methods, it is still highly popular.

Laser Engraving

Laser engraving uses beams of light to heat the material and slightly melt it. Vapors caused by the melting metal form a smooth, permanent engraving.

This method is incredibly precise and is useful for those who do not want to worry about changing the material’s original shape.

Laser engraving can be used on materials such as wood, acrylic, stone, and leather. Because this method is so precise, it is popular for both personalized gifts and business applications, as seen on Some laser engraving ideas are picture frames, coasters, cutting boards, name badges, portfolios, and iPad covers.

Rotary Engraving

Rotary engraving is a method where a spindle within a spinner cutter is used to cut material.

This engraving method can be used on a wide variety of materials, most notably diamonds and metals like gold, silver, brass, copper, stainless steel, aluminum, and pewter. Because of this, rotary engraving is often used on items such as dishware, knives, jewelry, and trophies.


While etching is often considered different than engraving, the process is similar enough to warrant mention.

Etching is similar to engraving in that a person will be either cutting or lasering letters, logos, or designs into a material. However, etching methods only mark the surface of a material, while engraving methods go in deeper.

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Etching methods are useful for those who want to do highly detailed, intricate patterns that would be difficult to engrave. It is often used to cut materials like glass, crystal, and stone, making it a good choice for adding patterns to vases, bottles, decorative pieces, and barware.

Types of Engraving

Regardless if it’s a gift for somebody else or a way to personalize something of your own, an engraved gift is a wonderful way to add a personal, creative touch.

Whether you are looking for the charm of an inscription done by hand or the precision of a pattern by laser, one of these types of engraving will be what you are looking for.

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