Engraving

Engraving is is the art of inscribing forms of design, decoration, symbols and lettering into a hard surface by hand.

The engraver begins the process by drawing or stenciling the design onto the object. The design is then traced, lightly etching it using a point tool. A variety of hand gravers or burins are then used to properly engrave the traced design. The graver, or burin, is a steel stemmed or bladed cutting tool that can come in a variety of differently shaped cutting tips. They usually had a mushroom shaped or knobbed handle that sat comfortably in the palm of the hand to aid hand-propelling.

Varying sizes of sand filled leather pads were used as a working surface so as to keep the object stable whilst being carefully maneuvered during the engraving process.

‘Bright Cut’ engraving was a process by which a polished graver was used to make polished incisions, creating a highly reflective engraved surface. This ‘Bright Cut’ engraving was often used on the silver bottle and jar tops belonging to dressing cases and vanity boxes.

Engraving always been considered as a very skilled art form and it took true artistry and painstaking time and precision to achieve the sort of levels of perfection seen on these boxes. Interestingly, this process of hand engraving, along with the use of the same types of tools, remains unchanged to this day.

Set of Hand Graver Tools.

Set of Hand Graver Tools.

Antique Silver Gilt/ Gold Vanity Jars with 'Bright Cut' Engraving by Asprey.

Antique Silver Gilt/ Gold Vanity Jars with ‘Bright Cut’ Engraving by Asprey.

Antique Dressing Case in Calamander with Silver-Gilt / Gold Fittings by Asprey.

Antique Dressing Case in Calamander with Silver-Gilt / Gold Fittings by Asprey.

Engraved Brass Interior Rims from an Antique Jewellery Box with Betjemann Patent 'Automatic' Mechanism by Howell, James & Co.

Engraved Brass Interior Rims from an Antique Jewellery Box with Betjemann Patent ‘Automatic’ Mechanism by Howell, James & Co.

Antique Jewellery Box in Coromandel with Betjemann Patent 'Automatic' Mechanism by Howell, James & Co.

Antique Jewellery Box in Coromandel with Betjemann Patent ‘Automatic’ Mechanism by Howell, James & Co.

Brass Lock Plate and Internal Facing Engraved with a Floral and Scrollwork Design, from an Antique Jewellery Box in Coromandel with Engraved Brass Inlay.

Brass Lock Plate and Internal Facing Engraved with a Floral and Scrollwork Design, from an Antique Jewellery Box in Coromandel with Engraved Brass Inlay.

Magnificent Antique Jewellery Box in Coromandel with Engraved Brass Inlay and Concealed Drawer.

Magnificent Antique Jewellery Box in Coromandel with Engraved Brass Inlay and Concealed Drawer.

Engraved Gilt Brass Mirror Frame from Coromandel Dome-Top Antique Jewelry Box.

Engraved Gilt Brass Mirror Frame from Coromandel Dome-Top Antique Jewelry Box.

Coromandel Dome Top Antique Jewellery Box.

Coromandel Dome Top Antique Jewellery Box.

Sculpted and Engraved Brass Handle from an Antique Jewellery Box in Figured Walnut.

Sculpted and Engraved Brass Handle from an Antique Jewellery Box in Figured Walnut.

Walnut Antique Jewellery Box with Drop Front and Concealed Drawers.

Walnut Antique Jewellery Box with Drop Front and Concealed Drawers.

Neoclassical Style Engraved Brass Side Handle taken from an Antique Jewellery Box by Charles Asprey & Son.

Neoclassical Style Engraved Brass Side Handle taken from an Antique Jewellery Box by Charles Asprey & Son.

Asprey ‘Exhibition’ Piece - Antique Jewellery Box in Coromandel with Brass Inlay and Secret Compartments.

Asprey ‘Exhibition’ Piece – Antique Jewellery Box in Coromandel with Brass Inlay and Secret Compartments.

Antique Dressing Case in Coromandel by Jenner & Knewstub and James Vickery.

Antique Dressing Case in Coromandel by Jenner & Knewstub and James Vickery.

Antique Dressing Case in Coromandel by Jenner & Knewstub and James Vickery.

Antique Dressing Case in Coromandel by Jenner & Knewstub and James Vickery.

Engraved Silver-Gilt Beaker from an Antique Dressing Case by Asprey & Sons.

Engraved Silver-Gilt Beaker from an Antique Dressing Case by Asprey & Sons.