There is one thing that is for sure in American culture. People love to be rewarded. People also love to get dressed up and take pictures. What better excuse to do this than to hold an awards ceremony in their respective career fields. The most evident form of this is in the entertainment industry, from the Oscars to the Golden Globes to the Grammy, there is an almost countless amount of awarding going on in the national media. This culture of awarding has filtered down to the less publicized industries, from real estate to education. There are also countless options for the type of awards to give in these situations. Crystal trophies or plaques are among the most popular awards. Of course these awards are not complete until they are personalized. Usually done by engraving, personalization of awards brings it to the next level, from knick knack to keepsake. And so this article turns to the subject of engraving, so very important in awards culture.
Engraving is essentially an advanced form of printing. It is the ideal form of imprinting on crystal awards. Printing has come along way from the first porcelain movable type system made in China around 1040 A.D. From there it evolved to metal movable type in Korea, and onto the most popular genesis of printing, the Gutenberg press out of Germany. It was with the Gutenberg press that printing exploded onto the European scene in the 1400’s. Arguably the most important and influential invention of all time, the printing press made it possible for knowledge to be widespread and accessible. Gutenberg was actually first a goldsmith, working with precious metals and was also involved in gem-cutting. Little did he know his invention would one day lead to the engraving of diamond shaped paperweights, rectangular nameplates, crystal trophies and other crystal awards!
The core of engraving, or etching, begins with what is conventionally called an intaglio print. This uses a metal plate which features lines drawn onto its surface. The lines trap ink when the ink is rolled across the surface. The surface is then wiped clean, however the ink is retained in the lines. Then a damp cloth or paper is placed over the plate, and this is all run through a press. Etching uses acids instead of ink to print directly on the plate. On the other hand, engraving uses sharp tools to draw directly on the metal plate. Sand blasting, the technique used by companies like CrystalPlus.com, is a form of etching that uses aluminum oxide or silicon carbide to essentially carve the imprint onto our crystal awards. These substances are known for their abrasiveness and high thermal conductivity, making them ideal for use in high quality sandblasting. Laser engraving is another form of engraving that has been perfected in recent years. Like its name implies, this technique uses a laser to etch the imprint, and a computer system is required to control the movements of the laser. It can be very intricate and expensive however the results are often fabulous.
When it comes down to it, engraving as a whole has been quite beneficial to American culture. Because as we all know, people like to be awarded, they like to dress up, and they also like to see their own name in lights, or in this case, on an award.