Have you ever seen an engraved garden stone, memorial stone, or address marker rock and wondered, “How did they do that?”
The process of etching words and designs onto such dense and strong objects is actually accomplished through a masterful combination of imagination, art, skill, technology and nature.
Engraved stones etched with lines and triangles found in a South African cave dating back about 77,000 years appear to be among the earliest hand carved engraved stones. Time intensive hand engraving with chisels and hammers actually continued as the primary manner of etching stones even into the 19th century.
Modern technological advances have since helped many stone artisans with their craft, resulting in finely engraved stones that are created with more efficiency. And while hand engraving tools still find a place within the stone artisan’s toolbox, sandblasting has become a more common technique for carving into stones these days.
The first patent for sandblasting equipment is traced back to 1870 when a Benjamin Tilghman is said to have obtained a patent in Britain. However, sandblasting machines seem to have become more widely available and used only after about 1930.
What exactly is a sandblaster? It is like a pressure tool that blasts out sand. It uses compressed air or steam to force sand particles at high speed onto the rock. This wears out the targeted areas on the stone surface that the artisans direct the nozzle towards. As you can imagine, sandblasting equipment has helped stone engravers to greatly reduce their production time, making it an invaluable tool in their trade.
Before the actual engraving work begins, the stone engravers must first select the right stone and work on design and layout issues for each custom job. This includes deciding on or including specified font type and size, designs, and layout of the elements on the stone.
Locating and selecting the right one-of-a-kind stone for engraving with attention to shape, size, and coloring for the current stone engraving project also requires the artistic eye of the engraved stone artisan.
Next, a stencil is prepared and attached to the rock before the engraving process begins. Here again, technology has come to the rescue.
It used to take the stone artisans many more hours than it does now to complete a stone engraving project. But the design and preparation phase is a lot faster now thanks to computers, accurate scanning technology, drawing software, rubber cutting machines, and rubber or vinyl stencil sheets complete with adhesive backings.
Finally, the engraved stone artisans use sandblasting and hand engraving as desired to deeply engrave the desired message or image into the rock. Cleaning the stone and, if requested, painting inside of the engraving, finishes up the engraved stone project.
Throughout the ages, stone and rock etchings have been used as long lasting symbols for meaningful communication and decoration. This tradition continues even today.
Personalized engraved stones and rocks can be carved to include individual names, family names, dates, corporate logos, memorial, or commemorative words and sentiments, designs, single words, or simply your favorite saying.
Ideas for personalization and for uses are only limited by your imagination. Custom engraved stones make great home and garden décor accents as well as unique personalized gifts.
Many people continue to use engraved stones for special and meaningful communication. A recent stone engraving project we completed illustrates how this particular person used the stone for a very important message and also as a symbol of strength and longevity, one that will stand the test of time. The engraved stone simply asked the question: “Will You Marry Me?” A very romantic proposal, wasn’t it?
About the author:
Liz Hekimian-Williams is the owner of Giftsprings.com, an online gift shop featuring gifts, home décor and personalized gifts including custom engraved stones and rocks. To see the various stone sizes, images, and fonts that are available, visit http://www.giftsprings.com/category/estones.
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