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Hand-engraving or “intaglio engraving”

Category

Articles

Publication date

20/01/2021

Hand-engraving is a very old technique of “intaglio engraving” which appeared in the 16th century, and was first used in the 18th century with the appearance of the first machines adapted to reach its peak in the 19th century.

Engraving is the production of an engraving made up of straight lines and curves on quality materials: gold, silver, bronze, etc.

The difficulty is to properly align a multitude of sharp and precise lines in an aesthetic and regular manner.

Alain Lovenberg - Metal Engraver
Alain Lovenberg – Metal Engraver

The technique seems simple but requires not only great concentration, a precise gesture, a regularity in the movement of the chisel but above all a creative character on the part of the person using it.

The chisel is fixed on a shaft driven by a crank; the guillocheur himself operates the machine with one hand and turns the crank with the other, which pushes the carriage supporting the chisel towards the material where the chisel comes into contact with it.

There are two types of guillochage, hand guillochage and machine guillochage.

Be bernies van ormelingen bernard bijou guilloche main or 18 k
Image – Bernard Bernies van Ormelingen
Bijou guilloche main or 18 k

The fundamental difference between hand and machine guillochage is that in the first case, only the hand of the guilloche craftsman exerts pressure on the chisel and in the other case it is a spring.

Hand guilloche work requires time, patience on the part of the craftsman, pauses and restarts that will produce work marked by the use of “human” time devoted to the final production, while the machine set by the human will always produce the same work, the same depth, the same line in the same place.

Be bernies van ormelingen bernard cadrans guilloches main sur argent et laiton
Image – Bernard Bernies van Ormelingen
Cadrans guilloches main sur argent et laiton

Texte written by Laurence Bourtembourg – Bernies sc

See profiles of metal hand engravers :

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