Crystal Engraving

There are a number of different ways to conduct Crystal Engraving, some very good, some good and some not so good!  For a guide to different ways to produce Engraved Crystal, please see the page on Glass Engraving.  The methods are exactly the same.  The best ‘commercial’ method is Sandblast Crystal Engraving but, for more of an art form (animals, birds, calligraphy etc;), Hand Engraved Crystal cannot be beaten.

Hand Engraved Crystal

A good Crystal Engraver can be found on The Glass Engraver Directory Page.  Engraved Crystal looks simply beautiful when a Crystal Engraver has completed their work – and it is entitled to, when one considers the amount of time and effort entailed

A Crystal Engraver is often referred to as a Glass Engraver.  However, due to the work involved, the Engraver prefers Crystal, rather than Glass, as their ‘blank canvas’ for engraving.  This is simply because Crystal is far softer than Glass.  The lead oxide content in Crystal-Glass, and particularly in Lead Crystal, makes the material ‘softer’, so that when a Crystal Engraver uses their specialist tools to engrave, cutting into the material is like the difference between cutting butter straight from the fridge and butter that has stood in the warm for half an hour.

The Crystal Engraver utilises tools similar to those used by Dentists.  A motorised drill, into which diamond burrs are inserted.  The diamond burr cuts into the crystal, in the shape of the burr.


 Photograph of and prize Sheep, for engraving into Crystal.

I want This engraved

There are needlepoint burrs and a variety of diameters of round-headed burrs used, each making its own shape.  The unique ability of the hand engraver is in being able to ‘layer’ their engraving into crystal.  Making not just one-dimensional legs for a horse, but building muscles onto the leg too.

To further enhance the Engraved Crystal, eyes, hooves, teeth and nails can be polished, using burrs made from wood and rubber.  The art of Crystal Engraving is in the mind of the engraver and one does not select a piece of crystal and tell the engraver “I want this – engraved into that”.  The Crystal Engraver would prefer to see what occasion you want to celebrate, discuss text and design, than suggest which shapes of crystal will best suit the engraving.  Definitely a case of Horse and Cart… which, of course, would make a superb hand engraved subject..!


Optical Crystal 'Wedge Circle', hand engraved with people and prize Sheep. 

…. Into That