Decoding Jeweler's Saws and Blades

The art of jewelry engraving involves the skillful cutting or carving of metal to add texture, embellish surfaces, or inscribe letters, texts, or designs. Diverse engraving methods exist, such as computerized engraving, laser engraving, and the traditional hand engraving technique. Hand engraving finds extensive use not only in jewelry but also in adorning guns, knives, musical instruments, and awards. This meticulous craft relies on tiny, sharp, and precise chisels known as gravers. Among the essential tools utilized in mastering hand engraving, gravers stand out as perhaps the most crucial. This informative piece explores the various types of jewelry gravers and the accompanying graver handles embraced in jewelry engraving. 

Exploring the Role of Gravers in the Art of Hand Engraving Jewelry

A graver is a specialized tool designed for engraving metal and plays a crucial role in the intricate process of hand engraving jewelry. Functioning like miniature chisels, gravers come in diverse point shapes, crafted from various grades of steel. The jeweler can manipulate the graver in multiple ways: it can be pushed using the palm of the hand, struck with a chasing hammer, or utilized with a pneumatic device that employs short, forceful bursts of air to propel the tool forward. During the jewelry engraving process, the jeweler skillfully positions the graver against the metal at a specific angle, applying both downward and forward pressure. As the graver moves along the metal, it cuts into it, creating small curls of metal. This technique demands experience and a deft touch.

The different shapes of graver points result in various engraving marks. Common graver shapes include bevel, line, flat, knife, onglette, and round. Before use, gravers may require modifications, mounting, and sharpening. Traditional gravers often come in excessive length and need to be shortened for enhanced comfort and efficiency, whereas quick-change gravers are pre-shortened and ready for mounting. The gravers are then placed into handles, ensuring comfort and precise control during the engraving process. By employing these well-crafted gravers with skill and finesse, jewelers can create intricate and awe-inspiring designs on metal surfaces, adding beauty and value to their jewelry creations.

Understanding the Various Graver Shapes and Their Applications

Line gravers come in both straight and bent forms, featuring a cutting surface with evenly spaced parallel lines. The number of lines on the face of the graver varies, and the width between these lines is determined by the graver's size number. Such gravers find common use in Florentine finishes, lettering, shading, and creating textures. Bent line gravers are particularly helpful for reaching difficult areas.

Bevel gravers have a V-shaped angle cutting edge and are best suited for block lettering, deep cuts, and bright cuts. They can also be employed for removing backgrounds and undercutting for gold or silver inlays.

Flat gravers resemble flat chisels and are widely recognized as one of the most versatile graver shapes for hand engravers. They are utilized for bright cuts, removing backgrounds, texturing, script lettering, flare cutting, and decorative borders.

Knife gravers bear resemblance to knife blades, featuring straight sides that taper to a sharp point. They excel in fine-line engraving and making deep, narrow cuts. While they are ideal for removing excess material around stone settings, controlling them during curved cuts can be challenging. Knife gravers possess the ability to create deep yet thin lines, often used for undercutting inlays and adding precise details to design elements crafted with other tools.

Point gravers, boast a fine point with slightly curved sides. These versatile tools find applications in stone setting, line engraving, scrolls, lettering, shading, inlay work, and borders. Onglette gravers are particularly adept at creating smooth curves and fine lines that can vary in width within a single stroke when the tool is rolled onto its side.

Round gravers feature a tapered point with straight sides and a rounded tip, making them easy to control. They are recommended for working on uneven surfaces and commonly employed for background removal, bead raising for stone setting, block lettering, and line engraving smooth curves.

Beyond these well-known graver shapes, some specialty gravers cater to specific purposes, especially when traditional gravers are unable to access tight areas or the insides of rings and other small curved surfaces. Such specialty gravers include the serpentine ring graver, curved ring graver, and two-curve ring graver. Additionally, blank gravers can be customized to fit precise shapes and cuts required for unique engraving tasks.

Graver Shapes and Their Uses

Exploring the Various Graver Handle Options

When it comes to graver handles, there are several styles available, allowing for a personalized choice based on individual preferences. Graver handles are commonly found in round-head, half-head, pear, and mushroom head shapes, with most being crafted from wood.

Round-head graver handles sport a round hardwood design, offering a secure and comfortable grip during engraving.

Half-head graver handles feature a round half-head shape and are available in hardwood or rosewood materials. The unique head shape enables engravers to work closer to the metal and achieve nearly parallel access to the work, resulting in enhanced force transfer into the graver head.

Pear graver handles come with an elongated pear-shaped wood handle, providing a sturdy grip for precise control over the gravers.

Mushroom head graver handles boast a top wood handle shaped like a mushroom, ensuring a secure and easily maneuverable grip. These handles are also available in both hardwood and rosewood variants.

Graver Handle Options