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Giving a cheer to the Oscars’ engravers

A couple of weeks ago, ITV got in touch with us here at Engravers Guild, asking if they could interview the member of our team who engraves the Oscars.

We’re not sure where they got the information from that we were responsible for engraving the Academy Awards.

However, alas, they were incorrect.

Although we would consider our engraving skills amongst the best, we unfortunately do not have the contract each year to travel to Hollywood and present the world’s glitterati with their crowning achievements.

But that is not to say that we don’t appreciate the work that goes in by the engravers on the night.

It can be very difficult to achieve the most precise and perfect impression. One wrong move, and you have consigned the item to the engraver’s waste bin.

If you add your clients to the picture, then there is further pressure still.

But then throw a few global megastars into the mix, along with international media recording your every move… and you have a veritable perfect storm of pressure.

So while news titles, social media and broadcast organisations all focus on the actors, actresses and producers, we want to give a shout-out to the men and women who record in time immemorial who were the winners from the big night.

This year, all seemed to go smoothly (from an engraving point of view). Many times before on this blog we have covered how awards have been engraved with wrong spellings, wrong titles, and even completely wrong names.

It’s an easy mistake to make, and we would be lying if we claimed never to have made a error when engraving.

So there is all the more reason to recognise those dedicated practitioners.

That being said… should the organisers of the Oscars ever feel that the prowess of their engravers is not up to scratch, then we’re alert and ready and waiting in the wings for the call-up.

The offer is always there x

Kate goes for engraved gold necklace

kate middleton wearing personalised necklace

At Engravers Guild, we are no different to the rest of the world in following the Royals.

The Royal family has been one of the biggest influences on trends and fashion throughout the centuries. And, despite a new array of media stars to compete with, they are just as notable now in popularising new styles.

So we’re always interested to see what pieces are favoured by those in the House of Windsor.

This week, we took notice as the Duchess of Cambridge was spotted out and about with a new necklace.

Made in gold, it was of particular interest as it was engraved with some special initials.

On the front of the necklace had been engraved “G”, “L” and “C” – the first initial of each of her three children, George, Louis and Charlotte.

The necklace also featured a trio of glittering stones to represent three stars.

It is not the first time that Kate Middleton has been photographed wearing a personalised necklace.

Having just given birth, she was gifted a necklace by her sister with the name of the child inscribed into the pendent.

And this follows a long history of kings, queens, princes and princesses sporting accessories which have been engraved to bring a personal touch.

At Engravers Guild, we are proud to follow this tradition and offer a beautiful collection of personalised necklaces and engraved gifts.

Just recently we launched our engraved necklace collection. The range has been designed around simple forms, allowing the inscription to be centre stage.

The pendents are also embellished with birthstones and a series of gold, silver and rose gold discs.

With options to either engrave a message in straight lines or to curve a name around the outside, you are able to personalise the necklaces perfectly for the occasion.

So gift like a prince, give like a queen and choose something that’ll be remembered for many years to come.

Bringing a little colour to an engraving

At Engravers Guild of London, we always go to great length to impress on the ‘purity’ of a diamond-cut engraving.

By this, we mean that an engraving is purely an impression cut into the surface of metal, whether that be a personalised hip flask, engraved pocket watch or custom cufflinks.

There is no burnishing (as there would be with laser engraving) and there is no colour (as there would be with UV printing).

We believe that a clean diamond-cut engraving achieves the best result, and also looks the most visually pleasing.

However, even we at Engravers Guild have to acknowledge when a coloured engraving really hits the mark.

And there is nothing that showcases it better than a new watch we saw this week.

Vacheron Constantin, the famous Swiss watchmaker, earlier unveiled its new 2019 Les Cabinotiers collection ‘La Musique du Temps’.

The range features eight unique models which are all touted as “one of a kind”.

And the way that the brand has made them individual is through… engraving.

This engraving, though, is a little bit special.

Four of the watches depict the four seasons, with carp swimming across the four different dials in scenes associated with spring, summer, autumn and winter.

The engraving for each watch took no less than 60 hours.

But then further detail was added, with glorious seasonal technicolour enamelled on top of the relief designs.

The result is mesmerising. The final watches are works of art, destined for museums and exhibitions around the world.

As a London-based company, we also approve of the nods to our capital city in the watch.

At each hour the watches chime. The sound was recorded at Abbey Road Studios and pays homage to the rich audio history of Northern London.

While we do not offer engravings which are enamelled with colour, we can offer a little bit of London all wrapped up in a little black box and tied with crisp white bow.

An “Engraved Tablet”, but it’s not what you think

engraved tablet medicine

At Engravers Guild, we always say that an engraving can mean a lot.

And we can think of few engravings that mean more than this one…

Just read the following words that were engraved:

I can’t configure / A tablet / Chiselled by God’s finger / Or forge / A scrawled prescription / But here’s an inscription formed / On the small white dot / Of its own / Full stop, / The sugared pill / Of a poem, one sentence / That speaks ill / Of illness itself, bullet / With cancer’s name / Carved brazenly on it.

It is a poem indeed, and a beautiful one certainly.

But it takes on new depths of meaning when learning what it was engraved on.

The whole poem was engraved on a pill; to be precise, a 2cm x 1cm chemotherapy pill.

The micro engraving was commissioned by the Institute of Cancer Research in London, intended to symbolise the end of cancer being considered an unmanageable disease.

Hence the poem is titled, “Finishing It”.

The entire work has a beautiful symmetry.

Just as scientists around the world pore over microscopes as they create new treatments, so the engraver had to work through a microscope to create the inscription.

The engraver is no stranger to followers of the Engravers Guild journal, and is none other than Graham Short.

Credited with crafting some of the world’s smallest engravings, the precision required when working at that scale is such that he works with a stethoscope to make sure he only applies pressure between heartbeats.

This piece was a collaboration with Simon Armitage, the new Poet Laureate.

The nation’s wordsmith was following in the footsteps of many literary greats, who had established a strong tradition of having their works engraved.

William Blake famously made etchings and engraved printing plates of his poems, and this project has pushed the boundaries of poetry and engraving to new heights.

Should you like to see the work, the engraved pill will be on display at the Centre of Cancer Drug Discovery when it opens in 2020.

…just remember to take your microscope if you want to see it!

An engraved gift for Meghan’s birthday

meghan markle engraved gift

Engravers Guild of London would like to wish the Duchess of Sussex a very special birthday!

Today Meghan Markle celebrates her 38th birthday, and her first as a mother since giving birth to Archie earlier this year.

Though the Royal couple will have been giving all their attention to the latest member of their family for the last few months, Harry will have had to find some extra time to think on what special gift to give his wife.

As a prince, the Duke of Sussex could no doubt gift anything in the world he wanted.

Followers of this blog will have read previous article where we look at some of the wonderful and coveted items that members of the Royal family have gifted each other over the centuries.

A common theme is to gift something that is… personalised.

Although Royals have the means to give the best gifts that money can buy, often there is nothing better in the world than something that is made special by a personal message engraved on it.

And indeed, this year Harry is thought to have opted for the sentimental option and gifted a real winner.

It is reported that Harry has given Meghan a black and white picture of their son, Archie, in a silver frame from Asprey.

To give it the extra special touch, there is rumoured to be an engraving on the frame to mark the special year for the family.

No doubt it will take pride of place in their new home, and be a keepsake for very many years to come.

In fact, this is not the first time that the Prince has gifted his wife an engraved present.

Throughout their relationship, Harry has often gone above and beyond in creating something truly unique.

After the birth of their son, Meghan was spotted wearing a necklace with the letter ‘A’ engraved onto it.

And shortly after the couple first made an appearance in public, the future Duchess was seen wearing a bracelet with the initials ‘M’ and ‘H’ intertwined.

While not all of us have the means of royalty, we can all gift like a prince or princess.

Here at Engravers Guild, we pride ourselves on offering beautiful engraved gifts, and invite you to browse our personalised bracelet collection.

Engraved Rolex found after 20 years at sea

engraved rolex submariner

Followers of this blog will no doubt have read about what value we believe an engraving has.

An engraving tells a story all in itself, it makes the item unique and it transforms a replicable object into something truly special.

However, for this blog post – and this post only – we’re going to highlight the most obvious advantage of engraving a simple name… it identifies the owner.

Indeed, an engraving is like a super name-badge.

Just as every school child turns up on their first day with their name-tape stitched onto the inside of their jumper, so people through history have branded with their name what is owned in their possession.

Much of the time, this is for vanity’s sake.

But to lay claim to your property and possessions speaks to a deeper human instinct about protecting what you have worked to accrue.

And sometimes this proves to be a very wise action, as recently events have shown.

It was reported this week in the Telegraph that the distinguished British sailor, Philip McColl, could be reunited with a £10,000 Rolex that was thought to have been lost overboard 20 years ago.

Mr McColl was then a yacht engineer in the employ of Raul Gardini, an Italian billionaire and competitor in the America’s Cup.

Having won the San Francisco Cup in 1988, the Rolex was gifted in recognition of the achievement.

However, ten years later when boating near the British coast, the engraved gift went missing and was assumed to have gone overboard.

Later feeling that the timepiece may have been stolen, though, Philip McColl reported the item as missing to the Falmouth and Cornwall police.

For 20 years, that seemed to be the end of the matter.

But in 2018, the sailor received a call from an auction house in Geneva saying that they had come in to possession of a Rolex watch with his name engraved on the back.

You might think at this point that the story ends here with a happy conclusion… but come back in a week to read of how it continued.

Sue Barker’s French Open trophy to be engraved again

sue barker playing tennis

It’s summer (or, at least it’s nominally summer in parts of Britain, despite the weather)!

And come the sun, means come the competitions.

Over the summer runs a marathon of sporting events, from the women’s football to the cricketing world cup.

With such glory ready for the taking, there are trophies aplenty to be engraved.

However, the summer awards season has kicked off on a rather unexpected note.

Upon winning the ladies’ French Open title at Roland Garros last week, Ashleigh Barty was quick to inspect her predecessors on the presentation trophy.

As an Australian, she reviewed back to see when was the last time a fellow Aussie lifted the cup… and was surprised at what she found.

Under 1976, our very own Sue Barker was duly credited as the winner, but was misappropriated to the nation down-under.

Back then, Sue was an up and coming tennis champ at the tender age of 20, and went on to notch appearances in both the Australian Open and Wimbledon the following year.

However, despite becoming a national treasure on our island state, her most notable achievement has been credited to a foreign power… something which most definitely should be corrected.

At Engravers Guild, we often say that the beauty of an engraved gift is that the engraving lasts forever.

As such, someone now has a very tough job of polishing out an impression that was designed to last for time immemorial.

Our engravers here certainly sympathise with the conundrum, as there are few ways back from salvaging a mistaken engraving.

But, with the pride of the nation at stake with a few engraved letters denoting the nationality, we’re sure that solutions are indeed possible.

From recasting erroneous old engravings, though, we wish all British athletes the very best of luck this sporting season, and hopefully there are more GBR initials soon to be engraved on more trophies in the coming weeks.

Top 5 Engraved Gifts for Father’s Day

At Engravers Guild, we understand how important it is to say thank you to the ones you love.

And, with Father’s Day this weekend, we’re busy creating beautiful engraved gifts for just that.

As Antoine Prevost, the acclaimed eighteenth century French novelist, said:

“The heart of a father is the masterpiece of nature.”

So for those still not sure on how best to show their appreciation for their father’s love, we’ve compiled our Top 5 Engraved Gifts for Dad.

Personalised Pocket Watch

There is no better way to commemorate a special day than with the gift of a timepiece. While not an accessory for common use, the best gifts are ones which win a marathon, not a sprint. Engrave it with the date and have it as a reminder of your affection for many years to come.

Personalised Cufflinks

Engraved cufflinks should be a staple of any man’s wardrobe and are a beautifully discreet detail to any smart shirt or suit. A simple set of initials on the cufflinks are most popular, but perhaps add a special name as well for a more personal touch.

Personalised Hip Flask

There are times in life which always go better with a little tipple. Our engraved hip flask collection has something for every occasion, with premium pewter hip flasks made in England to a standard six ounce stainless steel hip flask. Presented in a beautiful gift box, they make a perfect gift to mark Father’s Day.

Personalised Money Clip

Being a Dad is an expensive occupation, so why not help him keep his financial affairs in order with a personalised money clip. Choose from either stainless steel or solid silver and add a custom message to ensure he always thinks of you when standing at the cashpoint.

Personalised Lighter

You’re probably already the light of his life, so make that point again with a stunning engraved lighter. A personalised Zippo lighter has a lifetime guarantee, making sure you will never be far from his mind for all his days to come.

“The Godfather” of engraved gifts

marlon brando engraved watch

A Rolex.

And an engraving.

What costs more?

Followers of this blog will note that we have made the case many times before that the typical value of an engraved gift lies not in the movement, the springs, cogs, wheels or bracelet of the watch… but in a few letters engraved on the back.

Paul Newman’s watch (which set a record at auction for the most expensive Rolex ever sold), Elvis’ watch, J. F. Kennedy’s watch and many more besides have all been hotly coveted at auction because they bear an engraving which hints at the history of the item.

And so again we’re proud to further make our point today.

Currently listed in the Beverley Hills based GWS Auction House is a Rolex watch engraved on the back with:

“Vito’s / MB”

The “Vito” is reference to a famous film character, and the “MB” notes the initials of the actor who played the part: Marlon Brando.

It was reportedly gifted to the Hollywood icon in 1973 when he won the Academy Award for Best Actor with the part.

Though he notoriously declined to receive the recognition, some acquaintance still bought the watch as a memento of the achievement.

However, the significance of it may not have meant a lot to the legend of the silver screen.

In 1976 he apparently gave the watch away to his friend, Patricia Norris, who was the costume designer on “The Godfather”.

The current owner has a letter from the Norris family confirming that it was bought from them – but, beyond that, there is little further evidence of authenticity.

Nevertheless, despite the question marks, the mere suggestion of the provenance still commands a lofty price guide… $20,000.

At Engravers Guild of London, we’re proud to offer a selection of beautiful personalised pocket watches.

We consider our top of the range models an investment. But, it is the engraving you choose that brings the real worth to an engraved pocket watch.

Engraved in film history

engraved light sabre

In homage to a forthcoming international day of celebration, this week we wanted to write about… Star Wars.

Indeed, in a few days’ time is international Star Wars Day. On 4th May.

May the 4th be with you.

Apparently the occasion properly caught traction with the advent of social media, when fans across the world tweeted the hashtag to millions of the Twitteratti.

However, the phrase, in fact, has earlier origins.

The play on words “May the 4th be with you” was actually first used in 1979, the first day that Margaret Thatcher took office as Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

It was run as an advert in the London Evening News, dedicated to Margaret Thatcher from her Conservative Party to wish her luck at the beginning of her premiership.

Since then, though, it has been adopted by the Star Wars franchise, with Disney even running special events at its theme parks.

But, as ever, the real reason we’re writing about Star Wars on the Engravers Guild blog is so that we can talk about… special engraved gifts.

There is perhaps no more iconic an item for Star Wars fans than the light sabre.

Every light sabre that has been used in the films has become one of the most coveted piece of film memorabilia in the history of cinema.

But one particular light sabre perhaps is better than all the rest.

When Samuel L Jackson took part as a Jedi in one of the instalments, the crew did something a little special for his light sabre.

Just above the grip of the handle of the weapon, the crew had engraved the characters: “BMF”.

As the Hollywood actor revealed on the Graham Norton Show, this was in reference to one of his most famous lines from Pulp Fiction: “Bad Mother F****r”.

And that is the beauty of an engraving. Where the initials B M F mean nothing on their own, it’s the story behind them which gives life and brings value.

So on this May 4th, choose from any of our engraved gifts such as personalised pocket watches and create your own piece of memorabilia.