The Etching Process

Diamond Hand Etching Process 


Custom hand etchings are free-hand drawings executed by Gingrich Memorials on staff artist. Etchings are drawings which are made using a diamond tipped tool that permanently engraves the image directly into the polished surface of the granite. This technique is very similar to scrimshaw. Darker granites can only be etched resulting in the high contrast between the dark granite and the almost white etching. Any scene or image can be etched into the granite surface creating an image that will stand the test of time.


When a customer purchases an etching Gingrich Memorials artist draws a scale drawing for approval. This same drawing is then transferred onto the granite using a wax transfer paper. From this transfer the artist has an exact copy of the drawing the customer approved. A wax pencil can also be used to help highlight areas of the transfer.


A dremel engraving tool with a diamond tip is used to etch away the polish of the monument. Once the etching is complete a white highlight is applied to the etching. This simply allows the etching to still be visible when the monument gets wet from either rain or dew. 


Tools that the etcher uses are the dremel with a diamond tip, wax transfer paper, wax pencils, t-squares, triangles and the white highlight.  

Laser Etching Process 

Gingrich Memorials also houses one of the only laser etching machines in Pennsylvania. Images can be lasered from any high quality photograph or drawing. The laser etching machine actually burns the polish from the surface of the granite leaving behind the white image. Completely operated by computers, the laser can achieve almost exact copies of images given the original image is of high quality.


History of Etching

Etching has been a technique used by artists for thousands of years. From ancient Egypt to Europe in the middle ages and up until today, etching has been and still is a specialized technique. 

The image here is of the falcon god Horus from ancient Egypt. He was known as the prince of the gods and the specific patron of the living ruler. This photograph was taken in the Temple of Dendera dedicated to the pharaoh Ptolemy III  in central Egypt. One can see that even through the course of several thousand years the granite has remained relatively perfect. The etched part of the granite has still retained its original "white" appearance. This image contains both carving and etching. The feathers have been etched into the surface and the face has been lightly carved to show depth. 

Below are a links to sites with information regarding the history of etching.

Etching in Europe

History of Scrimshaw 
(Scrimshaw is very similar to etching today. This site link gives great information about scrimshaw.)

Etched Monuments
Etchings are a unique way to personalize a monument. Etching prices are based on the size of the etching. Scene etchings are based on the size of the monument and spot etchings are based on the dimensions of the image. 
Below are all etchings from our staff artist.

etangelephrata.jpg (49015 bytes)  ET-gethsemaneteardrop.jpg (66376 bytes)  ET2adams-wise-farm.jpg (85129 bytes)  ET-newzangariforetchingpage.jpg (52126 bytes) ET2bradley-train-bridge.jpg (72827 bytes)  ET2DCP_2608.jpg (83124 bytes)  ET2jumping-fish-scene.jpg (71433 bytes)  ET2covered-bridge-coral-red.jpg (86346 bytes)  ET2deer-silhoutte.jpg (63401 bytes)  ET2footsteps-beach.jpg (77339 bytes)  ET2Haldy-lighthouse-dogs.jpg (71904 bytes)  ET2IMGP0149.jpg (78392 bytes)  ET2IMGP0159-copy.jpg (71451 bytes)  ET2beach-w-shells-in-front.jpg (68247 bytes)   ET2IMG_3023.jpg (69023 bytes)  ET2IMG_3313.jpg (91990 bytes)
ETthegoodshepherd.jpg (43002 bytes)  ETIMGP0637.jpg (39173 bytes)  ET-234dove-and-hands.jpg (59018 bytes)  ETdaffodilsIMGP0209.jpg (31307 bytes)  ET-cardinalsonbranchesleb1..jpg (52996 bytes)  

Pet etchings
ET22cats-she-loved-her-boys.jpg (71220 bytes)  ET123germanshepherddog.jpg (146970 bytes)  ET2IMGP0155-copy.jpg (66637 bytes)  ET2IMGP0152-copy.jpg (61889 bytes)  ET2IMG_3344.jpg (56650 bytes)  ET2IMG_3348.jpg (61032 bytes)
EWgeorge-dog-1.jpg (47559 bytes)  EWgeorge-dog-2.jpg (74222 bytes)