A creative process and 3D rendering that catches the light
In addition to their technical training, engravers must become expert graphic artists. Using industrial oil-based modelling clay and working from a design executed freehand or with CAD software, they skilfully fashion a low relief model in order to enhance the engraving and the way it catches the light. They work alternately with concave and convex plaster moulds until satisfied they have achieved the best 3D rendering of the design.
Cutting-edge techniques applied to ancestral skills
Engravers make their own tools to practise the direct cutting techniques handed down by previous generations of artisans. They have expert knowledge of both traditional mechanical methods and digital technologies (reduction, electron discharge machining, milling machines and lasers). They select these complementary processes to meet the requirements of the project and make manual adjustments at each stage to ensure the quality and finesse of the motif.
Transforming a block of steel into a striking tool
Highly resistant alloy cylinders are engraved, then machined in the Tooling Workshop. The turner centres and straightens the engraving, preparing the notches so that the tool fits the chosen press. Depending on the finish, the polisher creates the colours: mirror-polished and/or abrasion-effect. Finally, the die is stamped with mint marks by the engraver and a surface treatment is applied, ensuring rigidity and protecting the engraving.
And the hallmark? We make that too!
The Engraving and Tooling Workshops are also responsible for producing and engraving:
- punches guaranteeing the coin's standard of fineness (hallmarks for gold, silver, etc) or identifying the master craftsman, the industry or the engraver (mint marks in particular);
- official stamps and seals.
To produce these, the engraver and the "hubber" work in close partnership.