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Vue de l'Atelier de gravure : graveurs au travail sur leurs établis - © Monnaie de Paris | Jean-Marc Martin
Travail du modelage en pâte à modeler industrielle - © Monnaie de Paris | Jean-Marc Martin
Travail du plâtre de la médaille Idéfix à l'atelier de gravure - © Monnaie de Paris | Jean-Marc Martin
Vérification en volume avec de la pâte à modeler de la gravure en creux d'un coin - © Monnaie de Paris | Jean-Marc Martin

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.

Gravure : taille directe d'une coin monétaire La Semeuse avec plâtre et dessin - © Monnaie de Paris | Jean-Marc Martin
Gravure avec le tour à réduire dans les années 50 encore utilisée de nos jours - © Monnaie de Paris

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.

Le polisseur crée les couleurs sur le coin d'une monnaie de collection - © Monnaie de Paris | Jean-Marc Martin

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.

Enfonçage du poinçon de garantie sur un bijoux argent - © Monnaie de Paris | Jean-Marc Martin

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.