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Florentine Engraving: Renaissance Style for a Modern World

Florentine Engraving: Renaissance Style for a Modern World

In the 15th Century, one of the most enduring styles of European jewelry was born among the artisan jewelers in Florence, Italy. Traditional Florentine engraving, in the Renaissance style, has been preserved through the work of talented goldsmiths in Florence who have passed the technique down through the generations.

The masters of the traditional Florentine engraving technique utilize several shapes and sizes of gravers. These are deceptively simple tools: each consists of a metal cutting end attached to a wooden handle. Each tool cuts at a different depth and a different angle. These tools have not been modernized in the 600 or so years that this technique has been practiced, so this is an authentically old world approach to jewelry making.

The gravers are applied over the surface of the gold one at a time in specific sequences. The finely engraved lines cumulatively build up the "fabric" finish for which this style of jewelry is famous.

The idea of capturing the look of raw silk and lace in metal and gemstones is one that has endured; the style is as relevant today as it was six hundred years ago. Whether it is used as an elegant framework for gorgeous gems, or the technique itself is the design focus in a piece of jewelry, I am always inspired by the history behind this style!