One of the oldest and most beautiful processes for reproducing images on paper, engraving involves reverse etching an image onto a copper plate. Ink is applied to the plate where the ink gathers in the engraved cavity. Paper is then pressed into engraved areas of the plate, resulting in a raised right-reading image on the front and a slight bruising on the back where pressure was applied.
Engraving is used for all types of events on many forms of stationery. Every piece of engraved stationery is fed into the engraving press by hand. Because there is no mass production in engraving, each impression — be it a note, invitation or card — is a customized one. The most elegant invitations are engraved. Wedding invitations, in particular, are commonly engraved. The finished product has a warmth all its own that conveys an unspoken message of distinction and timelessness. Many people choose to have their business and professional stationery engraved too.
Engraved stationery is more expensive than thermographed or lithographed stationery. However, much of the price difference lies in the initial cost of the engraving plate. Since engraving plates can be used over and over again, subsequent orders of engraved stationery will cost only a little more than other types of stationery.
It is easy to tell whether a piece of stationery has been engraved. Simply turn it over. If there is an indentation (caused by the pressure from the engraving press), it is engraved. You can also tell by looking closely at the impression on the front. The paper will be smoother and there may be a little ripple to the sheet.