Roll Die Engraving is a process generally used to etch decorations into ornamental objects. It is often used by jewelers who employ it to decorate precious metals such as platinum, gold, and silver as well as less valuable metals and glass. It may also be employed to create a template used to stamp out copies such as etchings onto paper. Photographic copies have largely replaced this method of duplication in much print work such as magazines that formerly made use of this procedure since those means are so much simpler. In artwork though where fine detail is at a premium this exacting method for reproduction may still be employed. Roll Die Engraving work however now is more commonly used in decorative art.
Roll Die Engraving dates back to the Middle Ages where it was first used to stamp patterns into body armor. The purpose was both to add decoration as well as to identify members of a group who would all be wearing similar designs. The notion of transferring these patterns onto paper is said to have arisen after knights fell from horseback onto soft soil. After it was noticed that the patterns from their armor were imprinted on the ground, the notion arose that something similar could be used in print making. Once the technique was refined, it became common to use copper or zinc to make copies from because of the ease with which these metals could be worked as well as for the relative low cost of these materials.
Roll Die Engraving Companies can mass produce objects with identical patterns through a stamping process once the die is cast. This work is made more difficult by the fact that the die must be in effect a negative image of the finished product desired. This type of process is employed globally wherever the need exists to create duplicate decorative patterns.