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When choosing the shape of the optical glass/crystal it is important to understand the overall composition of the design being engraved.  Wider designs obviously are best in a landscape orientation but it really isn’t that simple.  The different shapes we select (regardless, of the medium) are chosen on two basic principals:

Dimensions that are appropriate for most designs

Appropriate dimensions are directly related to the proportions of the design,  Think of a model train being placed in a square cube.  It would look pretty lonely in there since the cube has a 1:1:1 ratio and a train would be more like 8:2:1 <ratios?>.  Using that same example you may want some text in there, and there would be plenty of room – but what would you notice first the text or the train?  Using the right proportional ratio for the design allows for a maximum scale of the design to accommodate the size available.

The majority of the dimensions we use are chosen to produce a stature and presence while remain as cost efficient as possible for each size.   The reality of material cost is directly proportional to the volume of glass used, its finishing and market production volume.  This is why we lean towards flatter standing pieces as opposed to cubes for a number of designs – they simply provide more presence at a similar cost of a smaller cube.

Exclusivity through size provides another aspect to consider.  While many people are visually impressed with our 8″, 10″, and larger standing blocks what many fail to appreciate is that these blocks take as much as three months to cool properly.  Couple this with the fact that most manufacturers could make more smaller cubes from that same raw material at a price that more people would generically purchase and you understand why these larger blocks and slabs come at a premium.  However, these larger scale shapes provides more area to engrave which means more detail available when needed.  Which means the letter “I” floating in the middle of an 8″ tall, 24lb block of crystal might be “artful” but really doesn’t leverage the available resolution of detail.

Perception – avoid generic gift store/discount shapes

A number of people have contacted us in the past to ask for a unique and custom design for some special event and THEN ask that it be placed in a generic sized cube (like one they saw at a flea market or discount store).  These shapes also usually have heavy bevels , extremely  ornate (in our opinion – gaudy) and restrict the area we can engrave.

Our role is to advise our clients with the best approach and make suggestions if we believe a design may be less than optimal.  Still, if we were to blindly accept this request and the buyer understood that a custom design cost more than a mass-produced piece  – what would the end result be.  Here is a scenario we envision.

The gift is presented and they open the gift box (is it a ring? – its too heavy)

the cover lifts off and the first thing they see is the overall shape and size of the crystal

they think “I have seen these before” – hmm

they look closer and marvel at the detail

of the Sistine Chapel within the confines of this crystal Faberge-ish

and realize that their name engraved within

They pause and look at you

to say “How thoughtful, you got my name engraved!”

Never mind the Sistine Chapel or the fact that it is custom designed – in their mind, they saw one of these on a cash register at a local gas station, being hawked on eBay or by a street corner vendor.

It would be like putting thousands of dollars into a custom interior and engine in a Honda (oh, they do that!).

The point is the results of creating a custom design shouldn’t be confused with the generic mass produced shapes.