Where Do Engraved Awards Come From?

Corporate gifts have been a significant part of work culture for decades. A small token of appreciation speaks volumes as it instills loyalty and motivation. Several companies have employee reward programs that put an emphasis on meeting top sales deadlines, exceeding quarterly expectations, and taking initiative. And at the end of these reward programs are the eponymous rewards, which cater to the validation of workers. Receiving a corporate gift from your boss is always a great feeling but what makes it feel better? Knowing that they took the time to engrave the gift with your name and a special message to commemorate your special milestone.

But where does engraving come from? Has it always been associated with the art of gifting? You’ll be surprised to find out that engraving started off as a form of storytelling.

Our Ancient Ancestors Used to Engrave Stone Walls

Engraving has a special, storied history and is one of the oldest forms of printmaking. The word as we know its stems from the Latin term “incidere,” which means for one to “cut into.” Humans have been engraving since the dawn of time. Just think back to the cave paintings from the Stone Age that we studied in high school. Of course, these designs weren’t as intricate as the ones we see on our employee awards and gifts. Nevertheless, they had an aesthetical flair and were used to tell stories and detail adventures.

Some of the earliest engraved designs we know of are from South Africa, though later drawings made from metal tools were found in China. As time passed, the artists from China expanded upon their work. The Chinese primarily engraved on copper, creating fascinating decorative designs, which could be seen on armors and weapons. Chinese culture has had a rich history with engraving on Jade, a tradition that has crossed oceans and become a staple in corporate gift giving. Those looking for employee award ideas today are implored to consider Jade Acrylic awards for a modern take on a traditional material.

Engraving Becomes a Staple in Europe

Engraving began to take shape in Europe around the 14th century, though the Spanish began productions on paper as early as the 10th century. Perhaps the country most known for making engraving popular is Germany, where they excelled at adorning metal sheets with designs. This practice would later be found in the Netherlands and Italy. It should be noted that engraving was considered to be a mechanical hobby. It wasn’t until the 17th century that the artform became one that creatives flocked to thanks to etching. Perhaps one of the most popular engravers that laymen know is Rembrandt, who created around 300 etchings in a forty year span in the 1600’s. Woodcut engraving also became quite popular in Europe. As the name suggests, artist would engrave woods to produce beautiful works of art. Engraved blocks of woods could also be used with printing presses.

Modern Corporate Engraving

Today, thanks to advancement in technology, we see creatives using a myriad of techniques to create beautiful works of art. While digital art has become immensely popular, the art of engraving still stands. A technique that was once used to tell stories on caves and detail intricate designs on armors and weapons is now used as a way to form a personal connection. Companies over the world gift their employees and staff engraved trophies and awards which sport the recipient’s name as well as their accomplishments. Engraving doesn’t just end there, as they now touch practical tools like personalized pens and clocks. Consider nameplates, which are engraved to notify distinction. And of course, almost all plaques feature some of engravement to signify a milestone.

Next time you receive a personalised corporate gift, take note of the engraving. This small gesture which makes your gift uniquely distinct has a rich history worth celebrating.