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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Guilloché (Guilloche) is an engraving technique in which a very precise intricate repetitive pattern or design is mechanically etched into an underlying material with fine detail. Specifically, it involves a technique of engine turning, called guilloché in French after the French engineer “Guillot”, who invented a machine “that could scratch fine patterns and designs on metallic surfaces”. The machine improved upon the more time-consuming practice of making similar designs by hand, allowing for greater delicacy, precision, and closeness of the line, as well as greater speed.
Another account gives the credit of inventing this method to Hans Schwanhardt (- 1621) and the spreading of it, to his son-in-law Jacob Heppner (1645).
Yet another account is that it derives from the French word for an engraving tool, not the engine turning machine.
Guilloche is a repetitive architectural pattern used in classical Greece and Rome of two ribbons winding around a series of regular central points. These central points are often blank, but may contain a figure, such as a rose. Guilloche is a back-formation from guilloché, so called because the architectural motif resembles the designs produced by Guilloche techniques.
Guilloche describes a narrow instance of guilloche: a design, frequently architectural, using two curved bands that interlace in a pattern around a central space. Some dictionaries give only this definition of guilloche, although others include the broader meaning associated with guilloché as a second meaning. Note that in the original sense, even a straight line can be guilloché, and persons using the French spelling and pronunciation generally intend the broader, original meaning. Translucent enamel was applied over guilloché metal by Peter Carl Fabergé on the Faberge eggs and other pieces from the 1880’s.
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