Ferrum & Hide

ferrum and Hide detail of hand engraving of large scroll pattern on steel buckle

The art of the engraver

The level of skill and artistry required to decorate our belt buckles takes talent, dedication and many years to master. It encompasses design, engraving, the inlay of precious metals and the carving of steel and gold. All this is performed by hand and often under a microscope to achieve the level of detail and perfection we require.


​​Initially the engraver will mark out the pattern or picture to be
engraved, first with a pencil and then with a scriber which makes
a slight mark on the surface of the steel. Using a tool known
as a graver or burin, the engraver makes incisions into the surface
removing slivers of steel. The graver depending on its shape and
 the force used, can create thick deep lines for bold scrolls or cuts
finer than a human hair creating highly detailed almost
photo real engravings.

Inlaying and overlaying of precious metals

Inlaying is the art of embedding gold into steel, it is done by cutting
a cavity in the surface of the buckle, a piece of gold is then cut and
shaped to fit precisely into this. The edges and the floor of the cavity
are then undercut lifting the steel slightly to create barbs, the
shaped piece of gold is then hammered into this causing the soft
gold to spread under the barbs holding it to the surface of the steel.
The engraver removes any excess gold making it flush with the
surface and carefully refinished  the gold and steel to create a seamless
finish. Overlaying is a similar process using a thicker gold that will be
left standing proud, so as to appear to be sitting on the surface of the buckle.


The carving process is the most time-consuming and skilled
decoration we offer. It can be performed on steel or precious
metals. After marking out the layout of the intended design,
the engraver carefully removes metal, sculpting the surface
with a combination of engraving, chiseling, scraping and chasing
to achieve the rough form. The surfaces are then painstakingly
refinished by stoning, burnishing and polishing to the final finish. 

custom belt buckle hand engraved with gold lion