Photo Diamond Etched
All Natural
Laser Etched
With Lithichrome Paint
Impact Etched
All Natural

Abbottsville Monuments offers Diamond, Laser, and Impact etching on our memorials.  Each method has it's advantages and disadvantages - we will try to give you the short explanation here.

First it is important to understand HOW etching works. When most granite's are polished they darken. The difference in color between the polished part of the stone and the non-polished part produces the contrast that allows us to see the lettering and artwork. So when we etch a stone what we are doing is scratching the polish back off the stone to get down to the natural lighter color of the stone.

 Laser vs. Diamond Etching

Laser Etching
 Diamond Etching
 How It Works Uses a computerized laser to "burn" small dots into the polished surface of the granite. Is performed by an artist using a diamond tipped engravers tool.
 Image Type / Quality
Produces an image that is identical to the source picture. It looks like a photograph.
Since Diamond Etching is perfomed by hand the image produced looks more like a painting than a photograph. This also depends on the abilities of the artist.
The laser generally isn't strong enough to penetrate the polished surface very far. This produces a very faint image. In most cases Lithichrome paint is added to the image to overcome the lack of contrast. Lithichrome paint lasts 10 to 20 years.
An artist can penetrate the polished surface much deeper to obtain the contrast needed without the use of paint or sealants.
Granite Color
Due to the lack of contrast Laser Etching is limited to high quality black granite.
With it's higher contrast abilities Diamond Etching can be performed on other colors of granite. Portraits still look best on black granite though.
 Surfaces Must be a flat level surface.
Can be performed on curved surfaces.
 Image Prep
Changes to your pictures must be done on the computer using software such as Photoshop. Depending on the abilities of the graphic designer this can sometimes be labor intensive.
Should we wish to add a smile or remove eye glasses we just tell the artist who does it "on the fly" with no extra time involved. This can add up to a significant savings when many changes are involved such as Family Scenes.

TIP:  If you would like to know if a certain memorial has paint or sealants added to the the etchings just go to the cemetery in the rain.  If the image is Diamond Etched it will "disappear" in the rain.  The raw non-polished granite absorbs the rain water which darkens it to the same color as the black polish area thereby making the image "disappear".  The same thing happens to a lessor degree with the carved lettering on the stone. If the image has paint or sealants it will not darken with the water.

Impact Etching is the newest of the three. It holds the promise of being the best of both worlds. It uses the same diamond tipped engraving tool that an artist uses but mounts the engraving tool in a computerized frame.  However, it still has a way to go before the quality is equal to hand etching.