Engraving of this quality, with its incredibly crisp detail, is best appreciated with a magnifying glass, but the richness it adds to the document can be understood at a glance!
These are our own designs, created "exclusively" for our customers' needs. They are not "stick on" seals, but are engraved into the paper, exactly what you would find on a diploma for a prestigious school or university. All Exclusive seals are the same size; approx 1.75" x 1.75"
"What is involved in creating seals such as these?"
We've designed these "Exclusive" seals specifically for our customers. Small schools normally can't afford the expense of a set of dies to do this kind of work, which can cost over $500. The very cost of the dies is the reason that this process is used on diplomas: it makes them difficult to duplicate. The company we work with to do the engraving has won world-wide acclaim for their fine work. It is an art form and is done in the traditional method -- the engraving die is engraved by hand under magnification. It is not a modern "imitation" of engraving.
Once we completed the design work for these seals, a set of dies had to be made for each one. The dies, made of magnesium, are created using the artwork as a master so that the various steps of printing will line up perfectly. The foil die (used to lay down the area of foil onto the paper) has the image raised above the surface of the plate. The engraving die, on the other hand, has the image to be printed etched beneath the surface of the die, and has a mating "counter," which is a mirror image of the engraving die. The engraving die, with its extremely fine detail, is created by a craftsman who works with hand tools and a magnifying lens.
Once the dies are created, the process of actually creating the seals requires a number of steps -- from laying down the foil to burnishing the finished product -- and with each successive step, the registration must be absolutely exact. The presses used to do the actual engraving on your diploma are machines which exert tremendous pressure. Engraving ink (a very opaque, dense ink which contains metal) is squeegeed across the surface of the die so that it fills the tiny recesses. The mating plates come together with the paper between them so that the ink is pressed into the surface of the foil and paper. This is why an engraved seal is actually raised above the surface of the paper. If you examine the back of the diploma, you will see the impression made by the "counter" to the engraving die, which pushes up, into the paper from the bottom to provide the pressure needed to release the ink.