Aurum Etchings began in 1975 as a division of Aurum Jewelry Company (1973 - 2000) in Richardson, TX. Later that year, it moved to a 20,000 square foot facility in Garland, TX as a separate company.
The jewelry company was originally founded to produce gemstone quality rubies, sapphires, garnets and other laboratory produced materials being developed at Texas Instruments for laser and electronic applications. Both companies were based on the rapidly evolving semiconductor technology of the day.
Aurum Etchings became the major supplier of chemical etchings to the firearm and knife industry. Its technology differed radically from the historic methods of the past. The company successfully pioneered and established precision chemical engraving as a legitimate decorative form in the firearms industry. Although the new photolithographic etching process did not have the identical physical appearance of hand engraving, its precision detail and affordability made it a force in the market. Its artistic merit and craftsmanship remain the standard for this technology. Colt Industries became an early investor, and Colt Firearms, Winchester, and Buck Knives were early major clients. Thousands of firearms were produced for groups and organizations.
Although the firearms industry was always the major activity, Aurum etched knives were also widely collected, in particular, those associated with Buck Knives and the Aurum brand. "Aurum Etchings" achieved hallmark status among knife collectors.
After 15 years, Aurum sold its knife etching technology to Buck Knives and installed a new production facility in the El Cajon factory. Later, an updated version was installed in the new Idaho plant. The firearm based technology was sold to a company specializing in collectable handguns and rifles which continues today.
Aurum Engraving was founded in 2008 to produce chemical etchings using a new, fundamentally superior process, and to produce engravings using robotic technology that are indistinguishable from hand engraving.
Sam Shortes (R&D engineer) and Mark Koeroghlian (M.E. University of Texas) began investigating CNC robotic engraving at the University of Texas at Austin in 2008. Although it was apparent that such a system was technically sound, some critical elements were marginal and much of the basic software was immature.
Today, none of these fundamental constraints exist. The necessary components of the manufacturing process are now actually better than the requirement. Aurum Engraving's process is unlike anything in use anywhere and is patentable.
Mechanical ("hand") engraving is still regarded as the pinnacle of engraving excellence. To traditionalists, it is the only "real engraving". Hand engraving, however, is a slow and laborious process and, therefore, very expensive. There is also a shortage of master engravers at the level of Pedersoli, Pedretti, or Fracassi.
Chemical etching has its own particular merits and benefits. It is a volume production process allowing precision detail and short cycle times, although its aesthetic display is more restricted and characteristically "flat".
Mechanically graver/chisel produced engravings allow the desirable characteristics of hand engraving such as bevel "flash," facet cuts, angular contours, bulino, sculpted surfaces, true precious metal inlays, beaded surfaces, and deep relief. Its anticipated production cost and process time will be comparable to chemical engraving and will begin with firearms and knives. An engraver still executes a design, but the "hands" are those of a robot.