e·tching | ˈe-chiŋ
The removal of part of a metal surface, by acid, for a decorative effect
While engraving requires the removal of a large amount of material from a metal or gemstone surface through either rotary or laser processing, etching uses a chemical process to decorate or enhance a piece of jewelry while removing a minimal amount of material. Chemicals used for etching will depend on the type of metal being etched. Fine silver for example can be etched with ferric nitrate solution or nitric acid, which is considered more dangerous than the ferric chloride used on lesser metals like copper, brass, and nickel. Resists can also be used to protect other parts of the metal being etched. The etching process can produce stunning, highly detailed results when applied properly to the precious metals of your jewelry.