The Art of Engine Turning: The Analogue Craftsmanship Behind Our Sterling Silver Pens


At Conway Stewart, we take pride in creating exquisite writing instruments that combine elegance, tradition, and craftsmanship. One of the techniques we employ in the production of our sterling silver pens is engine turning, a centuries-old decorative technique that adds a unique touch to our pens. In this blog, we will delve into the history of engine turning, its application in the pen-making process, and the beauty it brings to our sterling silver pens – all done without any computer input whatsoever. We are also delighted to share a video showcasing one of our craftsmen creating the Coronation Pen, which truly brings the artistry to life.

The History of Engine Turning:

Engine turning, also known as guilloché, is a decorative engraving technique that dates back to the 16th century. It was initially used in the production of ornate watch dials, jewellery, and various metal objects. The technique involves the use of a rose engine lathe, which creates precise, intricate, and repetitive patterns on the surface of a material. The patterns produced are often geometric and can vary in complexity and design, creating a mesmerising effect.

Engine Turning in Pen-Making:

When it comes to the pen-making process, engine turning adds an unparalleled level of sophistication and intricacy to our sterling silver pens. Our skilled artisans use the rose engine lathe to engrave the pen's body and cap with delicate patterns. These patterns not only enhance the pen's visual appeal but also provide a tactile experience for the user.

The process begins by placing the pen component on the lathe, where it is carefully rotated at a constant speed. The artisan then uses a variety of cutting tools to create the desired patterns, taking great care to ensure consistency and precision. The result is an exceptional work of art that showcases the artisan's expertise and dedication to their craft, achieved entirely through analogue means.

The Beauty of Engine-Turned Sterling Silver Pens:

The engine-turned patterns on our sterling silver pens create a stunning contrast between the intricate design and the smooth, reflective surface of the silver. This interplay of light and shadow adds depth and visual interest to the pen, making it a truly unique and luxurious writing instrument. Moreover, the engine-turned patterns not only elevate the pen's aesthetic appeal but also provide a comfortable, non-slip grip for the user.

Engine turning is a testament to the unparalleled craftsmanship and attention to detail that goes into each of our sterling silver pens, achieved without any digital input. The technique allows us to create writing instruments that are not only functional but also works of art in their own right.

The Making of the Coronation Pen:

To give you a closer look at the craftsmanship that goes into our engine-turned sterling silver pens, we have included a video featuring one of our talented craftsmen at work, creating the King Charles III Coronation Pen. This video offers a fascinating insight into the artistry and precision required to produce these beautiful writing instruments, all accomplished using analogue techniques.


At Conway Stewart, we are committed to preserving the art of engine turning and incorporating it into the creation of our sterling silver pens. We believe that the beauty and intricacy of engine-turned patterns add a unique touch to our writing instruments, reflecting the skill and dedication of our artisans. We invite you to experience the elegance and tradition of our engine-turned sterling silver pens for yourself and appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into every detail, all achieved without any computer input.

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