What is sub-suface laser etching?

The name says it all really. The laser beams inside the machine come together at a point BELOW the glass surface. When they fire they create a minute fracture around 0.02mm in size. These fractures appear as white dots. 

The software used, takes your image and turns it into many hundreds of thousands of pixels/dots to form the image. After these settings are calculated a beautiful piece of K9 quality crystal glass is positioned inside our laser machine. 

The bed which the crystal sits on, is able to move up and down as well as left/right/forwards/backwards. 

The beauty of this product is the way the 2D or 3D image is captured within the glass rather than on the surface. It adds further intrigue and interest in the subject. The image wont tarnish or show signs of wear over time. Its truelly captivating in its purity. 

What we can do for you.



Our crystal ornaments and keyrings do not contain generic images. They are designed to be fully customised and incorporate your images and text. They are a fantastic gift to give someone for all occasions and last a lifetime.


There are so many variables and subtle changes that can be added or taken away to create the final piece.


For example, a 2D image can have the background left showing. so it looks like a black and white version of the whole photo etched into the glass. Or – the background can be cut away to just show the subject.


Text can be added. It might just be a name or could be a sentimental phrase.  The available etching space needs to be taken into consideration with how many words can be included.


Some of our crystals are relatively shallow but can still have the image inside in 3D. Those crystals are listed in both categories in the shop page. As you can imagine turning a 2D image into a 3D model takes time and costs more.


There are three methods of ordering your crystals. One is to buy it through our website here. If your happy with your image and what outcome you will get then visit our shop page. Upload images and text and other elements you require. Having taken the order we will review it and unless we need to make changes or ask you for more details, we’ll get right on and make it.


Secondly, if you would like to check if your image is suitable before ordering you can email us and attach your image for approval. This way we can also enter into a more detailed one to one conversation on your needs and what we can achieve via email.


Thirdly, come see us at our shop ‘Unique Glass Beads’ at Taurus Crafts in Lydney (click the link on the ‘about us’ page for more info) Here you can see all our examples within our cabinets, talk to us directly and even bring in an actual photo for scanning.



Making a 3D crystal

Standard 2D photo

Its important that the image is of good quality and the subject is looking forwards towards the camera as much as possible. This helps map out the points of the head/face accurately and get the best outcome.

Software Manipulation

4 Types of software are used to make the head/face into a 3D image ready for laser etching.

Finished product

Hundreds of thousands of  tiny fractures are produced by the lasers. (dont worry, your crystal is perfectly durable after etching.) These fractures appear as white dots and form the detailed model inside the crystal. The laser machine builds up the layers as its working.

Guides for suitability

Here we show some pictures as a guide to their suitability for 3D work

Not Acceptable image

side views make it difficult to click all the reference points needed to map out the head.

not acceptable image

In this instance the dogs tongue is the problem. It sticks further forward than the lower mouth. As the software doesnt know what a tongue is, when the head was meshed into 3D, the pink of the tongue became the whole lower jaw and neck.

not acceptable image

Once all background detail is removed from the photo, there is no mouth or neck detail here to work with.

acceptable image

All the relevant points of the head are visible. This is an ideal picture to work with.