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FAQs

How to order?

All orders are placed through our website. Simply select your crystal shape and dimension, add text if you wish and upload your photos.  Don’t forget any instructions or requests such as, head and shoulders or full body cropping, or to remove a blemish or remove/keep a background. Backgrounds are always removed for 3D laser-etching and is included in the price.

Payment is online through our secure payment portal that has SSL encryption – you can pay by VISA, MasterCard, or bank deposit. Once we receive your order you will receive an email confirming your payment and order. A New Zealand GST invoice will be included with your order.

Can you combine multiple photos into one crystal?

Yes, we can combine multiple photos and etch them into a single crystal. This does depend on the size of the crystal. If in doubt talk us: 027 450 1259 or info@crystalphotos.nz

What’s the best way to display my crystal?

Photo crystals are best placed on an LED light base (sold separately) and displayed with a dark background. More about light bases.

What type of photo images can I use?

You can use most photo file formats including jpg, jpeg, png, and bmp. If we have any issue with the format you send we will contact you before proceeding with your order.

Can I use an old 35mm photograph?

If you have an old photo you can post it to us and we’ll scan it to create a digital image, then laser-etch it into a crystal of your choice. We will return the photo with your order. The result of the final crystal will depend on the quality of the photo. Any photos with dark lighting or blurred content won’t produce good results. We use Photoshop to edit the image for the best outcome. If we cannot produce a good quality etching we will contact you before proceeding.

Do you remove the background of my photos?

Yes, we remove the background from all 2D and 3D images during the conversion process as it gives the best result when laser-etching into a crystal. For 2D etching it is optional but we recommend removal as it is best to focus on the subject. Tell us your preference when ordering.

Can you convert automobiles or buildings into 3D?

Yes, but the 3D conversion will only produce front and side views as seen in your photo.  More about 3D.

We can do 4D laser-etching but each artwork and etching will need to be quoted on an individual basis. The quote will be based on the complexity of the artwork and cost of the crystal and conversion. Email your image file and we will send you back a quote within 48 hours.

How do you do it?

There are several steps to achieving a good laser-etching in crystal.

Step 1 – We crop and edit your photo to ensure we achieve the best result.

Step 2 – Using our proprietary software we convert your image into a laser file comprising hundreds of thousands of tiny points (known as a points cloud file). Each of these points has a coordinate within the crystal that information the laser uses to burn the image.

Step 3 – We place your choice of optical crystal into the laser.

Step 4 – The laser software plots each point inside the crystal to etch the image. With 3D crystals, the image is built up layer by layer from the back to the front. The laser focuses on the inside of the crystal and doesn’t mark the surface. The process is known as subsurface laser etching. The result makes the image appear suspended within the crystal itself, creating a product that must be seen to be believed.

Step 5 – The crystal is inspected, packaged and shipped to you.

Will my crystal be in colour like my photo?

Images are produced in monochrome, evoking the classic quality of black and white photos – with a difference.

What is a crystal block made from?

Our photo crystals are made from the purest optical glass - known as K9 optical crystal. It is free from chemicals that discolour (like normal glass) and is optically clear. This type of crystal is used for spectacles, binoculars and telescopes and is manufactured to a standard that is free from stress lines and imperfections. We guarantee our crystals.

Can you laser-etch into my piece of glass or crystal?

We can try to laser-etch into normal glass but we can’t guarantee success. Our lasers are set up and tested to laser-etch into our crystals.

How long does it take?

Once you’ve placed your order and paid for your 2D or 3D crystal it will be despatched within three days.  Allow up to 10 days for 4D.

Are my photos suitable for etching?

The main thing is to ensure your photo is clear. Poor quality photos produce poor quality crystals. We can etch almost any photo into a crystal but the quality of the photo has a huge impact on the quality of the outcome.  If you are unsure if your image is suitable please talk to us. 

What is the difference between 2-dimensional (2D) and 3-dimensional (3D) images?

A 2D image is flat with no depth. A 3D image has depth and is almost lifelike.
Read more on the two formats.

What is 4D?

4D, or modelling as it's commonly known, is when you can view four sides of an image plus the top and bottom, like a hologram.  We can etch a 4D image from a series of photo images.  Please contact us for more information and pricing.

Why is a 3-dimensional image more expensive than a 2-dimensional image?

The 3D image costs more due to the conversion process required. Our designers need to convert your standard 2D photograph into 3D and this process can take some time, hence the additional charge.

Why are some crystals only suitable for 2D?

Because an image for 3D (or 4D) photo crystals has depth to it we need a thicker or deeper crystal to be able to laser three dimensions into the crystal. Whereas an image for a 2D photo crystal is flat inside the crystal so we can laser the image into a much thinner crystal. Any of our crystals can be etched with a 2D photo but only those with extra thickness or depth can be used for 3D and 4D.

Can I add a personalised text message to my crystal?

You can personalise your crystal with the text of your choice. This is an option during the order process. The amount of text is limited by the size of the crystal you choose. There is no charge for adding a message to your crystal.

Do I need a light base?

To showcase your crystal in the best possible way we always recommend a light base to be placed under your crystal. Crystals look their best when there is light showing from underneath and when the crystal is positioned against a dark background.

Do you remove the background from my photo?

For 3D (and 4D) photos the background is always removed during the conversion process. This is so the subject is the focus of the crystal, not the background.

For the 2D crystals, removing the background is recommended but optional and can specified during the order process.

Can I send two photos and have you merge them together?

Yes. You will need to add both images with detailed instructions of the layout you are seeking during the order process. There may be an additional artwork charge for this service. We will advise you on what the customisation fee will be before proceeding.

How are the crystals packaged?

Our crystals are sent in a blue satin-lined presentation box with a cardboard sleeve, no need for special gift wrapping.

Delivery

Our usual processing time for artwork and laser-etching is three days, then we ship the crystal to you.

Crystals are delivered free of charge within New Zealand by NZ Courier Post, signature required, delivery service.

Delivery is typically between two and four business days from the time the goods are dispatched depending on your delivery address. Rural deliveries may take longer.

What photo file format can I use?

You can use almost any standard photo image file: .jpg, jpeg, .png, .bmp, and .ps.

Maintenance and Cleaning

Crystal is glass and should be treated as such. Care should always be exercised in its handling. To clean, wash with mild soap and warm water. Use a glass cleaner such as Windex if necessary. Dry with a dust free cloth. The interior of your crystal will always stay pristine and as vibrant as the day you received it. 

Sub-surface engraving is permanent, lasting as long as the crystal is intact. Guaranteed never to discolour or fade, you can be sure that your crystal will stay perfectly clear for years.

What type of photo can I use?

We can laser-etch almost any photo into crystal.  You are only limited by the size of the crystal. From ultrasound baby scans to makeover photoshoots.

You can even send us a 30-year-old photo. We will scan the photo, convert to 2D, and etch the scanned image into a crystal. If you have any questions about your photo talk to us or email your photo with any questions you may have.

3D crystal photos, on the other hand, are restricted to people and animals as this requires special software and skilled technicians to convert the photos into 3D.

We are able to etch other objects in 3D and 4D images but this requires extra time and effort by our technicians so the prices will be quoted on a case by case basis. Please contact us for a quote: info@crystalphotos.nz

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