Silver engraving is not as developed as other handicrafts, but there are still many excellent artisans and beautiful works. Many wealthy families formerly used silver engraved products such as trays, boxes, teapots and tea cups. There was a period that Vietnam used to export silver engraved products. Some villages used tons of silver a year. But then as the silver became more expensive, the villages changed to carve copper mixed with silver. The silver has been mainly used as jewellery and some high-end products. Silver-carved or copper-carved products are plenty, including trays, plates, boxes, vases, candlesticks, tea sets and wine-sets. Recently, because the gilded copper surface is beautiful, the market has favored bronze rather than pure copper-carved products. Since then, decorative products with big sizes have been developed strongly, such as copper-carved paintings and brass letters.
The techniques to carve silver and copper are divided into two stages. The first step is to attach one side of the copper or silver plate on the table surface. Based on the patterns, whatever standing out will be silver-carved, whatever lying beneath will be copper-carved, in order to create background. Then the product will be removed, flipped back, and attached. Then it will be trimmed and carved in details and finally polished.
Most famous villages of copper or silver engraving are Dong Xam Village, Thai Binh; Ke Mon Village, Thua Thien Hue. Within the centre of Hanoi, many places are famous for silver and copper engraving. Outstanding artisans are Mr. Nguyen Viet Lam and Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Trong (Hanoi), Mr. Nguyen Van Ngoan and Mr. Pham Van Nhieu (Dong Xam Village).