Aug 20, 2016 · 3 min read

There is an abundance of pin industry jargon and it can be confusing. One of the most common questions we’re asked is which type of lapel pin type is best for the application. These are the popular pin types currently available.

1. Cloisonné Pins

Cloisonné are jewelry quality lapel pins. They embody the fine art tradition of glass enameling perfected over centuries. The pins are made by hand pouring powdered glass into the cavities of a die struck brass pin. To enhance the beauty of these exquisite pins, the brass may have been plated in gold, silver or nickel. The pins are baked in a kiln at a very high temperature and the powder becomes a solid glass enamel, which is then sanded to be flush with the the metal lines that separate the colors. The finished pin is polished to a high luster, with a fine jewelry finish.

Cloisonné pins are often chosen for recognition, awards and membership presentation because of the high perceived value. These are the highest quality pins available, designed and custom crafted to leave an impression.

2. Die Struck Pins

These pins sometimes go by other names: die cast pins, molded pins, die struck pins, metal finish pins or stamped pins. Plain die struck pins are like cloisonné, hard enamel or embossed pins, except they have no color areas. Different finishes are available through sand blasting, polishing or antiquing. Plating may also be available in nickel, gold, and bronze, copper and antiqued variations.

Die struck pins have many applications. They make an excellent choice for awards, recognition and promotional events. They project an understated elegance and add dignity to an achievement. The weight of the thicker metal often suggests greater value, but in some applications they may be perceived as being less valuable than a colored pin, as in pin trading.

3. Hard Enamel Pins

These are sometimes called pole pins, die struck pins with hard enamel or imitation cloisonné pins. Hard enamel pins are die struck and color is then hand applied with a small brush. Thin metal lines separate each of the colors. Similar to cloisonné, they are heated to a high temperature, and then polished to a brilliant, smooth luster.

Hard enamel pins are durable and long lasting and an excellent choice for event pins, convention pins, corporate pins, fraternity pins, sorority pins, political pins and corporate pins. They have a very high perceived value due to their vivid colors.

4. Photo Screen Pins

Also known as screen printed pins, screen printed pins, offset printed pins or photo etched pins, this process is the most versatile. If a design or logo must be recreated exactly, down to the smallest detail, the photo screen process is the best solution. You do not have metal lines separating color areas and color gradients are possible. With the four color process, photos and any color can be reproduced.

Photo screen pins are the most popular pins for trading. Teams love them because complex design detail can be accurately rendered. They are very inexpensive, they can be produced in a very short time and they look great to the fans.

5. Precious Metal/Precious Stone Pins

The use of precious metals and stones can convert a hard enamel or cloisonné pin into an elegant piece of lapel jewelry that will be treasured for a lifetime. Metals available are bronze, nickel, sterling silver, 10 karat gold filled, 10 karat solid gold or 14 karat solid gold. Genuine diamonds, rubies, emeralds or sapphires can be set in any base metal. Pins can also be delivered in wood, acrylic or velvet presentation boxes.

6. Soft Enamel Pins

Soft enamel pins are often known as embossed pins due to the raised lines. These are the more economical versions of hard enamel or cloisonné pins and the most popular type of custom lapel pins. They are also die struck pins, and similarly to the hard enamel pins, color is applied between the metal lines with a small brush. The color is lower than the raised metal lines, which gives the pins their embossed look and feel. Pantone color matching is available. Soft enamel pins weigh little more than a photo screen pin.

Read More Information: Custom Made Medals


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