In the decorative arts, the French term Guilloché (pronounced: Ghee-o-shay) refers to the technique of engraving very precise, very intricate, repetitive patterns, usually on metal. When produced using a “Turning Machine,” such mechanically produced guilloché work can achieve much finer, much more accurate, and much more closely spaced lines. Often such guilloché work is enameled-over, as seen in Fabergé eggs or the cufflinks shown above. Sometimes the engraved metal object is unseen, as in the case of interior clock parts or components on very expensive automobiles and boats.
Guilloché decoration is also used when designing paper currency, stock certificates, or other documents in order to deter counterfeiting.
In Classical Greek and Roman architecture, “guilloché” refers to the simple, repetitive patterns carved into stone—usually interwoven “bands” or “ribbons.”