Inlay and Marquetry


Inlay is an extension of veneering where small pieces of material are inserted into accurately cut spaces on an object’s surface to form a pattern or picture. It is very often executed with wood veneers, but shaped pieces of any suitable substance can be used in theory. Materials such as ivory, horn, tortoiseshell and even metals such as gold, copper or brass have been inlaid on to furniture to great effect.

Marquetry is the inlay technique of covering an object with pieces of wood veneer to form decorative patterns, complex designs and even entire pictures.

Colourful semi-precious stones such as agate, cornelian, lapis, and marble are also used for inlays, using sophisticated techniques such as mosaic, scagiola, and pietra dure.