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The classic urn design has many areas that are conducive to ornamentation. Of course one of the most popular is the plain polished finish with no ornamentation at all. Most urn designs are perfectly suited for engraving. The common shape offers an excellent engraving area centering the hinge location of the clapper. This area is usually a pleasant rectangular shape that will hold a name or address nicely. Many manufacturers also design an engraving area onto the clapper. This shape can be a square or an oval depending on the manufacturer. The clapper area usually looks good whether it is engraved or not.
Different manufacturers describe them as Grecian Urns or Victorian Urns. Each appears to have some merit. It is possible that the relationship to eras revolves around the designs used as each period features its own distinctive style of ornamentation. Some are embellished with flower patterns while others have leaves and feathers. Among my personal favorites being an engraver is the old standard swirling vine pattern that generally seems to fit the urn door knocker form well. I have even come across them adorned with cherubs and angels.
The finish should match the rest of the hardware. Door knockers not only come in many finishes they are available in many types of metal. The most stable metal and probably the most common is brass. Brass is easy to machine and cast into shapes. It polishes into a bright gold like finish or satins easily and is easy to maintain. Brass also electroplates readily. This allows it to be nickel or copper plated to simulate pewter and bronze finishes. Because brass is non ferrous it will not rust. It will tarnish though for this reason a good lacquer finish is needed or your purchase will look terrible in a very short time.