We sand carve these awards (similar to sand blasting but with very fine grit and nozzles) from behind, leaving the front smooth. It makes for a lovely deep etch that has depth and clarity. We can paint fill the etching but we think it reduces the 3D look.
This photo (from our supplier) shows a problem with crystal or glass - the impression the award makes is dependent on the color of the background. This piece against a colored background would absolutely POP!