DSCN2003 Moku detail 1200h‘Mokume gane’ Japanese metallic wood grain effect

The Japanese developed this technique in ancient times to make samurai
swords with multiple layers of steel. The quality was unequalled in the West. In recent times this technique has been applied to jewellery making producing remarkable results from the contrasting colours of gold, silver and copper alloys. With the application of patinas the effects are further enhanced. Although very labour-intensive, jewellery made using ‘Mokume Gane’ is increasing in popularity with customers happy to pay the small extra labour cost.

 

Method: Two or more pieces of different metals are rolled out into thin sheets, meticulously sanded and cleaned, then layered together ready for bonding. The layers are joined through either soldering or heat fusion. The heat fusion method is very difficult but once completed the jewellery process can be quite straightforward like working with one piece of metal. The soldering method is easier to achieve but if there are any imperfections or de-lamination, repairing can become almost impossible. Once the piece of metal with multiple layers is completed, it is forged, filed and worked to allow different layers and colours to come through. No two pieces will ever be exactly the same