Mokume Gane Education

WHAT IS MOKUME GANE?

Mokume gane wedding bands are truly a work of art. Mokume rings come in an array of gorgeous colors and styles. This ancient process was first introduced in 17th-century Japan and was utilized for crafting swords. Today this metal fusing and soldering technique is utilized to create remarkable wedding bands and rings.

WHY WEAR MOKUME GANE?

Other than for its beautiful combinations of colors and patterns – wear it for its history. Mokume Gane has an extravagant story behind it! In 17th-century Japan; katanas were a symbol of high status and prestige. Much like having an expensive car today, samurai swords were made to be shown off! To create unique and appealing handles and sheaths, top tier Japanese metal-workers tried to find something new to decorate these weapons. Mokume Gane was explosively successful in being a part of the fashion for the traditional sword.

Sadly, the katana industry had no reason to continue growth, nobody used the sword anymore, so as the demand dropped – so did the supply. With less artisans creating the katana – the art of Mokume Gane became a secret very rarely passed on. The art of Mokume was far too difficult to master, and had little reason to be learned. The unknown art continued in the background within jewelry.

When you look at a Mokume Gane ring; you are looking at a forgotten art form once only created by traditional masters and worn by the prestigious!

WHAT’S IN MOKUME GANE?

Traditional components of mokume gane are relatively soft metallic elements and alloys – gold, copper, silver, shakudo, shibuichi, and kuromido – which form liquid phase diffusion bonds with one another without completely melting.

HOW IS A MOKUME RING MADE?

Mokume gane as traditionally practiced, was a very difficult process to learn; this was partly due to the difficulty of successfully fusing the metals and partly due to the skill required to forge the laminated billet down to useable material without separating the layers.

After extensive research on a technique not practiced for centuries, smiths developed a modern method for making mokume gane using currently available equipment and materials. They made use of the electric kiln for the lamination of mokume. The lamination process involves clamping many layers (most often between 10-30 layers) of selected metals such as platinum, gold, palladium, silver and/or iron, between steel blocks and heating the resulting stack in a kiln. With the combination of heat, pressure, and a protective atmosphere allow the layers to fuse but not melt. The resulting fused stack of metal, called a billet, is then forged and rolled to reduce its thickness. The unique patterns are created by hand carving down through the layers in the laminated stack and then forging the carved laminate to flatten it out. The process of carving and rolling is repeated many times to create the finished pattern. The patterns formed in this manner are almost like a topographic map, showing the depth of the carving into the original laminate.

Composite Mokume Gane

“Composite Mokume Gane” is a modern interpretation of this ancient Japanese metal art. Today’s engineers and scientists use these “Mokume” patterns and composite technology to create the new “super alloys” and that are making the colonization of space a beautiful reality.

Composite mokume is a new breed of material that makes everything from the Stealth Bomber to the International Space Station possible. Additionally recognized for its astounding aesthetic properties, gem quality finish and heirloom characteristics; mokume composites allow the artisan to transcend the barrier between art and craft and transform handcrafted objects into the finest heirloom quality luxury goods.

Composite mokume is made with high purity metals and other exotic elements that have been deconstructed to the macro-molecular level, re-alloyed and then reconstructed with highly refined chemical binders. Heat, pressure and an exothermic chemical reaction cause the molecules to cross link forming a new material with a unique macro-molecular structure. Because the molecules are distributed homogeneously the new material gains the benefit of all the unique characteristics of the individual components.

Originally developed for aerospace and the military the engineers who made composite mokume uncovered a host of aesthetic qualities that build on the remarkable benefits of these materials. The composite mokume process together with the natural interplay of the metals and elements creates exotic metal colors, beautiful random wood grain patterns and metal combinations that were never before possible. Deep, dimensional, mirror finishes with galactic star field qualities make for a surface that is mesmerizing and lasting.

Engineered to be dense and stable with a high strength-to-weight ratio, composite mokume will hold the finest of detail. Colors and patterns run completely through the material and the finished product is beautiful, lightweight, very strong, comfortable to wear and to touch and will last for many generations.

ALLERGY CONCERNS

In some cases, Copper and Silver Mokume Gane can cause an allergic reaction if placed directly on the skin. Please be aware of this when you purchase a ring that has this material as the entire band or the inner sleeve.

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