What is Mokume Gane?

Mokume Gane is defined as “A metallurgically bonded multilayered (4 or more) metal product in which the layers are manipulated to produce a decorative visual effect”.

Mokume is the Japanese word for “wood grain” or “wood eye”, and Gane is the Japanese word for “metal”. The technique was developed by Denbei Shoami (1651-1728). He originally used the layered metal in sword guards, or tsuba.

I focus mainly on using gold and silver in my mokume. The raw mokume is created by applying high heat and pressure to the metal so it bonds without the use of solder.  Here is the die in a 20 ton press that holds the layers of metal before applying the heat and pressure:

mokume die

The next step involves heating the metal billet in a kiln to a precise temperature for a specific amount of time. This is what the die looks like after being heated in the kiln:

heated mokume die

After carefully processing the billet, it can then be formed into workable shapes that eventually become part of my jewelry:

The Spirit Landscape necklaceMokume ring with champagne diamondSpirit Landscape necklace is made with sterling silver, shakudo, 18K yellow and 14K yellow gold. The engagement ring is made of sterling silver and 14k palladium white gold with 18k yellow gold liner and bezel.

A unique technique I apply to some of my rings is the practice of carving 3 dimensional patterns into the mokume gane to enhance the layers even further. This carving technique is known as Guri Bori. It was originally used on lacquered objects and in swordmaking. A Guri Bori wave pattern can be seen in the ring above. To see more of my Mokume Gane creations, click the link below.