News

Use this section to provide a description of your blog.

Noble Mokume Gane: An Education on the Art Form

Posted by on

As many of you may know we have spoken a few times about mokume gane, what it is and how its made. Our original blog post here "What is Mokume"states :

"Mokume gane is an ancient metalworking technique in which layers of base and/or precious metals are alloyed together with heat and pressure, then twisted, carved, and forged to create beautiful organic patterns. Mokume Gane is Japanese and translates to "wood eye metal" which reflects the wood grain patterning admired by the Japanese craftsmen. This rare metal lamination process is similar to Damascus and was developed and used by Japanese swordsmiths in the 17th century to adorn samurai swords."

But as of late we have seen many pieces of jewelry flooding the market under the umbrella of "mokume" or "mokume gane".  Arn and I have begun looking into what determines if something is or is not mokume in the traditional sense. We want to make sure that our customers understand what they are buying and what the differences are in the landscape of this amazing, valuable, and skillful craft. 

Essentially mokume can be broken into two categories, base metal and noble metal mokume.  The highest quality mokume which is the only combination we feel is suited for rings is made from layered noble metals. Noble metals are also called "precious" metals. They are ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, osmium, iridium, and platinum, and gold. When something is made from copper, brass, nickel, or any other metal not listed as precious it is called base metal. Base metal is inexpensive and can have issues in rings as it can causes allergies in many individuals, skin discoloration, and may erode and delaminate over time. In our opinion these metals should not be made into wedding rings because they won't last.  You can see this discussed in greater detail here in a blog by renowned mokume jeweler James Binnion.  Another aspect that a buyer might encounter is liner on the ring. Often the liner is made of gold or silver. There is nothing wrong with an added liner but it does cut down not the amount of mokume in your ring. Mokume is more valuable that gold or silver because of the labor, skill,  and uniqueness of it. If you purchase a solid mokume ring it will inherently have more value than one with a liner. 

Another aspect of true traditional mokume is how it is made.  Mokume is created by diffusion bonding different metal alloys together in either the solid or liquid phases of the metal.   If a material is cast or 3d printed to create it then it is not mokume gane.  This means there are no layers and instead there is a surface texture that resembles the patterns you see in mokume. Mokume is made by fastidiously layering and fusing precious metals and then twisting, carving, forging this material to create patterns.  The cast method is a short cut to just show a surface pattern that is similar. While this is not a bad thing in itself it is no way mokume gane and can't be called that or demand the same prices. The surface pattern could wear away over time and doesn't show a variety of color unless there is metal plated on the low areas. This will also wear away over time and does not go through the whole ring. Even layered precious metal clays are not strictly mokume as they are actually sintered particles of metal and are not solid or ductile.

Yet another variation on the theme is damascus. Damascus is perhaps the original form of mokume and was used in swords in Japan. It is very similar to mokume but differs in that it is made from steel and not precious metal and since it is made from alloys of steel it has variations of greys in color and not the colors than gold can provide.  Also any steel alloys that are not stainless will eventually rust and may eventually delaminate.

There has been a recent explosion in the use of non-traditional metals to make layered metal billets using metals like titanium, tantalum, zirconium and other exotic metals.  These combinations are stable but share the same limited palette as steel unless they are anodized which produces rainbow colors, however this is a surface treatment microns thick which will eventually wear away which will obliterate any visible pattern. Only Mokume shows the wonderful innate variation of colors of silver, all the colors of gold, and the contrasting greys of palladium and platinum.

In terms of value damascus costs less than mokume gane because of course steel is less costly than gold. Other materials such as brass, nickel and other base metals are by far the least costly but are only appropriate for jewelry that is not worn in a daily sense, less you risk the metal eroding or discoloration on your skin.

Hopefully this overview has been helpful in understanding this landscape and educating our amazing patrons who collect fine jewelry and love the art form as much as we do!

Thank you!  

 

 

Read more

Noble Mokume Gane: An Education on the Art Form

Posted by Susan Freda on

As many of you may know we have spoken a few times about mokume gane, what it is and how its made. Our original blog post here "What is Mokume"states :

"Mokume gane is an ancient metalworking technique in which layers of base and/or precious metals are alloyed together with heat and pressure, then twisted, carved, and forged to create beautiful organic patterns. Mokume Gane is Japanese and translates to "wood eye metal" which reflects the wood grain patterning admired by the Japanese craftsmen. This rare metal lamination process is similar to Damascus and was developed and used by Japanese swordsmiths in the 17th century to adorn samurai swords."

But as of late we have seen many pieces of jewelry flooding the market under the umbrella of "mokume" or "mokume gane".  Arn and I have begun looking into what determines if something is or is not mokume in the traditional sense. We want to make sure that our customers understand what they are buying and what the differences are in the landscape of this amazing, valuable, and skillful craft. 

Essentially mokume can be broken into two categories, base metal and noble metal mokume.  The highest quality mokume which is the only combination we feel is suited for rings is made from layered noble metals. Noble metals are also called "precious" metals. They are ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, osmium, iridium, and platinum, and gold. When something is made from copper, brass, nickel, or any other metal not listed as precious it is called base metal. Base metal is inexpensive and can have issues in rings as it can causes allergies in many individuals, skin discoloration, and may erode and delaminate over time. In our opinion these metals should not be made into wedding rings because they won't last.  You can see this discussed in greater detail here in a blog by renowned mokume jeweler James Binnion.  Another aspect that a buyer might encounter is liner on the ring. Often the liner is made of gold or silver. There is nothing wrong with an added liner but it does cut down not the amount of mokume in your ring. Mokume is more valuable that gold or silver because of the labor, skill,  and uniqueness of it. If you purchase a solid mokume ring it will inherently have more value than one with a liner. 

Another aspect of true traditional mokume is how it is made.  Mokume is created by diffusion bonding different metal alloys together in either the solid or liquid phases of the metal.   If a material is cast or 3d printed to create it then it is not mokume gane.  This means there are no layers and instead there is a surface texture that resembles the patterns you see in mokume. Mokume is made by fastidiously layering and fusing precious metals and then twisting, carving, forging this material to create patterns.  The cast method is a short cut to just show a surface pattern that is similar. While this is not a bad thing in itself it is no way mokume gane and can't be called that or demand the same prices. The surface pattern could wear away over time and doesn't show a variety of color unless there is metal plated on the low areas. This will also wear away over time and does not go through the whole ring. Even layered precious metal clays are not strictly mokume as they are actually sintered particles of metal and are not solid or ductile.

Yet another variation on the theme is damascus. Damascus is perhaps the original form of mokume and was used in swords in Japan. It is very similar to mokume but differs in that it is made from steel and not precious metal and since it is made from alloys of steel it has variations of greys in color and not the colors than gold can provide.  Also any steel alloys that are not stainless will eventually rust and may eventually delaminate.

There has been a recent explosion in the use of non-traditional metals to make layered metal billets using metals like titanium, tantalum, zirconium and other exotic metals.  These combinations are stable but share the same limited palette as steel unless they are anodized which produces rainbow colors, however this is a surface treatment microns thick which will eventually wear away which will obliterate any visible pattern. Only Mokume shows the wonderful innate variation of colors of silver, all the colors of gold, and the contrasting greys of palladium and platinum.

In terms of value damascus costs less than mokume gane because of course steel is less costly than gold. Other materials such as brass, nickel and other base metals are by far the least costly but are only appropriate for jewelry that is not worn in a daily sense, less you risk the metal eroding or discoloration on your skin.

Hopefully this overview has been helpful in understanding this landscape and educating our amazing patrons who collect fine jewelry and love the art form as much as we do!

Thank you!  

 

 

Read more


Mokume Gane Engagement Rings!

Posted by Susan Freda on


Now Offering Mokume Gane Apprenticeships with Arn Krebs Mokume!  

Contact Us for More Info! 401 225 3721 

sue@susanfredastudios.com 

Read more


Customized Handmade Mokume Gane

Posted by Arn Krebs on

Mokume Gane with a twist....We customize almost all of our pieces to deliver something completely unique and one of a kind.  Clients call with ideas or images and we get started working out the details.  Many customers would like to remember something special in their lives.  The birth of a child, honeymoon landscape, a special location where they met... there are so many memorable parts of life and we are here to capture them for you into something that can be worn close to your heart.  

We often start with family heirlooms and work them into new treasured pieces or we  start fresh with metal and gems of your choosing.  We truly love making these special pieces for you and we are proud that you trust is us to honor your cherished moments.  

Who are we? We are a husband and wife team, a RISD artist and a skilled jeweler who are living the dream...making our art and making a living. Its hard work but worth it all!  Read our reviews or browse our work to get a feel for the work we create.  We look forward to working with you! 

Read more

Customized Handmade Mokume Gane

Posted by Arn Krebs on

Mokume Gane with a twist....We customize almost all of our pieces to deliver something completely unique and one of a kind.  Clients call with ideas or images and we get started working out the details.  Many customers would like to remember something special in their lives.  The birth of a child, honeymoon landscape, a special location where they met... there are so many memorable parts of life and we are here to capture them for you into something that can be worn close to your heart.  

We often start with family heirlooms and work them into new treasured pieces or we  start fresh with metal and gems of your choosing.  We truly love making these special pieces for you and we are proud that you trust is us to honor your cherished moments.  

Who are we? We are a husband and wife team, a RISD artist and a skilled jeweler who are living the dream...making our art and making a living. Its hard work but worth it all!  Read our reviews or browse our work to get a feel for the work we create.  We look forward to working with you! 

Read more


Fall in Love Sale! 10% off Mokume!!!

Posted by Arn Krebs on

                 Forged in our Imagination

Arn Krebs Arts is proud to offer forge patterned Mokume. This is a premium pattern as it requires extensive skill and experience to produce. 

All Mokume is patterned using two techniques, carving and forging or a combination of the two. Most Mokume is patterned by twisting and carving or carving alone, very few Mokume artists pattern their Mokume using only forging and Arn Krebs Arts is one of the few!

The forged patterns have several advantages over carved patterns. They are more durable as the pattern runs through the ring and will never change even as the ring wears. Forged patterns also offer the opportunity to book match a mirrored pattern on one ring or make a set of rings which have mirror images. Forging the pattern also offers an insight into the process and our inspiration as the pattern is a record of exactly what has happened to each layer, much like geologic and growth processes are revealed by the eroded shapes and patterns in rock in mountains, valleys and canyons or the grain of wood. Forging the pattern in Mokume also expands the possibilities for patterns exponentially, allowing for different aesthetics and the ability to tap into a thousands year old history of pattern welded and damascus steel patterns. This blend of the old and new anchors us to our roots and allows us to reach our branches for the sky! 

All our rings are made start to finish in our studio and are always solid Mokume, not thin veneer of Mokume over other metal or a thick liner. When you buy one of our rings you can be sure you are getting an heirloom quality piece of jewelry as unique as you are. 

If you would like to commission a new piece or pattern specifically for you, we are always excited to work with you to create your ideal piece of jewelry. We have many patterns and metal combinations available which are not published or represented in our portfolio, and our design philosophy allows us to integrate seamlessly any stones you may want to highlight or include in the design. We strive to create jewelry as meaningful to you as it is to us.



Check out the new site here, complete with customer reviews, a blog, and  all of our latest commissioned wedding and engagement rings. 

Read more

Fall in Love Sale! 10% off Mokume!!!

Posted by Arn Krebs on

                 Forged in our Imagination

Arn Krebs Arts is proud to offer forge patterned Mokume. This is a premium pattern as it requires extensive skill and experience to produce. 

All Mokume is patterned using two techniques, carving and forging or a combination of the two. Most Mokume is patterned by twisting and carving or carving alone, very few Mokume artists pattern their Mokume using only forging and Arn Krebs Arts is one of the few!

The forged patterns have several advantages over carved patterns. They are more durable as the pattern runs through the ring and will never change even as the ring wears. Forged patterns also offer the opportunity to book match a mirrored pattern on one ring or make a set of rings which have mirror images. Forging the pattern also offers an insight into the process and our inspiration as the pattern is a record of exactly what has happened to each layer, much like geologic and growth processes are revealed by the eroded shapes and patterns in rock in mountains, valleys and canyons or the grain of wood. Forging the pattern in Mokume also expands the possibilities for patterns exponentially, allowing for different aesthetics and the ability to tap into a thousands year old history of pattern welded and damascus steel patterns. This blend of the old and new anchors us to our roots and allows us to reach our branches for the sky! 

All our rings are made start to finish in our studio and are always solid Mokume, not thin veneer of Mokume over other metal or a thick liner. When you buy one of our rings you can be sure you are getting an heirloom quality piece of jewelry as unique as you are. 

If you would like to commission a new piece or pattern specifically for you, we are always excited to work with you to create your ideal piece of jewelry. We have many patterns and metal combinations available which are not published or represented in our portfolio, and our design philosophy allows us to integrate seamlessly any stones you may want to highlight or include in the design. We strive to create jewelry as meaningful to you as it is to us.



Check out the new site here, complete with customer reviews, a blog, and  all of our latest commissioned wedding and engagement rings. 

Read more