What Is Mokume?

Posted by Arn Krebs on


Mokume gane is an ancient metalworking technique in which layers of precious metal are alloyed together with heat and pressure, then twisted, carved, and forged to create beautiful organic patterns. Mokume Gane translates 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.

All mokume patterns are achieved by one of two processes; carving or forging.  Guri Bori mokume requires the most involved carving, resulting in a ring that has recesses or layers that resemble topography. Other carved patterns include the wood grain pattern, the twist pattern, and the droplet patterning. Forged patterns include end grain pattern, wave pattern, flow pattern, bookmatched endgrain, as well as others.

My mokume patterns are made in various combinations of yellow gold, red gold, silver, and palladium. In my many years of making mokume I’ve developed the skillset to make bands that resemble wood grain, topographical canyons, oceanic waves, and other natural formations. I take pride in the custom nature of the work and offer the widest selection of mokume patterns that you will see at any shop. Arn chooses not to line his rings with silver or gold and rather to let the beautiful wood grain patterning of the mokume shine through to the inside of the ring.  The integrity of the metal is featured this way and assures that you are getting a quality ring, not a thin sheet of mokume hidden by a liner.  The texture and feel of mokume is something to be treasured. 

Please note that all mokume patterns are unique and so the ring you take home will vary from those pictured. The images below and in the listings are meant to give an example of our different style options and quality of the ring, but please keep in mind that every item is individually made by hand and will inevitably vary from other rings in the same pattern category. 


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