Mokume Gane Engagement Rings



So what the heck is Mokume gane? If you are interested in having an engagement ring or wedding band that is truly unique consider mokume gane. Mokume translates from Japanese as wood eye, which refers to burl wood grain, and gane means metal. During the samurai era, mokume gane was utilized to construct the handle for the samurai's sword and often symbolized wealth and status. Mokume was invented by Denbei Shoami, a 17th century master metalsmith. Currently, mokume refers to designs made in this Japanese lamination technique and is typically used to create jewelery.

Mokume gane is created by complex processes involving forging, twisting, rolling and bonding metal alloys together so that they are intimately and intricately entwined. Many layers (most often somewhere between 10-30 layers) of selected metals such as platinum, golds, palladium, silver and/or iron, are clamped together between steel blocks and are then heated in a kiln, which allow the layers to fuse but not melt. The resulting fused stack of metal is called a billet which is rolled to reduce its thickness.

The unique patterns of the Mokume gane are created by hand carving down through the layers in the laminated stack and then rolling and flattenning it out. The process of carving and rolling is performed repeatedly 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 laminateMokume gane rings are available in a variety of patterns, metals, widths, and embellishments. The mokume gane technique creates a distinctive pattern whereby several general styles can be created depending on how the initial sheets of metal are fused. For example, a “river” design has wavy stripes, while an “island” design has unique loops and swirls. Patterns can also be created to run horizontally or vertically along the ring. The types of metals used will contribute to the color of the rings. Typically two or three types of metals are used in the creation of Mokume Gane, with yellow and white gold being commonly used. Yellow gold creates a yellowish hue whereas white gold creates a grayish hue. The width of the ring is dependent on personal taste, although wider rings better accentuate mokume patterns. Concerning gemstones, you can choose to have a gemstone inserted in the band for an elaborate engagement ring or let the sheer beauty of the mokume gane stand on its own, sans precious stones.

You most likely won’t find Mokume Gane engagement rings at your local mall. Try googling “mokume gane and engagement rings” and you will come up with a number of small businesses specializing in this art-form. As with all online purchases, be sure the business has a solid reputation: ask for references, contact the Better Business Bureau, etc.

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