The Art of Mokume Gane

Mokume is an ancient Japanese technique of fusing multiple sheets of different metals in order to create unique grains in the metal. The technique was used by 17th century Japanese metal smiths for traditional Samurai swords. Fused at a high temperature, the layers are then cut, hammered, filed and rolled to reveal a unique pattern that resembles the natural grains in wood. This process is extremely laborious and time-consuming, but the beauty of Mokume Gane lies in the incredibly intricate pattern that emerges at the end of this hand-made process, and no pattern can ever be replicated. This makes each piece of jewellery entirely unique. 

 

Resin Rings by ENEM Design. 

Multiple sheets of various metals are stacked and fused together.

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When fused, the stack of metal sheets is manipulated to reveal the colourful layers. 

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The block is rolled into a thin sheet and the final pattern is ready to be applied. 

Bowl using copper/brass Mokume Gane from the Hamilton Regional Art Gallery

 
 
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Mokume Gane used in tsuba (sword guards). Japanese, from the 18th - 19th centuries. 

 

Curious for more? check out the following references:

  • The Complete Book of Jewelry Making by Carles Codina
  • Mokume Gane by Ian Ferguson