What is Mokume Gane?

Mokume gane (pronounced moe-koo-may gah-nay) is an ancient Japanese metalworking technique developed in 17th-century Japan by master swordsmiths. The name translates as "wood grain metal." The technique was originally created to make parts of the handle for the samurai sword and is akin to Damascus Steel. The beautiful patterns in these pieces would reflect similar patterns developed in the forging of the sword blade.

In this process, layers of contrasting colored metals are fusion welded, using very high heat and pressure, into one solid block or billet of metal. This billet is further worked by forging, twisting, and carving to develop more and more complex patterns.  The mokume is then fashioned into jewelry.