What is Mokume-Gane? June 21, 2015 16:13



Mokume-Gane metal crafting is a highly-skilled technique that emerged from the finest sword makers of Japan. In the late 1600’s to mid 1800’s the role of samurai swords transitioned from being a weapon for battles to a decorative symbol of the warrior class. The quality and intricacy of the decoration of the sword was an indicator of the owner’s social status. Mokume Gane (translation: wood grained metal) is one of the specialized techniques that was developed to decorate these beautifully crafted swords.

The method was developed by Japanese sword maker, Denbei Shoami (1651-1728). The technique consists of bonding at least two layers of different colored metals through heat and pressure. The heat causes the molecules to become agitated and to intermingle between the interfaces of the metal sheets. A new molecular structure is created between the metal layers, forming one homogenous mass. The layers of design results from carving, twisting and forging the metals together to obtain unique and contrasting patterns. Mokume Gane can be used in metalsmithing, jewelry making, the creation of hollowware, as well as a wide variety of other applications.