By:
Jeffrey M. Bertman
Graduate Gemologist

To fully appreciate the distinctive layered pattern effect produced by the Japanese mixedmetal laminating technique known as Mokume gane, you must see it for yourself. Until you do, try conjuring the image of sun-dappled water seen from the broadside of a boat, only substitute bronze and copper colors for blue and aqua. Mokume gane, which was first employed by 17th-century Japanese metal-crafters to make sword fittings, means “burl metal” since it looks somewhat like burl wood. The metal-crafting process from which gorgeous rings and other fine jewelry emerge involves laminating sheets of various metals into a solid An organic mix of metals and patterns billet. After careful heat control and careful forging, the final result materializes as an organic blend of metals that only colored glass might approximate. People have always appreciated beauty and uniqueness in all things. This appreciation is perhaps most evident in jewelry. Jewelry has always been a form of self-adornment as well as self-expression.

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