Mokume Gane - Ancient Metalworking Techniques
A wedding ring is a precious symbol of commitment, as two lives become one. A Mokume Gane ring (pronounced Moe-koo-may Gah-nay) is a unique symbol of this unity, incorporating different shades of metal into a single one-of-a-kind heirloom. The way that the metals are carefully folded together in this ancient process often attracts soon-to-be-wed couples who are looking for a meaningful symbol that reflects their own personality and style.
We have been creating Mokume Gane jewellery for a number of years, and have been delighted with the results and popularity of this special design. Because of the ancient Japanese metalworking techniques with which these pieces are created, we can guarantee that your rings will be truly individual - you won’t find any with quite the same pattern or style!
The history of Mokume Gane
Mokume Gane originated in Japan in the 17th century and was originally used to decorate Samurai swords. Mokume Gane translates from Japanese as 'Wood Grain' a name the process gets from its distinctive pattern. The unique patterns in Mokume Gane are created by firstly fusing different metals into a 'billet' (a stack of metals). The billets are then folded, forged and carved to create the wood grain like appearance.
Specialists in Mokume Gane
One of the world's most renowned Mokume Gane craftsmen is James Binnion. Based in the U.S., he is at the forefront of Mokume Gane techniques. We are lucky enough to be the exclusive U.K. stockist of James Binnion's work. We always have a large stock of Mokume Gane rings in the shop but, like most of our jewellery, we can also create bespoke commissions.
Creating Mokume Gane
At RING jewellers we usually have around 12 precious metal Mokume Gane ring designs in stock and 6 stainless steel versions. This really helps customers narrow down the choices when it comes to a bespoke design. We often start with the profile of the ring (ie flat or domed). This is done by either us emailing clients photos or them trying the ring on in person (when customers do take a trip down to visit us around 90% of them say how much nicer the rings are in person & that the photos do not do them justice!). Next, we discuss width which usually ranges from 4mm-8mm.
Next comes the real fun part - the metal choices! We show options of 2, 3 or 4 precious metals in a variety of combinations. Lastly to etch, or not to etch, that is the question! Some of our Mokume Gane rings are acid etched by submerging the ring in an acid that only burns the silver and not the golds. The result is a subtle, shallow grooves where the metals meet. This highlights the wood grain pattern of the Mokume Gane technique.
Prices vary depending on metal combination, width and size. We offer Mokume Gane bands in everything from stainless steel to mixed precious metal, so if you’re smitten by this symbolic design, get in touch to find the perfect wedding bands for your budget and personality!