If you’re looking for a wedding ring that is completely unique, very unusual and a one-of-a-kind piece, it’s quite possible that a Mokume Gane wedding band is what you are after.
Mokume Gane is a term that refers to a metal-working technique developed 300 – 400 years ago in Japan, a technique originally developed to decorate samurai swords. The name “Mokume Gane” refers to the visual appearance of the metal that imitates that of wood grain. “Mokume” literally means “wood eye”, describing a highly figured wood grain and “Gane” translates as metal. Literally translated then, “Mokume Gane” means “wood grain metal”.
In the Mokume Gane metal-working technique, multiple layers of different metals are permanently joined together to form a stack. The metals, such as silver, copper, yellow gold, rose gold and palladium are fused together under heat to form a stack (or billet). This stack is then forged and rolled out to reduce its thickness. Unique patterns are creating by hand-carving through the layers, then forging and flattening again.
The complexity of the final pattern depends on the number of metals used, the thickness of each metal sheet and the number of repetitions of carving and rolling. The thickness of metal sheets used can range from sheets the thickness of foil to sheets 6mm thick. The greater the number of metal sheets used (in some cases over 50 sheets of metal may be fused together) and the more times the stack is forged, flattened, twisted and carved, the more complex the final ring design will be.
The most striking Mokume Gane rings are formed from combinations of contrasting metal colours, for example, yellow gold with a white or grey metal such as silver, platinum or palladium. A dominantly yellow Mokume Gane ring would have thicker and more yellow gold plates than white metal plates. Beautiful contrasts can still be found between white metals, for instance, palladium and silver. Rings manufactured with these two metals have more of a grey-white overall colour hue, compared to a ring with yellow gold. Rose gold is also very popular and combines beautifully with both the white metals and yellow gold.
A technique such as etching can be used to enhance the contrast between differing metals and a brushed or satin finish always provides a greater colour contrast than a polished finish. Oxidising of silver in Mokume Gane rings results in a unique blackened appearance, which provides a striking wedding ring result.
Each Mokume Gane ring manufactured is entirely unique. Even if two rings are made from the same billet, the wood-grain effect of the metal will be different on each ring. Mokume Gane rings are perfect for matching his and hers wedding rings – whilst the metals and style of the two rings will be the same, the final product will be subtlety different.
If you’re interested in more information on ordering a Mokume Gane wedding ring, pendant or other custom-made item of jewellery in South Africa, please contact us directly. All our Mokume Gane jewellery is hand-made to order, so prices and metal combinations are variable according to your budget.