What is Mokume Gane?
Mokume gane (“wood-grain metal”) is a traditional Japanese metalsmithing technique often seen in sword decoration. A stack of different colored metals is laminated by heat and pressure, then patterned by a combination of twisting, carving, and forging. Each pattern is produced by hand and every piece is completely unique.
Average turnaround time for custom orders is 4-6 weeks. Spring and fall are the busiest time of the year and may require lead times up to 8 weeks; it is best to order as early as possible. Custom orders require a 50% deposit for work to begin.
I make every effort to accommodate expedited orders when scheduling permits. These may incur a rush order charge of $100 per ring - please check for availability.
Rings are available in the following combinations:
Sterling silver/ 14K palladium white gold
Sterling silver/ 18K yellow gold
Sterling silver/ 14K palladium white/ 14K red gold
Sterling silver/ 14K palladium white/ 18K yellow gold
Sterling silver/ 14K red/ 18K yellow gold
Platinum, reactive metals (titanium, niobium, etc.) and steel are not currently available.
Color vs. Karat: The gold karats above are selected for maximum color contrast and beauty in the finished piece. I prefer palladium white gold to traditional white gold as the latter contains nickel, a common allergen. Liners and settings in other karats are available.
Patterns are produced by a combination of twisting and carving the mokume laminate. Available patterns are Woodgrain, Star, and Desert. The number of twists will produce different effects in the pattern to create Loose Woodgrain (2 twists,) Tight Woodgrain (3+ twists,) Loose Star (4 stars) or Tight Star (5+ stars.) The Star pattern may also be carved to produce a Swirly Star pattern. The patterns are each developed to fit symmetrically around the band, with attention to band width and ring size.
The most popular widths are 4mm -7mm; bands narrower than 3mm are not recommended as the pattern will be less visible. Bands smaller than 3mm are available in solid metals, as a companion band or solitaire.
Average thickness is 2mm, optimal for daily wear. Unlined bands can be made thinner (1.6mm) upon request.
Profile refers to the cross-section of the ring. Flat, softly beveled, and domed (half-round) profiles are available; all are designed for comfort. Comfort fit available on request.
Anyone sensitive to sterling silver may require a liner; otherwise they are simply a design choice. A liner may be selected to match rails or a stone setting; engraving is easier to read with a liner and sterling silver liners are an economical option. Unlined bands are also available.
Bezels are the most popular setting styles for solitaires. Bezels may be full or demi-, straight or tapered. Settings can be high-profile (stone sits above the band) or low-profile (stone sits close to band, culet may rest in band.) Traditional prong settings are available, but do not work as well aesthetically with the modern style of mokume gane.
Flush set stones are another option. Small stones ( 2mm & smaller) work well when sprinkled throughout a band or concentrated in a meridian (centered or off-set) within the band.
Diamonds, sapphires, and rubies are the hardest stones and hold up best to daily wear. I am happy to set a stone provided by you, or to assist you in finding a stone that fits your budget. All diamonds used are conflict-free; fair-trade colored stones are also available.
Rails create a border that frames the mokume band, in a complimentary or contrasting color. They can be used with or without a liner. Rails can be round, tapered round, or square.
A bridge is a design element that highlights a stone setting and adds visual interest. They are available in a variety of styles and colors, complimenting or contrasting with the mokume band.
Matte finishes accentuate the color contrast, so mokume rings are brushed or etched. Etching creates topographic depth and texture, and is available in all metal combinations containing sterling silver.
Stone settings, bridges, and liners are polished; this creates beautiful contrast with the matte finish of the mokume gane.
Mokume gane rings are durable and designed for everyday wear. All rings made of precious metal will scratch; this is completely normal and over time a ring will develop a patina unique to the wearer’s environment and body chemistry. When a mokume gane ring is “breaking-in,” the scratches can make the pattern difficult to see; after about 3-4 weeks the patina covers the entire surface of the ring and the pattern magically reappears! Patinas on brushed and etched finishes will develop slightly differently.