Damascus steel was a term used by several Western cultures from the Medieval period onward to describe a type of steel created in India and used in swordmaking from about 300 BC to 1700 AD. These swords were characterized by distinctive patterns of banding and mottling reminiscent of flowing water. Such blades were reputed to be not only tough and resistant to shattering, but capable of being honed to a sharp and resilient edge. William Henry’s damascus is made is made from several types of steel welded together to form a billet.
The patterns vary depending on how the damascus artist works the billet. The billet is drawn out and folded until the desired number of layers are formed. William Henry damascus billets are forged with a minimum of 300 layers. William Henry works with a handful of the very best damascus artists/forgers in the U.S.
Mokume gane was developed in the 1600s in Japan, allegedly by an Akita prefecture metalsmith named Denbei Shoami (1651 to 1728). He used the mokume gane technique to dress up samurai swords.
The mokume gane technique involves fusing several layers of different metals, and artistically exposing sections of lower layers. The metal is often made to display a pattern that mimics wood grain. A variety of metals can be used to give different arrays of coloration.
Layers of metal are pressed together and fused with heat. The forged layers are carved to expose lower layers and are then pressed again. The carving and pressing is repeated to develop the pattern.
Today, some of the finest mokume in the world is made here in the USA, and William Henry is proud to offer a range of this material on our collections. Our mokume is generally made with copper, brass, and nickel silver in either a 45 or 89 layer billet, forged and patterned by hand.
CARVED MOTHER OF PEARL
Mother of Pearl is the common name for iridescent nacre, a blend of minerals that are secreted by oysters and other mollusks and deposited inside their shells. William Henry uses premium mother of pearl material sourced directly from suppliers in Australia, selected for maximum color and figure. Most of our hand-carved mother of pearl is created in Bali by Lee Downey, who also works on most of our carved silver pieces.
Natural spinel is a gemstone that has become a great favorite with gem dealers and gem collectors; one might even say that spinel is for gemstone connoisseurs only.
It is a hard glassy mineral occurring as octahedral crystals of variable color and consisting chiefly of magnesium and aluminum oxides. Some spinels are among the most famous gemstones in the world: among them are the Black Prince’s Ruby and the “Timur ruby” in the British Crown Jewels, and the “Côte de Bretagne”, formerly from the French Crown jewels.