This advanced technique originated in Japan and was used extensively for various metal objects. It gained popularity in the 20th century as more metalsmiths understood the mystery of how to create this material. Translating to “wood-grain metal,” mokume gane employs fusion of non-ferrous metals in alternating layers. The billet of fused layers is then forged thinner, and a pattern is brought up through filing, carving, or milling. After patterning the surface, the billet is rolled through a rolling mill to thin the sheet and smooth the surface. The working properties of the final sheet are similar to that of the parent metals.

Shown at left:
Fused billet of copper and fine silver

Billet forged thinner to begin patterning

Process of patterning parallel bands

Fusing and Patterning
Rolling and Finishing
Contemporary Examples