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What is Mokume Gane?

Mokume Gane, meaning “wood grained metal” in Japanese, is a metalsmithing technique that joins different metals together using high pressure and heat. The result is a single brick, comprised of metals that have been stacked together in a formulated sequence to produce unique color combinations. Once the Mokume brick is created, designs and patterns of the metal can be further produced. The most common methods used are twisting, stretching, pressing, and wearing down of individual layers. At that point, the patterned Mokume is usually joined with another metal, typical silver, and made into its final form.

Mokume Over Time

With continued use, and as the Mokume reacts to the wearer's body chemistry (pH/acidity levels), the metals may begin to etch over time.  Certain metals are softer than others, so they will wear down at different rates.  The process may be slower or faster depending on the individual.  The etching of Mokume Gane really shows off the pattern, creating further contrast, and almost a topographic surface.  Because this changes from person to person, the piece truly becomes one of a kind, and unique to the individual wearing it.

Caring for Mokume Gane

The metals used in your jewelry were chosen together to create a unique pattern and contrast in color. This contrast is enhanced by oxidizing the metals, therefore darkening the copper (or copper based alloys.) The patina may change in reaction to the wearer’s body chemistry, ranging in color from bright copper, to dark brown, greys, and shades in between. To clean the mokume, a mild dish soap is recommended, together with a scratch resistant cloth or sponge – a toothbrush works great also.  Please let us know if you have any questions.

Metals and Alloys Used

ELM Designs uses a variety of precious and semi precious metals in their work.    


Sterling Silver - Silver and Copper

Argentium Silver - Silver and Germanium

Gold-Filled - 14/20 

Gold - Carat varies depending on use


Shakudo - Copper and Gold Alloy

Shibuichi - Copper and Silver Alloy

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