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April 3, 2010


Damascene, or Japanese Damascene, is a centuries-old art first brought to Japan about 2,000 years ago, reputedly form Damascus. Usually with steel as the base metal, items are produced through a lengthy process. A design is drawn and then transferred onto the metal surface with a fine chisel.
The outlines are cut and undercut before gold or silver threads are hammered into the tiny grooves. The item is then corroded with acid, cleaned with soda water, washed in salt water and baked over a fire. This process is repeated eight or nine times a day for at least five days.
Washed and baked until all the rust in the steel has been conducted out. The clean surface is then dipped into thick red-clay mud and baked again. This is repeated from 50 to 100 times. Then the surface is coated with powdered charcoal and oil, baked, and repeated from 10 to 20 times. Once cleaned of black powder, it is rubbed to a polish. The last step is to add any necessary carvings, monograms or handwritten names of the purchasers, if desired.
To retain the original polish, the article should be rubbed once a month with a soft cloth dipped in olive oil.
Here are some examples of stunning damascene pieces -
Vintage Japanese Damascene Cravat Clip Tie Clasp Bar Vintage Japanese Damascene Chain-Link Cuff Links Vintage Japanese Damascene Chain-Link Cuff Links Vintage Japanese Damascene Chain-Link Cuff Links
If you are lucky enough to own some damascene, take another look at it and marvel at the amount of work that has gone into it. Keep it clean and polished - a respectful status it deserves. And wear it with pride.
See also : Vintage Cove Website | Vintage Cove on Facebook

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