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About Damascene

Damascene: "Damasquinado de Oro or "Damasquino" as an art form has been around for some 4,000 years . The art was practiced by, among others, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and even the Japanese. Toledo, Spain , where our Damascene jewelry and gifts are hand crafted, has been the world's leading center for fine Damascene art production since the 9th century , that's TWELVE HUNDRED years. Damascene is the art of decorating non precious metals with 24K yellow gold , 18K green gold (made by mixing gold with silver) or silver in decorative patterns. The craft, perfected by the Arab artisans of Damascus, Syria was introduced into Spain during the Moorish occupation and has remained virtually unchanged over the centuries.

The procedure is for artisans to hand engrave the surface of an object with deep fine grooves, using sharp cutting tools, in the desired design pattern. Gold or silver wires are then pressed into these grooves with a steel punch and hammer. Gold or silver leaf foil (extremely thin sheet of gold or silver) can also be used in the design. The whole piece is then treated with a bluing agent to produce a black background by a total oxidation of the surface which is not damasked. A lovely sheen is given to the art object thru the delicate and light process of chipping. The artistic piece is then mounted to giving the final product its very dramatic look.

Traditionally Damascene designs have focused on two distinct types of pattern designs. Either Renaissance motifs with flowers and birds, usually doves, or Arabesque geometric design motifs. Our damascene products are handcrafted by damascene artisans in Toledo Spain and many of the design patterns will reflect the artisan's unique personal rendition creating a highly collectible jewelry or gift item.

Cautionary Advice:

A lot of the "Damascene" items advertised for sale on the web are made actually in the "Damascene Technique" or would be better called "Imitation Damascene". Back in the in 1950's and 1960's , these products were very popular and had the appearance of genuine Damascene, in that they were / are often black and gold in coloring, but the gold is usually not genuine 18k or 24K, or if even gold at all, and much of it is mass produced by machine, usually in the Far East. Though Toledo Spain has been handcrafting Damascene art for centuries , a lot of the vintage damascene being offered is faux ; old does not necessarily mean genuine.

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