Hoover & Strong is pleased to announce the introduction of Mokume Gane, the Japanese art of patterning metal laminates. This style of metal manufacturing dates from feudal Japan and means "Wood Grain Metal”. The style and look of patterns that can be created is limited only by your imagination.
The process of producing Mokume Gane feedstock is time consuming and not without problems. Sheets of your chosen metals (with different colors for maximum contrast) are diffusion bonded in a furnace to make a "billet”. The sheets must be scrupulously clean and free from oxides, tarnish and grease for this process to work. Bonding must take place in an inert or reducing atmosphere for it to be successful. Once bonded, the billet is then carefully forged and rolled to sizes suitable for either direct patterning or for square wire sections. For any number of reasons there is always potential for the sheets in the billet to "de-laminate” or split apart. Unfortunately, in most cases when this happens you have to scrap part of or maybe your entire billet. You can easily become frustrated, and have a great deal of value invested in a billet that you can no longer use.
This is why the production of Mokume Gane jewelry has been the niche of those brave and committed enough to adopt this lengthy process and accept the potential failures inherent to it. Suppliers of ready-bonded billets are few, so we decided to make it easy for you by offering the following combinations, ready for you to pattern and process into beautiful jewelry designs.
We Offer Three Types of Mokume Gane Feedstock
• Un-patterned square wire in 4.5mm and 6.0mm sections
• Un-patterned sheet 3mm thick.
• Patterned sheet 0.5mm thick in four popular designs: Random, Raindrop, Snake Skin, and River design.
MOKUME GANE PATTERN METAL COMBINATION
All Hoover & Strong Mokume Gane products are available in the following metal combinations:
Traditional Japanese Mokume Gane Alloys Bonded To Sterling Silver
These consist of alternate layers of the following metals, all starting and ending with sterling silver.
• Copper and sterling silver (CU/STR)
• Shakudo and sterling silver (SHA/STR)
• Shibuishi and sterling silver (SHB/STR)
Shakudo (Sha-koo-doe) is an alloy of 4% gold, 96% copper.
Shibuishi (Shib-oo-eechee) is an alloy of 15% silver and 85% copper. These traditional metals can be patined to give a range of colors for the jeweler.
Karat Gold Alloys Bonded To Sterling Silver
These consist of alternate layers in the following 2-alloy and 3-alloy combinations, all starting and ending with sterling silver.
• 18k royal yellow gold and sterling silver (18R/STR)
• 14k palladium white gold and sterling silver (14D/STR)
• 14k red gold and sterling silver (14P/STR)
• 18k royal yellow gold/14k palladium white gold/sterling silver (18R/14D/STR)
• 18k royal yellow gold/14k red gold/sterling silver (18R/14P/STR)
• 14k red gold/14k palladium white gold/sterling silver (14P/14D/STR)
All Karat Gold
Hoover & Strong also offers all karat gold alloys, starting with 18k royal yellow gold.
• 18k royal yellow gold/14k palladium white gold/14k red gold (18R/14D/14P)
MOKUME GANE PRODUCT
Un-patterned Square Wire
All Hoover & Strong Mokume Gane square wires are manufactured from diffusion bonded 17 sheet billets. After bonding, the billets are hot forged and drawn/rolled to size. There are numerous patterns possible from Mokume Gane wire, the majority of which are generated by twisting the wire, and then a combination of rolling and removing metal to expose layers and reveal the pattern. While this produces very popular patterns to use for rings, it is also very unique in terms of manufacturing. The number of twists done to the wire and the depth of the cut necessary to achieve a pattern will be dependent on how many "repeats” of the pattern are required, the size of the ring and also the height of the ring. Matching the pattern where it joins can be difficult as well. Different sizes and heights require their own patterning schedule. Due to the large number of patterning techniques, Hoover & Strong cannot supply Mokume Gane pre-patterned wire stock, the jeweler must create the uniqueness of the pattern themselves.
All sheet products are also manufactured from diffusion bonded billet, but this time 29 sheets are bonded. This is also hot forged and rolled to size. To pattern the sheet, the surface is cut and ground to expose the multiple layers, and then rolled flat to give the final pattern. An alternate method is to punch into the surface and remove metal from the opposite side, which will now be raised. This will again expose the multiple layers required to make the patterns.
USE THESE CODES WHEN ORDERING UN-PATTERNED SHEET STOCK
All patterned sheets are supplied at 0.5mm (0.020″) thick, a popular size with Mokume Gane artists. This can be manipulated to form most types of jewelry from inlaid rings to earrings to pendants. Pre-patterned sheets come in the designs shown on the front, all offering unique opportunities for the jeweler to create unique jewelry.
So, if you want a 2″ X 1″ piece of raindrop patterned sheet in 14k palladium white gold and sterling, order: 2″ X 1″ M34 FP2. See the following examples:
CODES FOR PATTERNED 0.5 MM SHEET STOCK
All Hoover & Strong Mokume Gane products can be ordered in the following quantities:
SILVER BI-METAL SHEET
Bi-metal sheet is an ideal product for engravers or sterling silver jewelers who require karat gold accents. It consists of a layer of karat gold bonded to a layer of sterling silver. The karat gold layer can be engraved, gouged or removed by any method to expose the sterling silver layer underneath, resulting in a pleasing decorative effect.
These are offered in:3 x 3″, 6 x 3″, 9 x 3″ and 12 x 3″ sheets.