MOKUMEGANE technique is very difficult.Master the craftsmanship technique it may take years and years of practice as bellow.
First we start selecting different colored golds, silver, platinum, palladium or any other metal we want to work with.
In this technique the cleaning is very important. After cleaning very carefully the golds, making sure there is no dust, oil or any other impurity, we alternate the colored golds in the order we want to bond them creating an stack.
FIRING THE BILLET
The technique itself has some particular vocabulary like the word “billet”. The billet is the stack with all the metals together. We will fire the metal billet, making sure that it doesn’t melt but it bond the metals into one solid piece.
FORGING THE BILLET We will forge the billet using round head hammers, reducing the thickness of the billet at least 50%. We will need to anneal and forge several times to reduce progressively the billet half of the initial thickness. This part of the technique is crucial because if the craftsmanship is not well done, the billet may split apart making not only to loose the time and effort but also create a big economical lost, because of the high value of the metals.
We will use different type of chisels, from 45 until 120 degrees angle to carve into the billet. We will make sure to don’t carve more than 30% of the total billet thickness. Once is carved it will be forged again after anneal and we will repeat the same step as many times necessary until we get the pattern we want. Every artist have a particular style. Our craftsmanship and design style is very particular but the patterning is different for each artisan depending of what they want to create and the technique using the chisels.
We will flatten the patterned metal slice and we will bend, or stick to another metal to create more contrast, depending of our jewelry project. The craftsmanship and technique for this part of the process is not much different than the usual skills required for create conventional wedding rings and fine jewelry.
We will use different types of finishing. We will etch to give more definition to the pattern if possible or we may finish with a matte, satin or sandblasting to show the best color contrast of our piece.