Last week I picked up some new-to-me vintage jewelry, shocking I know ;) I have long wanted to pick up some more damascene pieces to match a bracelet I have that I wear often. In the end I decided on the two pieces above, a maple leaf shaped brooch and a super cute pair of earrings--but you know what? These new pieces don't match my bracelet, because these pieces are Japanese (Amita) damascene and my bracelet is Spanish damascene. Huh? Well yes, there are two major types of damascene jewelry out there, but before I show you the difference, lets talk about what damascene actually is!
Wikipedia describes damascene as follows:
"Damascening is the art of inlaying different metals into one another—typically, gold or silver into a darkly oxidized steel background"
Makes sense when you look at the jewelry above, dark metal background with designs inlaid in brighter metals. The technique is as old as ancient times in several parts of the world and has since had a long history in Japan, where it was used to decorate katana fittings among other things. Though popular as decoration on swords during the Edo period (1603-1868), after the Meiji Restoration government banned the carrying of swords the craftsmen turned to using the technique on other objects and jewelry. Damascene jewelry and items became a major souvenir and export items to the West and the most common name I've seen on Japanese damascene jewelry, Amita, started in 1932. There is a cool little breakdown of the company's history on their website here. Goodness knows I'd love to pick up some more damascene as souvenirs while traveling in Japan, anyone want to pay for my trip?
All of this history is of particular interest to me as I have recently become really interested in the Meiji Restoration time period in Japan, but more on that nerdiness in tomorrow's post ;) Want to see some more pretty Japanese damascene (or as it is often known in Japanese, Shakudō (赤銅))?
|My bracelet is similar to this one :)|