Karen fell in love with mokume rings on one of her annual buying trips and established a relationship with Michael Daniels Mokume in Cool, CA (we thought they were kidding about the city - we were looking at these cool rings and then they tell us they are from Cool, CA - yea, right. But it is true).
Michael Daniels Mokume is unparalleled in its beauty and quality and they are a great group of people to work with. If you are looking for an engagement ring or wedding band that is a little out-of-the-ordinary then take a minute to explore mokume.
To Order Call K.Hollis Jewelers at (630) 879-8003
Michael Daniels Mokume RingsAbout Michael Daniels Jewelry
In October 2000, Michael Parrish and Daniel Jenkins, Northern California goldsmiths who have been business partners for years, founded Michael Daniels Collection. They had long admired the mix of precious metals known as Mokume Gane, and sought ways to create this beautiful, dramatic–and difficult–material. And when they realized they could develop the tools and skills to make it, they gave up their successful ten-year custom-jewelry business, and started a new company, just for Mokume.
Mokume Gane: A Mystery from the Past Becomes an Art of Today
Mokume Engagement Ring and Wedding BandMokume gane (moh’-coo-may gah’-neh) is the art of fusing layers of precious metals to form a single piece with unique markings (Mokume in Japanese means wood-grain; gane means metal). It was first developed in feudal Japan by a Seventeenth Century mastersmith, Denbei Shoami, who used Mokume in decorative elements for Japanese swords. These fabulous pattern-welded steel blades constituted one of the highest art forms in Japan at that time, and with Mokume furnishings, they sold for a king’s ransom in Europe. The Japanese closely guarded the secret art of fusing precious metals over generations of masters and apprentices.
In the 1970s, a few modern artisans studied with mastersmiths in Japan, and brought the art to the West. But creating Mokume has always been difficult. Even now, most billets, or working blocks, are formed by hand, and aside from some art pieces, nearly all the products on the market are wedding bands–a simple celebration of the material itself and the fine art of creating it.
Michael Daniels Goldsmiths
MD goldsmiths have developed a proprietary combination of heat, pressure, forging, and carving to produce the bold MD patterns. Their process of solid-state diffusion bonding starts with making their own alloys, including the 18K golds, as well as the dark and light contrast layers. This gives them a stable billet with crisp, clear layers of the different metals, and provides fine control of color balances. It also helps prevent melting during bonding, and delamination later.
MD Mokume patterns are unique, using up to seven alloys. Indeed, the patterns a goldsmith cuts in Mokume are as individual as a painter’s identifying brushstrokes.
Michael has been interested in art since he was a small child, starting art classes in elementary school. An avid reader and experimenter, he has a hunger–and an astonishing capacity–to accomplish new things. His career in jewelry began in 1991, and he has worked successfully with all types of gem settings and with many metals, adept equally in casting and fabrication. He has developed dozens of new alloys, many of which are used exclusively in the Mokume created by Michael Daniels.
“Mokume patterning offers endless possibilities. It’s painting with metal,” Michael says. “I choose the palette when I form the billet. Then my burrs become brushes. A wide one makes a great swath of color, a narrow one the fine lines of color. I pattern every day, but I will never have time to make all the patterns in my head.”
Dan dubs himself a fabricator, indicating his sense of humor as well as his skills in forging, sawing, carving, engraving, soldering. He has always made things: drawings, painting, prints, knives, and wood, stone, and bone figures. In high school, he fashioned his first item of jewelry–a silver peace sign–sold it, and moved forever to what he calls “the dark side.” He started his own custom-jewelry business in the Northern California foothill town of Cool in 1988, making everything from jewelry to knives to small sculptures. In 1991, he invited Michael to join him and they expanded into a small production business.
The day Dan first saw pattern welding and Mokume on a Japanese sword, it took his breath away. “I began to dream about Mokume. I still want to make swords,” he says. “But I wouldn’t be able to stop. And I couldn’t bring myself to sell the ones I liked.”
Mokume is important to his work today because it demands a simplicity and elegance of design. “Using Mokume for complicated designs is as contradictory as printing over embossing.”