Our Materials

Chris Ploof Designs uses only the best materials. Our one overarching goal is to deliver quality. And we are so good at our job that we are an industry leader for Damascus steel and custom mokume gane raw materials and finished products. The quality of our machinery, the level of care we put into blending and forming metals, and our expert finishing set us apart from others.

Damascus

Damascus steel is the metal of legends. Renowned for its strength and coveted for its beauty, it was a sought after treasure during the Middle Ages. Ancient swords forged from Damascus steel were rumored to be capable of cutting a piece of silk in half as it cascaded to the ground.

 

Throughout history, craftspeople all over the world have made beautiful tools from carbon Damascus steel. The Damascus process involves welding multiple layers of steel alloys into one solid piece. The resulting material is then forged into complex patterns, which requires tremendous force.

 

At Chris Ploof Designs we work with a modern variation: stainless steel Damascus. It possesses all the beauty and qualities of the original; however, our stainless steel Damascus is made from alloys that cannot rust like carbon-based steel. Our stainless steel Damascus is easy to care for, available in beautiful and unique patterns and offers high durability.

 

The evolution of Damascus steel from medieval tools to contemporary jewelry is only natural due to its amazing beauty and incredible strength. Our stainless steel Damascus rings are available with precious metals linings and accents, colored ceramic inlays, oxidized patinas, or just plain “naked” for the purist at heart. To increase the cool factor, we have a stock of antique rifle barrels, which were made using a Damascus technique.

Meteorite

Our meteorite rings are made exclusively from pieces of the Gibeon meteorite. The Gibeon flamed into our atmosphere as a visible star-like streak an estimated 30,000 years ago. The extreme slow cooling of its journey through deep space created a unique crystalline pattern (Widmanstatten lines) throughout the resulting meteorite.

 

Discovered in 1838, local craftsmen made spear points and other tools out of the meteorite fragments for many years. The metal of the meteorite is estimated to be about four and one half billion years old, and is one of today’s rare commodities.

 

Not all meteorite fragments are of equal quality. Much of the meteorite has suffered deep fractures and inclusions on its journey to our planet and others have lain exposed to the elements for several thousand years. For every piece that is suitable for use in jewelry, we reject countless others and use only the highest quality for handcrafting our rings. Due to its nickel content, the meteorite is naturally resistant to stain and rust.

 

We cut, forge and fabricate our meteorite, combine it with platinum, gold or mokume gane to form an extremely strong, durable and exquisite ring with a comfort-fit interior. During the final stages of crafting our rings, the meteorite is etched to enhance the Widmanstatten pattern, which is random and beautiful, and unique to each ring.

Mokume Gane

Mokume Gane—“wood pattern metal”—is an ancient Japanese technique. Numerous layers of precious metals are bonded into a single billet using the time-honored technique of applying heat and pressure. The billet is then transformed into exquisite patterns using the various tools in our studio to smash, twist, bend and fold the metal.

 

The unique patterns and color combinations we create showcase the natural beauty of the metals; the quality of our Mokume Gane is second to none.

We combine traditional techniques with state of the art research, which allows us to predict patterning outcomes reliably. Very few artists practice this labor-intensive technique today, but Chris Ploof has mastered the art.

 

We not only create all of our own Mokume Gane for the jewelry we sell, but also supply raw material and finished pieces to outside manufacturers. Our rings are handcrafted in the traditional manner, patterning a piece of Mokume Gane while flat, and then forming it into the finished design. Every piece has a comfort fit interior for that extra-special Chris Ploof touch.

Precious Metals

 

Mokume Gane, Meteorite, and Damascus Stainless Steel rings by Chris Ploof Designs Designs can be paired with a variety of precious metal alloys. An alloy is a homogeneous mixture of two or more metals, where the resulting material has specific properties and characteristics (e.g., higher hardness, corrosion-resistance) that are more desirable than those of the pure, elemental metals. Gold, silver, platinum, and palladium are rare metallic elements. These precious metals are durable, extremely corrosion- and oxidation-resistant, and have high economic value:

      • Silver (Ag) is a lustrous, malleable white metal.
      • Gold (Au) is a soft metal with a characteristic yellowish color and sheen.
      • Palladium (Pd) is a lustrous, silver-white metal.
      • Platinum (Pt) is a silvery-white metal that is both malleable and ductile.

 

Although an investment in precious metal wedding, engagement and commitment rings may seem expensive, their value as a symbol of your love will endure for a lifetime. Chris Ploof Designs is proud to offer a wide selection of precious metal alloys for use in designing your unique Mokume Gane or Damascus Stainless Steel ring. By selecting precious metal alloy channels, liners, edges, or gemstone settings in your ring design, you are able to frame the Mokume Gane or Damascus Stainless Steel bands to either subtle or striking effect. In addition, our Mokume Gane color compositions incorporate carefully selected combinations of precious metal alloys that range from vibrant to subtle and elegant to modern.