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"Damasquinado de Oro" or "Damasquinado" as an art form has been around for some 4,000 years. The Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and Japanese were known to have practiced this art form. Today, Toledo, Spain is and has been the world's leading center for fine Damascene art production since the 9th century - nearly 1200 years. Damascene is the art of decorating non-precious metals with Gold and Silver in decorative patterns. Perfected by the Arab artisans of Damascus, Syria, Damascene was brought to Spain during the Moorish occupation and has remained virtually unchanged over the centuries.
The procedure is for artisans to hand engrave the surface of an object with deep fine grooves, using sharp cutting tools, in the desired design pattern. Gold or silver wires are then pressed into these grooves with a steel punch and hammer. Gold or Silver leaf foil (thin sheets) can also be used in the design. The whole piece is treated with a bluing agent to produce a black background by a total oxidation of the surface that is not damasked. A delicate and light process of chipping gives a lovely sheen to the final product.
Traditionally Damascene designs focus on two distinct types of patterns. Either Renaissance motifs with birds, usually doves, and flowers or Arabesque and geometric designs. These damascene products are handcrafted by damascene artisans in Toledo, Spain. Limited quantities are available.