MDC Alloys

Dark and Light Contrasts

The drama and distinctiveness inherent in mokume gane lies in the layering of different colors of metals. Michael Daniels Collection uses four colors of gold in varying patterns – 18k red, yellow, green, and palladium white. Each pattern has a dominant note supported and enhanced by the other colors.

Simply using different colors of gold produces a subtle mokume with less contrast. Michael Daniels Collection is known for its bold patterns, achieved by strong dark and light accents in addition to the 18k gold layers.

For dark accents, the traditional Japanese goldsmiths who developed mokume gane in the Seventeenth Century used lustrous mixtures of gold or silver with copper. Shakudo is copper and gold. Shibuichi is copper and silver. Their white layers were silver. Their most popular designs, in fact, were made of just fine silver and fine copper.

Those traditional alloys, beautiful as they are, do not work optimally in all modern mokume gane, particularly when it rests on human skin. Skin chemistry has different effects on metals, sometimes changing them over time.

To offset such issues, we developed our own contrast alloys, incorporating increased amounts of gold, silver, and other metals, which result in a more stable material that’s suitable for jewelry worn in direct contact with skin.

Dark Layers

Honoring the masters of the past, we have modified Shakudo and Shibuichi to produce a new alloy we call Kurium, which provides the following:

  • longevity and strength, even on products that touch the skin
  • proper color: rich, dark contrasts in layers large enough to add a bold touch
  • good bonding and rolling capabilities

We use several blends of Kurium, depending on which pattern and end design we are producing. This gives us the fine control we need in our mokume gane.

Bright White Layers

Seeking the beauty of fine silver but with greater durability, we developed a white metal with a higher gold content. Fine silver is the whitest of all precious metals and resists tarnishing, but it’s also extremely soft and difficult to bond. We named our new white alloy SnowGold, a proprietary blend that has fine silver’s virtues, yet with the characteristics to work well in all our designs.

By using our own blends of dark and light alloys, we can achieve longevity and workability in our wide range of pattern types, and maintain the accents that make Michael Daniels Collection mokume gane so distinctive.