HEAVY METAL: Hand Engraved

   Here is a men’s wedding band unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. It’s an inlayed, relief engraved mokume gane ring, crafted entirely by hand – and there’s only one. Not surprisingly, it’s available exclusively at Green Lake Jewelry Works.

Relief engraved mokume & rose gold inlay koi band

   Green Lake specializes in making totally custom, handmade, one a kind wedding jewelry. To offer this level of craftsmanship, our Seattle studio is also home to many artists of varying disciplines. Take for instance the artist who conceived of this piece: Joe Worley, a classically trained goldsmith in the European tradition of hand fabrication – and the guitarist for local heavy metal band, Pharaoh Hound.

   Watch Joe fashion this ring to his own tune:

HEAVY METAL: Hand Engraving from Green Lake Jewelry Works on Vimeo.


   The Koi Pond is hand fabricated from 14 karat palladium white gold and sterling silver Mokume Gane billet with 14 karat rose gold cold forged inlay. The traditional Japanese folk art theme depicts a Koi pond framed by a blossoming Cherry tree. The use of ancient Japanese materials combined with Japanese iconography was an easy choice to explore this new take on Mokume Gane in jewelry design.

Rose gold inlay is used to accent and add an iridescent sparkle to the cherry tree - $6995.00

   In general, Mokume Gane is twisted while heated and manipulated with various tools to create a pattern, then fabricated into a ring or other jewelry piece. This process explores the idea of rolling up the ring blank without twisting the compressed billet (thin alternating layers of different metals stacked on top of each other) to use like paint in a pallet. It is deeply hand engraved exposing the different layers to create contrast, definition, and in some cases subtle forms like clouds or shadows on rocks. The finish left by a graver is too shiny to show contrast so it must be sandblasted to reveal any progress, making it a slow and deliberate process.

Shadows on the rocks are actually different layers of noble metal revealed; the darker metal pictured is palladium

   Once the desired tone or color is reached the material can be sculpted by chasing for desired effect. Notice the white head of the Koi with dark background or the rocks showing a consistent light source with highlights and shadows, all cut to different depths then hammered into shape. Bark on the Cherry tree and scales on the Koi also illustrate the effect of cutting down through alternating metals. The edges of the band were sculpted to both showcase the alternating layers better and provide a stone frame for the scene. 14 karat rose gold inlay was chosen to form the Cherry blossoms and break up the monochromatic scene, adding drama and life. As everything is sandblasted the final engraved cuts were left shiny to use light reflection for definition of some shapes.

“The edges of the band were sculpted to both showcase the alternating layers better and provide a stone frame for the scene.”

To purchase this ring, visit the gallery page.


Green Lake Gold & Platinumsmith, Joe Worley

Joe Worley is a classically trained Gold and Platinumsmith in the European tradition of hand fabrication. Under a formal apprenticeship with Master Jeweler Joe Sauer, he repeated basic projects in copper and brass until the strict standards of his mentor were achieved. Hand fabricating fine jewelry under the guidance of a traditional Master Jeweler is a very unique privilege in today’s world – and an increasingly rare skill as more jewelers enlist computer aided design programs to lower production costs. Worely began with Green Lake in the old lakeside studio as a bench jeweler in 2004. In 2007 he strengthened his repertoire in managing the creation of fine jewelry in another local workshop and in 2012 returned the Green Lake family, where he now fashions the most dazzling hand fabricated, custom made rings.


About the author:

Eric Robertson is a writer, illustrator and creative lead for Green Lake Jewelry Works.