Jewelry Guide

Damascus Steel Rings – Pros and Cons (and FAQs)

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Damascus steel has been getting a lot of buzz lately as a new metal for use in bridal rings. Although Damascus steel itself has been around for centuries, it’s only lately that an increasing number of people are learning about this as a metal for wedding and engagement rings. With its many benefits as a metal to wear every day, there’s a lot to love about Damascus steel.

If you would like to go beyond the traditional gold and platinum wedding ring, Damascus steel might be an ideal choice for you.

Here’s a brief look at the pros and cons of Damascus steel before we delve into the details of this intriguing metal.

Pros of Damascus Steel Rings:

  • A long and illustrious history as a warrior’s metal
  • Extremely durable and scratch resistant
  • Unique patterns and eye-catching designs
  • Affordably priced
  • Easy to maintain

Cons of Damascus Steel Rings:

  • Difficult to resize and cut
  • May not be hypoallergenic
  • May rust if made of tool quality steel
  1. What is Damascus Steel?

Damascus steel refers to the forged steel made of wootz steel used in the creation of swords and blades from ancient times. It is believed to be named after Damascus, the capital city of Syria, where these weapons were created with the wootz steel imported from India and Sri Lanka. Damascus steel was also valued during the Vikings and Samurai times and was commonly used to create knives and swords.

Damascus steel is made using iron alloys such as steel and stainless steel. The beauty of this metal comes down to the patterns that it exhibits. Damascus steel is made by placing contrasting metals of varying shades (often silver and gray) in layers and then bonding these layers using heat in an environment free of oxygen.

damascus steel wedding band

An example of a Damascus steel ring designed by Chris Ploof for Brian Gavin. See it here.

The metal is then manipulated by twisting, carving and shaping it to obtain the patterns that is seen on the surface. As you can no doubt appreciate, this is a complicated and artistic process resulting in a metal with beautiful patterns.

In general, each ring is different in the patterns that it exhibits and finding two rings exhibiting the exact pattern is near impossible. This makes every Damascus steel ring unique.

  1. Is Damascus Steel Affordable?

Because this metal is made of iron alloys which are not expensive, Damascus steel is often quite affordable. However, take note that ‘affordable’ is a relative term. You would still have to consider factors such as the quality of craftsmanship, the brand and the designer– all variables that can add to the cost of a Damascus steel ring. In general, you can find a well-crafted Damascus ring between $200 to $700.

  1. Damascus Steel Diamond Engagement Ring

Many people mistakenly believe that Damascus steel is only used for wedding rings, but it can also be used to create stunning engagement rings. Damascus steel diamond engagement rings are quite difficult to make as it requires precision and expertise to ensure that the ring is crafted to perfection.

damascus steel engagement ring

A Damascus diamond engagement ring from Brian Gavin. See it here.  

The best part?

You’ll know for sure that your ring will be unique as how many people out there have a Damascus steel diamond engagement ring?

Another benefit is that when paired with a diamond, this type of engagement ring is extremely hard-wearing as both metal and gemstone require minimal upkeep and are extremely durable. This is an added benefit as opposed to engagement rings made of gold or platinum, which require more maintenance.

  1. What are the Best Damascus Steel Ring Patterns?

There are numerous types of Damascus steel patterns available for rings and the choice is really up to you.

Wood grain Damascus steel refers to surface patterns that represent the flowing, graceful patterns of wood bark and tree rings. The lines are not symmetrical but they have a sense of movement and elegance. This is the most popular type of Damascus steel ring pattern on the market.

Black damascus steel wedding band

A Damascus steel ring with a simple etched design. See it here.

Another intriguing design is the water pattern, where the lines represent the movement of water. This is a difficult design to create and requires high skill and expertise to achieve.

You will also come across geometric patterns which showcase angular or circular repetitive designs across the surface of the ring. These patterns appear more studied and intentional, as opposed to the free flowing movements of the wood and water patterns.

Choose a pattern that resonates with you. If this is something you plan to wear everyday for the rest of your life, it should be one that speaks to you.

  1. How Durable are Damascus Steel Rings?

Damascus steel is extremely durable and needs minimal maintenance to keep the ring lustrous. They are great for daily wear, and quite resistant to scratching and scuff marks over time. Any ring, regardless of the metal, will require some degree of maintenance, but one benefit of Damascus steel is that the maintenance required is minimal (more on that below).

Having said that, it has to be noted that the quality of craftsmanship plays a significant role in the durability of Damascus steel rings. If the designs are merely surface painted and not etched into the metal, it is bound to flake and change with time. Look for genuine Damascus steel metal and avoid the fake rings that simply simulate Damascus steel.

  1. Do Damascus Steel Rings Rust?

This is a frequently asked question and many people are reluctant to purchase Damascus steel rings due to the fear that they may rust.

Damascus steel rings made of good quality steel alloys don’t rust. These are the marine alloys 304L and 316L which are highly durable.

However, many Damascus steel rings on the market are likely to rust. This is due to the properties of the various metals used in creating them. If cheaper iron or ‘tool’ steel alloys are used, the metal tends to rust when exposed to various chemicals.

damascus steel ring

Look for quality in a Damascus steel ring. See this here.

Another factor that impacts on the corrosion resistance of the Damascus steel is if the metal has been heated well during the creation process. This adds resistance to corrosion and makes the metal durable.

The bottom line?

Look for quality in the alloy when purchasing a Damascus steel ring as these are long-lasting and don’t corrode.

  1. How Do I Clean and Care for a Damascus Steel Ring?

Rings made of Damascus steel are relatively easy to maintain. When dirt and grime from daily wear accumulates, using soap and water to wash these away will restore the ring to its usual luster. You can also use a commercial cleaner like this one which is known to be highly effective. If there is dirt and grime in the grooves of the metal, use a soft toothbrush to get it out. You can also use toothpaste as an alternative to clean out any pollutants.

It is best to keep Damascus steel rings away from chlorine as it can cause damage to your ring. Chlorine can weaken metals in general and it is best to take off jewelry of any metal when exposed to chlorine and similar chemicals.

  1. Can Damascus Steel Rings Be Resized?

The answer to this question depends on the metal alloys used in creating the Damascus steel and any heat treatments that the metal has been exposed to. If tool steel alloys are used, resizing can be extremely difficult and in most cases, impossible.

Check with your vendor prior to purchase as this is an important factor. Over time, most people’s hands tend to change and they may require a size up for their ring. If you have bought a malleable Damascus steel ring, then making this change is not impossible. In any case, many reputable retailers often offer an exchange in the even that your ring does not fit you.

Having said that, in general, Damascus steel rings are known for being difficult to resize which is one drawback of this metal. They are also quite difficult to cut off in an emergency.

  1. What’s the Difference between Damascus Steel and Mokume Gane?

Mokume gane is a Japanese technique of creating a patterned metal that is very similar to Damascus steel. You cannot say that one is better than the other, as they both have their pros and cons and a number of variables are involved which make it difficult to directly compare the two.

The main difference between these two types of metals is in the materials used to create them. Mokume is made of non-ferrous metals, which means that it doesn’t contain iron. It is commonly made using precious metals and as a result is often more expensive. As we’ve discussed, Damascus steel is made of iron based alloys.

mokume gane wedding band

A stunning Mokume Gane wedding band resembling an oak tree pattern. See it here.

The materials used can widely affect the quality and properties of the metal and as a result, you have to take it on a case by case basis if you want to accurately compare a Mokume gane ring with a Damascus steel ring. For example, a Mokume ring made of gold will be much less durable than a Damascus steel ring as well as more expensive. But if the Damascus steel ring is made of low-quality alloys, it can rust and corrode whereas the Mokume ring may not.

  1. Is Damascus Steel Hypoallergenic?

Damascus steel made of high quality steel alloys are typically hypoallergenic. However, they may sometimes contain nickel and can cause issues for those with nickel sensitivities. Again, it depends on the materials used to create the Damascus steel so check with your retailer as to the properties of the metal.

  1. How and Where to Buy Damascus Steel Rings?

When purchasing Damascus steel rings, it is essential that you choose a reputable and trustworthy vendor. The quality of the metal and craftsmanship is paramount and you want to opt for a retailer who stands by their products.

Taking your search to Amazon will reveal lots of options, but take care as there are many low quality rings there. You will need to do your research carefully and check after sales policies prior to purchasing.

We recommend purchasing from Brian Gavin who have a gorgeous range of designer Damascus steel rings at good prices. The quality is impeccable and the designs are stunning. You can check out this collection here .

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