We love the history of Damascus Steel. We love it so much we want to marry (with) it.
What exactly is Damascus Steel?
It’s a form of stainless steel created by folding up to 100 layers of alloy together under extreme heat. The result is a vivid pattern of interlaced metal. Historically, It was used mostly in swordmaking.
Why is it so epic?Oh, lots of reasons:
It has the weight of history behind it.
It was prized by ancient, medieval, and modern civilizations. The slow, cyclical process of working the metals together gives Damascus Steel unique properties, including increased hardness, strength, resitance to shattering, and the ability to be honed to a super sharp edge. All good things to have when making a weapon.
It’s as unique as you are.
Don’t be like all the other dudes walking around with their cookie-cutter tungsten or silicon rings. Because Empire Damascus is hand-made, each piece is one-of-a-kind. The patterns might be similar, just like a fingerprint, but no two Empire Bands will be exactly the same.
That might be a strange thing to say about an ancient metalsmithing technique, but the secrets of making Damascus Steel have only been rediscovered in the last few years. Past masters of the art form guarded their secrets so closely that the majority of their knowledge was lost to time. Oops. We’ve had to go back and re-engineer this amazing metal.
How did it get the name “Damascus”?Because it sounds cool. And because much of it was made in Damascus, Syria, from as early as the 4th Century AD. But not all of it. Japan’s greatest swordmakers folded steel together in the Damascus process, a method they called “San Mai”. Our method of hand-forging Damascus Steel is actually more similar to the Japanese techniques than the Syrian ones.
So, not all Damascus Steel comes from Damascus?Nope, that would be like saying all french fries must come from France. Banish. The. Thought. “Damascus” in Damascus Steel refers to the master technique of folding the alloys together under extreme heat. In other words, any artfully folded stainless steel is Damascus Steel.
Enough about all that, tell me some epic stories.
We thought you'd never ask:
Damascus Steel was highly prized by the Persian and Islamic Empires of the Near East. So, when crusader knights fought those armies at various Medieval bloodbaths, they would often be shocked to see long curved swords slicing through plate armor. Legends sprouted up around the power of Damascus weapons. It was said they could cut a hair in half in midair, and also that they could cleave straight through a helmet (and skull) in battle. The best Damascus blades were said to be quenched in Dragon’s blood. Our Empire Bands aren’t sharp, and they aren’t quenched in Dragon’s blood, though that would be pretty cool.
It was rumored that Alexander the Great had a Damascus Steel sword, which is tough to believe as he predates the early estimates of Damascus Steel production. But his conquests took him right through the area where it originated in Syria, and it’s not out of the realm of possibility that the greatest conquerer the world has ever seen (with the possible exceptions of Caesar, Genghis Khan, and smallpox) wielded a Damascus Steel blade.
The myths and legends that have formed around Japanese Damascus (San Mai) weapons are too numerous to count, but our favorite involves the great Swordmaster Masamune, who in the 13th century was said to have created a sword so perfectly balanced that, when placed in a river’s current, it avoided ending life unnecessarily and only sliced through the dead things that floated past it.
Is there a difference between Empire Damascus and regular Damascus Steel?
There are a lot of people out there relearning the techniques to create Damascus Steel, and not all of their product is top-notch. Some of it is downright awful. Our Damascus Steel is top notch, and it carries our lifetime Man Up Guarantee, so that’s why we call it “Empire Damascus”. That way you know it’s the good stuff.
I’m trying to justify this purchase. Is there way I can describe Empire Damascus to my wife or fiancee that she’ll absolutely love.
All spouses are different of course, and some are blacksmiths, so let’s not stereotype, buuuuut you could try this:
Just as a marriage is an intricate and complicated folding of two lives together to make one shared, stronger life, Empire Damascus Steel is an intricate and complicated folding of two alloys together to make one shared, stronger alloy. It takes enormous skill for a master craftsman to fold the metal layers together, but the result is vividly beautiful and well worth the effort, just like a good marriage. Awwww.
Where can I geek out with you about how awesome Damascus Steel is?
We’d love that. The best place is probably on instagram @empire.bands. Tell us more stories, send pics of your homemade forge. See you there!