Toledo is the Largest Producer of Damascene Works in Spain:
One of the famous handicrafts of Toledo is Damascene or Damasquino. In almost every shop in Toledo you will find some form of damascene product, ranging from rings, pendants, brooches and picture frames, to the more expensive decorative plates.
The Craft of Damascene
Damascene is the ancient Moorish craft of inlaying gold or silver on non-precious metals like iron or steel, then firing it so that the underlying metal oxidizes and becomes black, leaving the gold to stand out in sharp contrast. The craft is believed to have its roots in the oriental-style craft work done in Damascus and Syria. The Arabs perfected the skill and brought it to Spain where it has remained to this day, with Toledo being the main centre of Damascene production.
A Damascene Showroom Visit
On our visit to the Damasquinados Suarezshowroom we watched a craftsman inlaying gold wires into patterns that had been deeply engraved into round steel buttons. With his tool, he pressed the gold wires into the grooves. The gold is hammered until it penetrates into the button. The next step we were told is for the gold inlayed button to be treated with a bluing solution so that the metal oxidises, creating the black background. We didn’t get to see this process as it was time for the group to be let loose in the Damascene showroom.
Buying Damascene in Toledo
Damasquinados Suarez have been producing Damascene works since 1927 and in the showroom there was a wide range of Damascene jewelry and other Damascene wares for sale. If you intend buying some Damascene on your Toledo holiday, it’s best to buy it from a reliable source. Damascene designs range from the Arabesque geometric designs to the Renaissance look with bird and flower motifs.
Whilst the ladies in the group picked up some Damascene jewelry, it was the decorative plates that I admired most. They looked exquisite, but at a few hundred Euros each, they had to remain in the display cabinet.
In the showroom there was also a large collection of swords and sabres which is another of Toledo’s famous products. You can see pictures of our Damascene showroom visit at Travelsignposts photo gallery HERE.
Circo Romano, 8
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