The various stages in the Toledo damascene manufacturing process, require great skill and care, primarily on final finish or retouching on gold to achieve the reliefs and polished ends..
Damascene craftsman master begin to scratch the surface of the piece that will decorate with a special hardened steel blade, creating a network of parallel and perpendicular lines drawn with great care. On this surface, consisting of small valleys and ridges, he proceed to the embedding of pure gold. The golden thread of the fineness of a hair, is guided with the right hand of the craftsman as if he is really painting or drawing, while, at the same time, the thread is been embedding between lines of steel with the tool that the artisan is firmly holding with left hand. The art of embedding the golden thread of 24 kts on properly prepared steel, being elaborated with the greatest possible perfection, while the craftsman will patiently embedding the precious metal to complete a design drawing of great artistic beauty.
Once gold embedding has been completed, the craftsman proceeds to firmly fix to the steel through a flat head tool resting on the steel and gold, while a special hammer hits rhythmically carefully controlling the weight. The open lines made with the blade on the damascene steel when the operation started, are now being evenly closed with the blow of the hammer while holding the gold embedded at the same tieme, forming a unique body with the steel, and regaining completely flat top surface like at the begining.
The pieces once damascened undergo chemical oxidation or blued, slowly submerging into a special liquid at high temperature, which transforms the steel gray into an intensely black color, highlighting the embedded yellow gold. Apart from highlighting the color of gold 24 kts. on black velvet background steel, it guarantee the indefinite preservation of its finish so typical of this unique damascene art.
The last operation is performed with a burnishing tool that the craftsman gently applied to the embedded gold to give it sufficient brightness to contrast it from the rest of parts with matte finish.