Is vitally important. When we talk about Damascene, we are talking about handcrafted jewels with designs composed of gold and silver embedded into metal such as steel. Toledo is known for its steel as well, but this is not the only city that keeps on making handcrafted damascene jewels, Kyoto in Japan, also has a history for it.
History says that probably the damascene was first practiced by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, but it developed into a high art thanks to the people in Damascus, Syris, before Christ, at least more than 2000 years ago. When the Moors conquered nearly the entire peninsula of what was then Spain, they brought Damascene art work with them introducing it into Spain and perhaps the catholic countries. Even before that, the Japanese brought the whole idea to Japan from Damascus via the Silk Road. Nowadays it seems like Damascene art work has dissapeared from the Middle East as there is no prominent maker located in that part of the globe.
This kind of ornamentation, applicable to all kinds of art objects, was practiced since ancient times among the Egyptians, the Greeks and Romans, as we already said before, but it gained great development in the East since the Roman Empire moved to Byzantium. Then it started to be applied on luxury armor and weapons in Europe from the late fifteenth century: Specially them from Carlos I and Felipe II.
During the Renaissance and Baroque, damascene evolved as an accessory for jewelry and silverware, performing at this period large number of cabinets, coffins and jewellery boxes . The Toledo damascene in particular became strong during the nineteenth century as the factory of coat of arms of “Santa Bárbara“, founded by King Carlos III, started promoting it.
The technique is very complicated, the development of a decorated plate, for example, takes about 25 hours of uninterrupted craftsfam work, but all depends on the type of damascene in question. Toledo is currently a major focus of damascene production in the world. We at Greco Barcelona respect history and learn from it in order to understand even more what we are trying to sell.