Lee Downey Fire Agate Buckle
This buckle features a hand-wrought sterling silver base, fire agate centerpiece set upon jet in a silver bezel, and mokume gane border patterning. Fire agate is classified as a semi-precious stone—for now—but its beautiful colors and limited availability (it’s only found in parts of the southwestern U.S. and central & northern Mexico) may change that before long. Its natural coloration is an iridescent rainbow pattern somewhat similar to opal and mother of pearl, though it’s blessed with greater natural durability. Mokume gane, Japanese for “wood grain metal,” is an alloying technique that fuses several layers of precious metals to produce beautiful multi-color blending and rippling patterns. At first glance the resultant metal may resemble Damascus steel, but a closer look reveals a greater depth of color and a more organic, flowing sort of pattern than the folded layers of Damascene steel.