What is Damascus Steel and what isn’t it?
A little history is in order.
The term “Damascus Steel” can properly be applied to two separate types of steel.
Wootz Damascus steel became famous in the middle ages and was formed from a unique ore, which was most probably mined in India and shipped to the area of Damascus Syria where smiths produced swords from it. This is the etymology of the term “Damascus Steel”.
These blades became renowned for their relatively high quality and beautiful patterns, which were naturally formed on the blades during production. However, the iron ore and techniques used to produce these blades were unfortunately lost to the ages and today one will likely only encounter this type of Damascus Steel in a museum.
Damascus Pattern-Welded Steel
The Damascus steel used by Regalia knives and all genuine Damascus Steel on the market today belong to this type of Damascus steel. Much like the fabled Samurai swords of old which were formed by folding metal over itself, pattern-welded steel is formed through layering varying alloys of steel one atop the other, twisting or manipulating them to form a pattern, and joining them together through intense heat and pressure. Through proper polishing or acid washing, the latent patterns inherent in the metal are revealed. This technique has been practiced since at least the 3rd century AD notably by the Celts and Vikings and many others after. It has been termed Damascus Steel since the middle ages.
Beware of Fake “Damascus Steel” Knives: Many so-called Damascus steel knives on the market today are not made from actual Damascus steel at all. Usually cheaply made, the patterns that they display are simply stamped, etched, or laser engraved on the blade in the same way a brand logo is. These knives are usually titled “Damascus style” or “Damascus pattern” knives which can be confusing or even misleading.