Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Damascus Turquoise Inlay Ring

I’d like to make a Damascus inlay ring from a piece of bar stock. I’ve made wood rings with liners on my wood lathe and ready to jump on my mini metal lathe.

The issue I’m wondering about, haven’t started yet, is about the finish process.

I know that I’m going to have to etch back the pattern in the steel with muriatic acid or another type of acid and then do a light 800 to 1000 grit sandpaper to bring out the contrast.

Where I’m stuck is can I inlay the turquoise before that?

Do I wait until I inlay the turquoise and it cures overnight and then put the ring in the acid again because all my sanding and buffing just took away all the Damascus contrast pattern that was showing?

Maybe my biggest concern is can the turquoise after it’s sanded and buffed/polished survive the 40 minute to an hour soak in the acid?

Thank you for anyone who may know

Turquoise is a very porous and relatively soft stone. It is also highly susceptible to chemical attack. Turquoise should never be put into any kind of acid or alkaline solution, not even something as mild as citric acid pickle.
Neither should turquoise be allowed contact with any kind of oil. If you examine an old turquoise bead necklace you will see that the beads have turned green where they have been in contact with the wearer’s skin. This discoloration is from the stone absorbing natural skin oils.
Turquoise is delicate. Treat it with care.

Etch the damascus first. Do your turquoise inlay, and finish the ring. Once completed and the damascus needs touched up, carefully mask off the turquoise. Clear nail polish works well. Once the mask is dried, carefully use a Q tip with the ferric chloride, or whatever your etch, to touch up the areas that need re etched. You may need to go over it a couple of times to get the etch that you want.
When finished, clean up and neutralize the etch, remove the nail polish with acetone, and you are done. I use that technique on my damascus knives when using ivory or light woods, even stabilized wood. Don’t use colored nail polish as the material being masked may pick up a little of the dye.