Damascus steel is a type of steel for manufacturing of edged weapons, traditionally used in the Near East. The blades made of Damascus steel are characterized by distinctive patterns of banding and mottling reminiscent of flowing water. They are reputed to be tough, resistant to shattering and capable of being honed to a sharp, resilient edge.
The name comes from Damascus, the capital city of Syria and refers either to blades made in this area or to typical patterns of blade decoration. The art crafted blades from Damascus steel became legendary not only for the exceptional quality and the beauty of the patterns, but for that the original technique for controlled thermal cycling after the initial forging at a specific temperature has been lost in time.
Nowadays we have only attempts to duplicate the quality of the metal but due to differences in raw materials and manufacturing techniques it is hard to reach such a result. Certain types of modern steel outperform these edged weapons, but they don’t have the plasticity and hardness of the Damascus knife.
Although the modern attempts to achieve the qualities of the legendary Damascus knives are away from the original, the patterned blades are thought to be exquisite piece of art in weapon making.