August 18, 2019 3 min read

Damascus steel is a famous type of steel identifiable by the unique water like wavy patterns in the finished product, resulting in both light and dark line-pattern throughout the metal blade.


“Please, can you help me understand all of these Damascus steel scissors I keep seeing? Are they any better than normal scissors?"

Miya-John Damascus Hairdressing Scissors

What Exactly is Damascus Steel? 

The steel is named after the capital city of Damascus, located in what is now known as Syria. In Ancient times Damascus was one of the largest cities in the ancient Levant, a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean. The name Damascus steel can have two meanings depending on who you talk to, It may refer to either sword forged or sold in the city of Damascus directly, or more commonly the remarkable patterns seen on the finished product. In the latter interpretation, Damascus steel refers to the similarity in the patterns the steel has to damask fabric.

Damask fabric


Unfortunately, the original method of making Damascus steel has been long lost and the source material along with it, “wootz”, a type of steel originally made in India over two thousand years ago. The method for making wootz was lost in the 1700s, therefore no source material equals no forging authentic Damascus steel. Although scientific research has tried to reverse engineering wootz and in practices replicate Damascus steel, no such research lab has been successful to date.

Then How is Damascus Steel made Today?

The art form has resurfaced thanks to the 1973 bladesmith William F. Moran. William unveiled his “Damascus knives” at the Knifemakers’ Guild Show and since then the modern technique of pattern-welded steel was adopted.

Hairdressing scissors and other modern products are instead made fromPattern-Welded Damascus Steel. Although not “true Damascus steel, pattern-welded Damascus bears the watery pattern all the way through the metal and possess many of the same characteristics of the original Damascus steel.

Pattern-welded Damascus Steel is crafted by layering iron/steel and forging them together via intense hammering at high temperature. A flux seals the joint creating a vacuum seal from oxygen. The processes of welding multiple layers together in such a fashion produce the desired watery effect characteristic of this type of “Damascus steel”. No two Damascus scissors are alike, In fact, each shear is one of a kind, much like human fingerprints! 

Miya-John Damascus Steel Hairdressing Scissors


Does This Reduce The Quality Of the Scissors? 


The short answer is no. Damascus steel was revolutionary for its time, however, modern techniques are far superior to what an individual could accomplish 2000 years ago. As with any shear, quality is largely determined by how much it costs. True professional brand Damascus steel is of the highest quality. Unfortunately, cheap knockoff stuff from Pakistan and India shows up on eBay, Wish and Amazon. Therefore, well-made Damascus scissors will stay sharp for longer than most production quality scissors, however like everything in life the more you spend the better quality product you will receive.  


Does This Reduce The Quality Of the Scissors? 


The short answer is no. Damascus steel was revolutionary for its time, however, modern techniques are far superior to what an individual could accomplish 2000 years ago. As with any shear, quality is largely determined by how much it costs. True professional brand Damascus steel is of the highest quality. Unfortunately, cheap knockoff stuff from Pakistan and India shows up on eBay, Wish and Amazon. Therefore, well-made Damascus scissors will stay sharp for longer than most production quality scissors, however like everything in life the more you spend the better quality product you will receive.  

Miya Japanese Damascus Steel

One of Japan Scissors' most popular Damascus steel scissors is made by Miya using high quality Japanese steel and quality offset designs for Japanese, Australian, and New Zealand hairdressers. Click here to see more about Miya Damascus steel.

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