Just what exactly is damascus steel? The word conjures up all
kinds of connotations ranging from extremely beautiful to almost
magical - even indestructable, when fused with diamond dust, supposedly!
In truth, damascus is just steel. It has no magical properties
and is not indestructible, nor is there any "diamond dust" in
it (in any case, if you did put diamond in, it would just dissolve
into the steel as regular carbon, it would not impart any special
The damascus of legend was also known as Wootz
or Bulat and was a very high carbon crucible teelsteel. Bits of
steel and iron and carbon are placed in a ceramic crucible and
heated at very high temperatures until it all fused together.
The high carbon content (usually above 2% - most steels used have
less than 1% carbon) forms a lot of carbides, which precipitate
out, forming lines on the surface of the steel. It is these lines
of carbides that create the "watering" effect that damascus is
so famous for.