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Q & A with Matt

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By William Henry June 19, 2019

Have a question about the William Henry multiverse? Email and Matt will choose a couple to answer in this monthly forum...

Question:  What is Koftgari?

Koftgari is an ancient Persian technique for inlaying precious metal into steel.  I have an old knife that I found in a bazaar in Pakistan that features sterling silver inlaid into the forged steel blade, somewhere around 300 years old - so the history runs deep...  Today, this artform is practiced only by a handful of small shops in India, and we’ve worked with two of those shops for 20 years now.  We machine and pre-finish our parts in a high carbon tool steel, then send them to India with guidelines for the artwork, almost always rendered in 24K gold.  The work is intensive – first the artisans use a hand-scribe to create a fine raised grid pattern across the metal, then they use very fine gold wire to create the pattern over the grid.  That gold wire is then burnished, by hand, down into the grid in the steel.  As they burnish the softer gold into the grid in the steel base, they also close the grid onto the gold, capturing the gold within the surface of the steel.  This takes many burnish steps, and between each one they use a salt solution to blue/black the steel the same way you would ‘blue’ a gun.  When complete, the gold is completed sealed and captured in a darkened steel frame, built to last generations (as per my own antique described up top).  Amazing work, and we are proud to bring this ancient artform into a modern context thru our select WH offerings with Koftgari...

Question:  Where did the name William Henry come from?

When I started William Henry in 1997, I had a silent partner.  I decided to combine our middle names to create the brand – mine is William, his is Henry.  I liked the name, liked the sense of history it had, and particularly liked that it was not, in fact, a real person.  I wanted people to fall in love with the brand and the work, not a persona or individual.  Right out of the gate I had customers telling me that their grandfather had a William Henry back when, and who was I to disabuse them of this notion?  I always wanted to build a brand and products that were timeless, belonging equally to 100 years ago and 100 years into the future – William Henry seemed like the perfect name to manifest that intention...