According to my husband, Spain is the place to go in Europe if you want a souvenir sword. If you want more than just a souvenir, but a finely crafted blade, look no further than Toledo. But don’t worry. Toledo offers more than just finely crafted blades. Jewelry, plates, and other decorative pieces of damasquinado crafted by hand also beckon travelers to this amazing place.
Very close to the cathedral in Toledo is the store run by the Mariano Zamoraňo’s family. Mariano Zamoraňo Fábrica de Espadas y Armas Blancas is a fascinating place, even if you are not interested in making any purchases. On one side, you can find artisans creating damasquinado. Our children were enthralled with the detailed and delicate work, creating a design on blackened steel with a delicate thread of gold. The artisan we watched spoke only Spanish, but was happy to tell us all about his craft. We were able to watch him create a bird and flower pattern using a thin strand of gold. He showed us what the blackened Damascus steel looks like before applying the gold design. Then we watched as he quickly and expertly used a small tool to press the gold onto the steel. The gold shone brightly against the stark background. I think I fell in love with damasquinado while watching it being crafted. My girls were thrilled to leave the store with their own piece of damasquinado jewelry. I have to say, I was thrilled to leave the store with my own piece (or two) of damasquinado jewelry.
On the other side of the store, they sell what are, according to our guidebook, the best swords in Spain. Swords of all shapes and sized adorn the walls. The shopkeepers are very friendly, and invited us to go in the back workshop to see a sword being sharpened.
I love to see the process of how things are made. It’s quite impressive to think how lumps of metal through skill and hard work are crafted into beautiful swords! If you are interested in artisan crafts, be sure to visit Toledo!