Iron – Middle High German isen; comparable to the Celtic isara “strong, Gothic eisarn and aiz, and Latin aes
“Ore” – is a chemical element with the symbol Fe (Latin ferrum). The first traceable use of iron comes from around 4000 before Christ in Mesopotamia and Egypt. At that point, it probably had to do with genuine “other worldly” iron from meteorite crashes. Under the larger definition of “steel” one should understand a mixture of iron and carbon. This alloyed material was already being produced in the Middle East 1000 years before Christ. Knowledge about the smelting of iron ore spread throughout all of Europe until the 6th century BCE. In this process the harder steel replaced the bronze, and instruments made from this material improved food production for the growing population. The original meteorite iron was nevertheless, as long as one could obtain it, further processed because this true material, which was essentially easier to process, remained readily available. Today, this meteorite material has great value above all for collectors. Therefore, it is frequently used in processing, for example, pieces of fine jewelry. Especially suitable for this type of processing is the Damascene method, by which the material is incorporated as iron layers into the workpiece.