Tamahagane, translated in English as the "Jewel" or "Precious" steel, is a Japanese type of steel made after an old, traditional method.
This legendary steel was most prized and used for centuries to forge the best samurai swords. It's renowned qualities are extreme sharpness and excellent edge retention.
Tamahagane can be obtained only using the traditional process, after up to 3 days of continuous work, smelting a type of iron sand specific to Shimane prefecture in a furnace called Tatara.
There are 3 grades of Tamahagane steel. The pure or 1st grade Tamahagane was produced in an amount of 355kg in 2001 and this number was slowly decreasing over the years. The production is strictly regulated and supervised by the Japanese government.
There is a limited access to reserve and only registered blacksmiths can participate at the auction. It is mostly used by the sword makers, but rarely we can find razors, carpentry tools or knives made with Tamahagane steel.
The regulation also includes the usages of 玉鋼 stamp. Only the blades made with authentic Tamahagane that is produced after traditional method are allowed to be marked with this stamp.
This way you can be 100% sure that if you have a blade stamped 玉鋼(Tamahagane) or 純玉鋼(Pure Tamahagane) it was made by a registered blacksmith with the most precious of the Japanese steels.