Damascus steel is forged steel that comes out of the Middle East. It is thought to have been invented around 1100 to 1700. It is amazingly sharp and was said to be able to cut though other swords such as European swords. It is said that they can even cut though rocks. Although the recipe to make real Damascus steel is lost to history. No one really knows how it was made.
The one thing that we do know is that a steel called Wood steel. All the makers of Damascus steel use this steel as a base for their swords or knives. This Wood steel comes from India and Sri Lanka. Later it started to spread to Persia. Then in the 3rd century India started to ship steel to the Middle East and continued in tell the 17th century.
The general term “Damascus” refers to metal with a visible grain pattern, sometimes with a texture. Modern Damascus is a lamination of folded steels selected with cosmetic qualities, with grinding and polishing specifically to expose layers. True Damascus patterns are formed when carbon trace elements form visible swirls in the steel mix. These elements change properties when the steel is work hardened (forged), creating patterns.
There are several other ways of making steel with patterns in them. One of them is just Wood steel. Wood steel is often sold as Damascus steel. Watered steel is steel that makes patters in it. Which is steel that is made in Japan. Damascus, Wood, and Watered steel are the most common ways to make steel with patterns in them today.
One of the properties of Damascus steel Sword is that it was very hard and strong, but at the same time very flexible which would have been a huge advantage over other swords of the time. One way that this is thought to have been achieved is alternating hard bands of iron with softer more flexible bands of iron giving you the best of both worlds. Another thought is that they were made with a small amount of vanadium. This might have been what gave Damascus steel its amazing strength now how it got the name is still a matter of opinion.
Most people would think that the reason that they are called Damascus is that that is where they are made. There is a thought that they might be named after that man that first made them. It is thought that the man that first made the Damascus steel is in faced named Damashqu, and that is where they got there legendary name. This steel was originally made using ore from a mine. This ore had a certain chemical composition, and well for lack of a better word this mine was mind tell it was empty, so they just ran out of the material used to make the steel. To attempt to artificially create this chemical composition would be very difficult.