The term ‘milgrain’ refers to tiny metal beads that are added to fine jewellery items to create an edging or border that gives the item a vintage appeal. There are several ways to spell milgrain, with millgrain and milgrain also used, and here are a few aspects of milgrain that you need to know.
The world ‘milgrain’ means ‘thousand grains’ in French, mainly because when many grains are added to a piece of jewellery, it resembles many tiny grains. The process can use gold, silver or platinum and was first carried out by a few very skilled jewellery makers of the Edwardian period.
Two Methods Of Milgrain Finish
There are two ways to add milgrain to a jewellery item. One is through knurling, which involves a tiny wheel with cog-like impressions that imprints the grains into the metal. The other method is very time-consuming, with the jeweller carefully soldering each tiny bead onto the item of jewellery. You will see milgrain on the uniquely created Art Deco diamond rings that can be found with the online antique dealer, as this style ideally suits the Art Deco style. This finish can be created using a special laser, although, most people prefer the antique, handcrafted work.
South East Asian Origins
The milgrain effect was invented in South East Asia, where Indian and Chinese jewellery makers used this style and during the Edwardian era, this style was introduced to Europe. Due to the intricate work involved, jewellery items were considered to be more valuable.
Care Of Milgrain Jewellery
Due to the delicate nature of milgrain, it can get damaged easily and it requires special care. If you wish to clean milgrain, use a soft toothbrush and mild soapy water and gently brush the beads, rinsing with clean water. Unfortunately, milgrain can easily catch on fabric, so one must take care when wearing milgrain jewellery. There are a few jewellery makers today who can repair milgrain damage and they can be found with a Google search. After inspecting the piece, the jeweller can quote for the repairs.
Common In Antique Diamond Rings
Milgrain was extensively used to border Victorian and Edwardian diamond engagement rings, as it does look stunning, especially as a double row. If you would like to view stunning examples of diamond jewellery that uses the milgrain finish, search online for a reputable online antique dealer, where you will find some stunning examples of this attractive finish. Art Deco jewellery also utilises the milgrain finish, as it perfectly enhances the bold straight lines.
As Edwardian and Victorian jewellery is so popular now, you can expect to come across stunning examples of jewellery with milgrain finish, especially diamond engagement rings. Modern methods are also used to replicate this finish, using laser technology and while the finish is perfect, it does not have the appeal of the handcrafted version. Most people that wish to acquire jewellery with a milgrain finish turn to antique pieces.