Milgrain engraving could be the detail you don’t want to forget. Sometimes you barely see it, and yet if you have your custom wedding ring made and it’s not there you could feel like something is missing. My clients have commented frequently that milgrain engraving is that one tiny detail that gives a big impact to their forever ring.
Milgrain Engraving Defined
I’ve been asked, what is milgrain engraving? Literally, it translates to “a thousand grains.” Milgrain can be spelled with either one “l” or two. Regardless of spelling, milgrain is a row of tiny beads or hemispheres along the edge or boundary of a section of jewelry.
Often, you’ll see it all along the outer edges of band rings.
Milgrain Has History
Milgrain has a history. It’s been used as a jewelry decoration in many different cultures for thousands of years. Milgrain comes in different sizes. You are more likely to be aware of the larger milgrain engraving examples with their visible detail.
When you run into a super small milgrain edge, you need to run your fingernail along the edge to feel it. Clients have said to me, “I don’t know why, but I like this one better.” It’ll be a ring with such a fine milgrain that it’s not that obvious to the eye. And yet somehow we sense it.
Then there are bigger versions of milgrain, that don’t suggest vintage, yet are super appealing, like the ring to the above.
Three Ways Milgrain is Made
There are three different methods of incorporating milgrain into a piece of jewelry:
1. Tiny balls can be fabricated and individually soldered onto a piece.
2. A knurling—or milgraining—tool can be rolled over a metal surface creating a row of bumps and depressions, after which they are rounded, smoothed, and polished.
3. Computers are used to draw milgrain in a CAD (Computer Aided Design) creating the program to carve the subsequent wax with milgrain details.
Milgrain Engraving and Jewelry Restoration
When older inherited rings come to me for repair, sizing and restoration, I frequently suggest we restore the missing milgrain engraving.
Many people who have inherited antique rings don’t know that they used to have this detail.
We turn to milgrain engraving to bring back the feel of the era that your ring came from. Restoring period-appropriate engraving designs and milgrain edging makes a big impact on your older or inherited piece of jewelry.
Most importantly when you restore the old world engraving, you get to see what your ring looked like when your Grandfather gave it to your Grandmother. See Carole’s Milgrain re-engraving blog post.
Milgrain Engraving or a Plain Edge?
Why milgrain? Why not just leave the outer rim of the ring smooth and shiny? Milgrain engraving can add an antique feel to your jewelry. Other times, milgrain suggests artistry and hand craftsmanship. Sometimes…it just looks cool!
In the picture above, you can compare either milgrain edging or high-polish edging on two similar rings. Let your eyes tell you whether you gravitate toward one or the other.
It’s Like a Picture Frame
Like a picture frame surrounding a painting, milgrain engraving is a design element used to set off—or frame—certain elements of jewelry design, like gemstones or swirly hand engraving.
When I propose a pretty hand engraved design for a piece of jewelry, I like frame it with the milgrain edging.
What’s the Takeaway Message Here?
Whether you’re designing a special ring from the bottom up, or are wanting to infuse some old world beauty into your existing ring, think about including milgrain engraving.
My Milgrain Video
With more pictures, choices and information check out my video.
You Can Call Me!
Are you curious about milgrain, and how it might it work for you? Call me and let’s talk about it. (805)963-4157.
Your Personal Jeweler,
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