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Amazing Jewelry with Milgrain Embellishment

Milgrain Jewelry


Most people have never heard the word milgrain but jewelry lovers will recognize this decorative accent—it’s the beading detail that embellishes much antique, or antique-style, jewelry. Sometimes spelled millegrain, French for “thousand grains,” it’s commonly seen on rings and other jewelry from the first half of the twentieth century. But this antique style is thoroughly modern now that milgrain is appearing on contemporary jewelry, giving new pieces that sought after vintage feel.

All About Milgrain

rosabel ring

Milgrain detail often appears along the edges of rings, but can be used to bring texture and adornment to any part of a piece of jewelry. It is sometimes made by creating tiny beads of precious metal and then soldering them to the jewelry, but milgrain can also be created with a tool that molds a metal surface into a beaded pattern, or (as is common today) designed on a computer and 3D-printed into a jewelry mold. When it surrounds gemstones, milgrain serves as a sort of frame, highlighting the beauty of the gems at its center.

Antique Jewelry with Milgrain

Nathalia ring

Milgrain is one of the characteristics of antique jewelry that gives it a hand-crafted, carefully detailed feel. You’ll find milgrain on many of the pieces in Brilliant Earth’s antique collection, especially those from the Art Nouveau and Art Deco eras.

New Jewelry with Antique Style


At Brilliant Earth we love milgrain so much that we designed a whole collection showcasing this antique effect. Our Belle Époque collection evokes the beauty and craftsmanship of jewelry from a century ago, using milgrain detail on bezel settings to bring a romantic vintage feel to new pieces, including engagement rings, wedding bands, and earrings (even classic diamond studs).

Final Thoughts

Do you love the vintage feel of milgrain?  Let us know on Facebook or Twitter or in the comments section!

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Comments (1)

E.Murray Says:
September 24th, 2015 at 1:57 am

I have understood this technique was known to the ancient Greeks, but the skill was lost for many centuries. Do you know if this is so? There is a beautiful gold bee in the Nat. Museum in Athens that is decorated in this way