Milgrain: In the Details
It is natural for us, as a progressive people that can either bend or break with the evolving times, to want to observe and understand more of what is around us as part of a “bigger picture.” We can look at an art piece that, to a majority, astounds and awes and walk away from it accepting that it can do only just that (thinking big), or we can continue trying to understand why it has the ability to astound and awe (thinking small). It is then that we might discover that this “bigger picture” is comprised of smaller details that we might not have considered before as so very vital.
There are several ways in jewelry design in which designers utilize smaller details to create an ornate, bigger picture. One of these ways is to embellish the edges on a ring with the much-admired milgrain detail. The word milgrain, otherwise known as millegrain, translates to a “thousand grains” in French. As seen in a picture of our Full-Eternity Julienza rings in 14K white, rose, and yellow gold below, this style is best understood as small, beaded detail that wraps around surface edges to charmingly accent and frame the gems that those surfaces hold. It adds an interestingly softer texture (with the rounded quality of beads) and helps the overall aesthetic appeal of the final piece.
The process of constructing such detail depends on the sizing of the beads. If within certain dimensions, milgrain detail can be manufactured into a jewelry mold via 3D printer. If any smaller, they are hand-crafted with a soldering tool or by a milgrain tool that cuts into the metal surface to create the pattern.
Since its first appearances in early history, the use of milgrain detail in jewelry can now be found in places all over the world. What was once only found in antique trinkets passed down from generation to generation (a tradition with many sentimental values), is now commonly available in contemporary jewelry as a means of aging it in value, like finely aged wine, giving a newer design that classic, vintage feel for those that prefer it.