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You’ve looked through a bunch of diamond engagement rings, but nothing has that “je ne sais quoi” you want in a ring you’re going to wear for the rest of your life. Enter: milgrain.
Adding a bit of milgrain to your engagement ring can completely transform it from an average, run-of-the-mill piece to one that’s unique (and maybe even a little antique). But wait: What is milgrain? Though you’re probably not familiar with the term, milgrain has been a popular jewelry style for over 100 years. Here’s everything you need to know about milgrain — and how to find the perfect style for your find.
Milgrain (sometimes spelled millgrain or milgraine) is a jewelry-detailing technique where tiny metal beads are added, typically to create an ornate border. The popularity of milgrain peaked during the Art Deco era of the 1930s, but the style first took shape thousands of years ago in Asia when craftsman would painstakingly adorn the tiny metal beads to the jewelry’s design by hand.
The close attention to detail is why milgrain was the go-to jewelry style throughout the first half of the 20th century. Creating a piece with milgrain took a ton of time — and that time spent showed the recipient just how deeply the giver loved and cared (seriously: who wouldn’t feel loved if they received jewelry that took hours and hours to make?).
While most jewelry with milgrain typically falls under the “antique” category, it’s becoming more popular again. The reason: It can really set your jewelry apart — and today’s technology (like 3D printing) makes creating the milgrain style easier than ever. Now you can shop for antique style engagement rings without hunting down an original just for the look.
Back in the day, milgrain was typically used to create a border around the outer edge of the ring band to create a more personalized look. These days? Milgrain is used to either give a modern texture to jewelry, or a vintage feel to modern ring styles.
Modern milgrain engagement ring style still includes borders down the band and sides, like the Pave and Milgrain Diamond Engagement Ring and Accent Milgrain Cathedral Diamond Engagement Ring.
Not your style? You can opt for a milgrain style that surrounds the pave diamonds on a halo setting. The Milgrain Flower Halo Diamond Engagement Ring is one — of many — of this style that we love.
Adding milgrain to your engagement ring doesn’t necessarily increase the price. Other aspects of the ring — including the quality of the diamond and the metal used in the setting — typically have a much bigger impact on the overall ring price.
Take the Knife Edge Milgrain Diamond Engagement Ring, for example. The intricate milgrain design makes it look unique — and really expensive. In reality? The Duet Pave Engagement Ring is very similar for about the same price (in fact, the Duet Pave Engagement Ring is actually slightly more expensive).
While every milgrain-adorned ring won’t necessarily be this similar in price, you’ll find that the style won’t break your engagement ring budget.
Today’s milgrain can be everything from a subtle detail to an eye-catching focal point — and it instantly gives a bit of vintage, art-deco style to your ring. Combining modern elements with milgrain is a stylish (and cost-effective) way to add personality to your ring — and set you apart from everyone else. It's worth noting that there are other metal work design details you can get on your rings. Milgrain is the most popular of them, but you can also opt for filigree or etching.
Not sure how to find the right milgrain style for your budget? Our expert gemologists can walk you through the engagement ring-buying process and find the milgrain style that fits your dreams — and your wallet.
Pave and milgrain diamond engagement ring
starting at: $750
Heirloom milgrain diamond engagement ring
starting at: $820
Vintage side diamond engagement ring
starting at: $1,000
Knife edge milgrain diamond engagement ring
Vintage milgrain diamond engagement ring
Milgrain is a jewelry-detailing technique where tiny metal beads are added, typically to create an ornate border. It lends an antique and vintage touch to the design.
Milgrain can be used anywhere on an engagement ring but is mainly used to create a border around the outer edge of the band.
No, adding milgrain will not necessarily increase the price of your engagement ring. It’s simply a design element that can enhance the look of your ring. The final price of your engagement ring will depend on the weight, quality, the number of diamonds used as well as the metal.
Milgrain detailing infuses the ring with a vintage/art-deco style appeal. Combining modern elements with milgrain is a stylish way to enhance the overall look of the piece.
We’ll have our experts search three personalized diamond suggestions to fit your tastes and budget.