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"Antique Diamond Setting"

What you are going to view are some re-e-ally antique styles of a brooch & bracelet. I’ve always wanted to demonstrate how some of these Arte-Decos pieces, got to be ‘antiques’! This is a ‘long forgotten world’ of soldering & using a pump-drills, but as you can imagine in some countries these techniques are still being practiced? The ring that is in my ring-clamp, I was asked to literally ‘remove’ every Mein-Cut diamond. But I had the foresight in capturing it via my camera “the old-style of setting” before I did that horrific task of dismantling that beautiful ring!

Can you, imagine that long before there were any burs, the ‘setter’ had to cut out a hole with his “Bull-Stick”, as it is still known in the jewellery-centre in London, England. In fact, my teacher gave me his very own “Bull-Stick” that he used circa 1940’s, (see attachment). He had to cut the shape of each rough-shaped stone prior to mounting each & every diamond. Can you visualize that the setter had a multitude of finer gravers to use and was using two processes, namely, the ‘Rough-Cut’ then the “Bright-Cutting” prior to setting of each stone, easy? This long process to set 30 diamonds in an Eternity Ring that could take him nearly 1.5 days, start to finish! Now we can do the same ring after CAD, (maybe) one hour! By the way, flex-shaft motors didn’t come into existence till the early->mid 1940’s!!! You can see the extensive uses of “Milgrain” on every Bright-Cutting edge. Styles do change & then return.

You are looking at a bracelet in different positions, “top, side & underneath”. Also how it looks in it’s new bracelet box! I requested that my client to allow me capture this attractive bracelet before he took it away! Now you are enjoying how this “Arte-Deco” style of jewelry looks from the setters bench-pin.
Also imagine that each allocated stone had it’s own space & could not be interchanged with another stone, This is because no two stones were shaped equally!! Each hand-carved hole was created with a “Scorper” a.k.a. Graver! Now this is Diamond Setting, look how far we have advanced? Mind-boggling setting exercise, agree?


Hello Gerry,

May I ask a question please? Regarding the millgrain, how does one get the millgrain to go all the way to the wall of the next section?

my millgrain wheel hits the wall, but the millgrain only goes as far as the tangent point at the bottom of the millgrain wheel, thus leaving a short area at the end with no millgrain.

I cannot seem to figure out how to get it to go all the way…


I too, can see from the first photographs that the setter had a little
problem applying the Milgrain. He started further back and gave it a shot
right to the end of the line. He reversed the Milgrain rolling of the wheel
and came back in the other direction. Basically two ‘runs’, on one line. He
met the corners…but not starting from it!!! He might take 3-4 ‘runs’ to
get it done to what is needed or required! Hope this helps…:>?

Gerry Lewy
Toronto, Ontario.

You can use a small beading tool to reach the areas that your miligrain wheel can’t. Just find one that produces the same size beads.

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I use a Milgrain #9, this wheel-width gives you a more comfortable result ‘in the process of finishing’. If you use a smaller number, you will have a more finer Milgrain wheel. The optimum size is #9, the largest is #15.
Gerry Lewy!

Wade, genius! I wish my mind worked like yours! I strive!

Gerry, Thank you!!


When you see that somebody before did it then you know there must be a way. My best teacher has been looking at fine old jewelry and trying to figure out how something was done. And looking at my own work in comparison to work done 100 years ago and not being satisfied with how mine compares.