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When Jeweling got started it was functional. Bare, polished steel will not hold oil and will rust in short order. Jeweling was a way to etch the surface a bit to allow the oil something to hold onto. Now-a-days, Jewling is primarily a cosmetic treatment steeped in tradition. Modern steels can be made that will be strong enough for a rifle bolt but have sufficient rust resistance to stay nice.
 

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I believe it was basically designed to create a surface that would hold lubricant longer - but that was back when we didn't know as much about building top quality firearms, and we didn't have CNC machining for tighter tolerances to keep crap out of the action.

Now, I think it's probably in the category of "pretty" and "Bling-Bang",which translates into kind of a waste of money, as opposed to something that is necessary...

JD
 

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I always wondered what that was called. I've seen it before on some of the higher end bolt-action rifles, I know a guy that has a .338 Lupua Magnum with a jeweled bolt. I think it looks pretty cool.
 
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