This week’s selection is “Jewellery: From Art Nouveau to 3D Printing” by Alba Cappellieri.
Cappellieri is well known in jewelry design circles, being a Professor of Jewelry Design at Politecnico di Milano, teaching jewelry design at Stanford, and involved in many other jewelry design-related projects worldwide. She knows jewelry design, most definitely.
This book is not specifically about 3D printing, but instead focuses on the design aspects of jewelry in general.
Cappellieri traces the evolution of jewelry design from the early 20th century to the present day. Over such a time period you will certainly understand that multiple making technologies have been employed to produce all notable jewelry designs.
But towards the end of the tome, there is mention of 3D printing approaches to producing jewelry, which have been dramatically increasing in the past few years.
Why has this happened? I think there are two factors driving adoption of 3D printing in the jewelry design world.
First, the process of producing jewelry using 3D techniques is straightforward, repeatable and precise. Designers use 3D modeling software to produce digital designs, which can then be 3D printed in perfectly correct dimensions and geometry.
Typically, jewelry designers will 3D print their design in a wax or wax-like material, and then use the lost-wax process to transform the design into an actual metal jewelry piece.
Secondly, as has been observed and leveraged in several other industries, 3D modeling and 3D printing enable the designer to produce creations that could not easily be made using conventional tools. This capability opens up infinite possibilities for new types of design, and obviously should stimulate the imaginations of jewelry designers everywhere.
If I were to add a third factor, it would be that the price of entry to using 3D techniques by jewelry designers has been dropping significantly. It’s now possible for even small jewelry operations to obtain the necessary software, hardware and materials to begin producing 3D printed jewelry.
What will you find in this book? Here’s the relevant quote:
“Conceived of as an ideal gallery of the masterpieces of 20th-century jewelry, this volume proceeds chronologically. It begins with the Art Nouveau masterpieces of Lalique, Vever and Fouquet, followed by the Art Deco elegance of Cartier, Boucheron, Tiffany, Mario Buccellati and Fabergé. After World War II, Van Cleef & Arpels and Bulgari’s whimsical inventions of the 1950s share space with the designs of the Dutch avant-garde and the artist’s jewels of the 1960s. The book closes with the new millennium, with the intermingling of art and design and the introduction of new technologies like 3D printing, wearable technology and new modes of distribution and communication.”
So it is a bit of history and, by implication, a lot of inspiration. If you’re interested in jewelry design for 3D printing, this may be a book to consider.