Sep 9, 2015 | By Kira

From precious family heirlooms to statement pieces to symbols of eternal love, jewellery has the power to transform the way we look and feel. But can 3D printing transform the jewellery industry itself? Product artist Lionel T Dean believes the answer is yes, and he’s out to prove it with his latest project Precious. The UK-based collaboration between software, art, and industrial design aims to demonstrate the viability of precious metal additive manufacturing within the UK jewellery industry. Five UK companies have teamed up for the project, including software provider Delcam, precious metal supplier Cooksongold, and Dean’s own studio FutureFactories. The first collection of 18 carat 3D printed gold pieces has been unveiled at the Birmingham City University’s School of Jewellery.

Dean, who describes himself as “somewhere between an artist and a traditional industrial designer,” has made it his mission to modernize the UK jewellery industry with 3D printing techniques. While many jewellery manufacturers have taken advantage of 3D printing technology to create inexpensive moulds and generate intricate geometrical shapes, he says they have been reluctant to start printing directly with metal, and are missing a major opportunity. “Additive manufacturing with metal allows you to create forms that would be almost impossible to create by conventional means,” he said. To demonstrate this point, the first series in the Precious collection were designed to “exploit the freedoms of additive manufacture.”

Of course, there is a reason why even early-adopters within the jewellery industry have stayed away from printing with metal. The raw materials are expensive, and standard laser-sintering machines have high wastage ratios. “Regular laser-sintering machines have lots of cavities and places where powder can get trapped or lost,” explained Dean. “Obviously with the high value of gold powder, it’s important to capture every speck of material.” To solve this problem, Cooksongold and EOS developed their own laser-sintering machine, the Precious M 080, designed for use specifically for gold.

The M 080 Direct Metal Laser Sintering System by EOS and Cooksongold

The pieces within the collection range from the delicate latticework of the Twist pendant and Orbis ring with customizable gemstones, to a gold bangle that incorporates elements from an outdated yet cherished family heirloom. That’s right—not only can they design wonderfully unique contemporary pieces, they can even transform your great-grandmother’s un-wearable brooch into a fashionable hit.

As shown in the video below, another interesting piece from the collection is called Heartbeat. Customers, including couples or family members, can physically manipulate a sheet metal heart and then have their unique creation scanned and 3D-printed into a personalized pendant. Since a solid gold piece would be much to heavy and expensive, the scanning process allows the shape to be hollowed out, and the 3D printer can create extremely thin yet sturdy walls.

While jewellery manufacturers in the UK are just starting to experiment with precious metal additive manufacturing, Dean hopes the Precious project can be launched as a commercial package to motivate the industry as a whole. Once consumers see the kinds of unique, customizable, and drop dead gorgeous creations available, it’s unlikely they’ll want to go back to the limits of traditional production techniques. “3D printing will reshape the landscape of the jewellery industry as designers get to grips with the capabilities of digital technologies and master the skills to harness them.”

In addition to Delcam, CooksonGold and FutureFactories, the Precious consortium includes the Jewellery Industry Innovation Centre and Finishing Techniques LTD. The entire project is sponsored by Innovate UK, which aims to accelerate economic growth by stimulating and supporting business-led innovation.



Posted in 3D Printing Applications



Maybe you also like:


ravi chaudhary wrote at 10/29/2016 6:47:08 PM:

what is the price of 22k gold powder for making 3d printed jewellery by dmls method ? what is the price of 3d printer ? thanks

Aniket Vichare wrote at 8/31/2016 7:02:39 AM:

I have already heard about 3D printed jewellery, but I didn’t know that it is now getting famous in UK as well as all round the world. The article gave me a good insight about the gold made 3D printed products.

Aniket Vichare wrote at 8/16/2016 10:06:06 AM:

I am a fashion designer and was looking for some unique 3D jewellery designs on the internet. This piece of blog is simply excellent and gave me plenty of ideas for 3D jewellery. Then I purchased best quality products from the MakeWhale online company. They are impressive!

Leave a comment:

Your Name:


Subscribe us to Feeds twitter facebook   

About provides the latest news about 3D printing technology and 3D printers. We are now seven years old and have around 1.5 million unique visitors per month.

News Archive