Oct 23, 2017 | By Tess

Paola Valentini, an Italian jewelry designer based in Paris, has been awarded the top design prize for a 3D printed jewelry contest organized by the Comité Francéclat, a French committee for professionals in the jewelry making industry. Valentini received the distinction for a cuff bracelet 3D printed from rose gold.

(Image: Sebastien Bozon / AFP)

The Comité Francéclat launched its “les bijoux s’impriment en or” contest this past spring, inviting jewelry designers and jewelry design students to imagine and create a piece of gold jewelry made using 3D printing technologies.

The main challenge of the contest was to design a complex piece of jewelry which could be made without any assembly. To create a piece of fine jewelry, in other words, whose design would be difficult or impossible to realize using traditional manufacturing processes such as lost-wax casting or molding.

3D printed bracelet by Paola Valentini (left), 3D printed pendant by student designer Johan Poizat (right)

(Image: Comité Francéclat)

After going through the contest’s many submissions, the jewelry committee recently announced Paola Valentini as the winner of its Design Prize and Johan Poizat as the winner of its Student Prize.

The additive manufacturing technology used to produce the gold jewelry was developed by a team at Francéclat. Located in Besançon, a city in eastern France, the gold-processing 3D printer has been used to create a number of items, including rings, bracelets, and pendants.

(Image: Sebastien Bozon / AFP)

"We really started from scratch: it took us several years to find the right parameters and quality standards corresponding to the profession,” explained Pascal Hély, the technical director of Francéclat. “It was necessary to determine the temperature of the laser, the composition of the ‘atomized’ gold powder and the hygrometry of the piece.”

The 3D printing technique allows for complex pieces of jewelry to be made, and can create forms like interlocking rings in a single print.

(Image: Sebastien Bozon / AFP)

The bracelet designed by Paola Valentini was 3D printed using approximately 3.5 kilograms of gold powder and took roughly 12 hours to create. The stunning piece is reportedly made up of over two thousand layers of gold, printed at a thickness of 15 microns each. To melt the gold powder into the layers, a laser reaching temperatures of 1,700 degrees celsius was needed.

The final piece, which weighs 64 grams, is an elegant bracelet made of polished rose gold. The wavy texture of the bracelet’s links evokes an almost musical feeling, and it can be clasped and unclasped using an integrated mechanism.

(Image: Comité Francéclat)

Looking to the future, Hély hopes to introduce the novel 3D printing technology to manufacturing companies with the aim of having them invest in the 3D printer. The technology currently costs about 200,000 euros.

“There are skeptics in the [jewelry] profession, but it's enough to see the jewelry that can be made," Hély said. "This technology is not going to replace traditional techniques, but it will open new horizons."



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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