Technology and sustainability are a significant focus of jewelry design and manufacturing. We are sure that 2022 will bring a revolution in jewelry design.
The lines between sculpture and jewelry will blur with a shift in emphasis to creativity, rather than just precious material content. This will lead to a rise in demand for sustainable, environmentally conscious, and beautiful jewels.
Technology will also be at the forefront of technology’s agenda. Printing jewels directly from CAD files on precious metal will result in lightweight, voluminous jewels. Some of these jewels can be printed with gemstones.
Following luxury fashion’s lead, the boldest brands will make the leap into digital technology with non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and blockchain technology.
Additive Manufacturing (AM), or Laser Metal Fusion, is a 3-D printing process that can create a complete piece of jewelry using a bed of atomized metal powder. This reduces the number of steps required and minimizes waste. Lightweight platinum jewels can now be printed with embedded gemstones or precise spaces.
A pioneer is Boltenstern in Vienna, Austria. Boltenstern in Vienna, Austria, was a family-owned jeweler. However, the founder’s daughter Marie Boltenstern is an architect and digital technology expert who brought printing to the company. Marie explains that the collections are computer-designed and are based on mathematical codes. Most are printed as complete jewels, including closures. Some collections even have gemstones set during the printing process. These pieces do not require polishing. Marie says, “Our goal is to establish a decentralized printing-on-demand model with zero waste, low stock, and a personalized customer journey.”
Nuovi Gioielli in Italy creates and markets a consumer brand, and they also print collections for brands overseas. LMF allows us to create lightweight, yet dense structures with completely closed hollow volumes, articulated and moveable parts, and very lightweight, while still voluminous. Damiano Carlesso says we work primarily in platinum, palladium, and yellow gold. The company also has its printers and in-house design.
He says that Metalpixel, Nuovi’s new precious metal “fabric,” is a great way to recreate the art of jewelry adornment and bridge the gap between fashion and jewelry.
Tom Rucker, a designer innovator, uses printed platinum components to create bespoke jewels. C. Hafner GmbH + Co, a German metals specialist, helps him to create components with their proprietary atomized precious metallic powders.
Hafner provides a printing service for designers and works closely with them to achieve the best results. The company’s 950 PlatinGold is a highly-visible white alloy that has an ultra-fine microstructure that enhances the brilliance and shine of polished surfaces. The company recently introduced 950 Platin S, a superior strength alloy that is ideal for heavy wear components and filigree designs.
Silvia Weidenbach (German designer) was embracing 3D printing for jewelry while studying at London’s Royal College of Art and then later at the Victoria and Albert Museum. She created a unique material called Moondust that allows her to print large pieces of jewelry. She embellishes them with gold and gemstones.
Kinetics and Wearable Art
A well-known London designer, John Moore loves to decorate his clients with carefully designed light sculptures made from various materials. He collaborates with scientists to create pieces that respond to stimuli, such as sound and gesture. To create wearable objects from thrown porcelain, he works with a well-known ceramicist. He shares that he believes designers and consumers will choose non-precious and lab-grown stones, putting the health and well-being of the planet first. “I believe artists and consumers will place greater importance on artistic merit than the materials used.”
Denmark’s Sarah Mullertz is the founder of Kinraden. She says: “As more people focus on sustainability and intrinsic ethical value, they will want meaningful jewelry that’s not just decorative.”
Sarah uses only three materials. She used 18-karat and sterling gold, mostly from old technology products, and offcuts of Mpingo heartwood, which is primarily used in the production of classical clarinets. The wood was sourced from a WWF-protected forest in Tanzania. We realized that it could be cut like diamonds because it is the hardest wood in the world. So we cut our living diamonds in Denmark with traditional diamond cutting machinery. This allows us to create Brilliants and Cushions and old European cuts, each with their expression.
Simone Faurschou, a Copenhagen designer, is also interested in fairminded gold as well as lab-grown diamonds. However, she used them to create a bridge between fine jewelry design and digital cryptography. She launched the limited-edition Blockchain collection in September. It includes 12 pairs of necklaces as well as NFTs. The NFTs can be found on Known Origin, a cryptocurrency platform for artists. Hers is the first NFT for jewelry, and it is listed as an NFT PLUS, which means that it includes a physical wearable item.
“I believe we are at a turning point in technology, art, design and that the possibilities for all three are increasing every day. Both the digital and physical worlds can coexist and should not be treated as separate entities. While technology has its own language and can connect to our heritage and knowledge of jewelry, it requires respect for being unique.