The Future of Jewelry: 3D Printed Gold

A new 3D printer that can create with gold promises to reshape the jewelry industry and transform how fine jewelry is made.

Already, jewelry designers have embraced 3D printing to create elaborate molds. However, because of the cost of fine metals, printing directly with gold was avoided.

Now designer Lionel T Dean has taken on the challenge to 3D print gold jewelry.

“We’re here today to launch our collection of 3D-printed gold artefacts to demonstrate to the UK jewellery industry the potential of 3D printing,” Dean explained in a video promoting his 3D printed gold collection. “Additive manufacturing with metal allows you to create forms that would be almost impossible to create by conventional means.”

Dean’s project was made possible with a special printer developed for precious metals and avoids wasted materials.

“Regular laser-sintering machines have lots of cavities and places where powder can get trapped or lost,” Dean said. “Obviously with the high value of gold powder, it’s important to capture every speck of material. The nice thing about the Precious M080 is that it’s designed specifically for gold.”

Dean said in addition to offering customized jewelry for consumers, it also allows heirloom materials to be repurposed into something new.

“The customer brings in a piece of retired jewellery that’s not fashionable to wear, yet precious to them,” Dean said about the value of a 3D gold printer.  “We turn this into a contemporary piece by trapping elements of that jewellery into a contemporary design.”

The results of the 3D printing is stunning and takes the jewelry industry to places that were impossible just years ago.

“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,” Dean said of his project which he hopes will help demonstrate the possibility of 3D printing and gold.