Pure. Rare. Eternal. That’s how the Platinum Guild International describes the silvery precious metal that, perhaps more than any other, denotes wealth, elegance and extravagance. Its rarity makes it an expensive indulgence – a single piece of platinum jewelry can easily run you into the thousands of dollars. Even more than pure gold or silver, platinum holds a status at the top of the jewelry industry. Brilliantly white, a good piece of platinum jewelry seems to glow against the skin of the wearer. It’s also exceptionally durable, unlike gold, for example, which can be squashed into weird shapes as easily as you can bang your jewelry-clad hand into a wall or table, or as a curious cat can chomp down on the finger onto which you just placed the ring your boyfriend got you for Christmas. (No, since you asked, I cannot have nice things.)
Jewelers love platinum, unsurprisingly, but it does come with difficulties. The metal is prone to shrinkage during the casting and molding process, causing headaches for any jewelry manufacturer. Platinum has begun to show up as a material for 3D printing in recent years, although when we talk about 3D printed jewelry, we’re often actually talking about 3D printed jewelry casts. Jewelry printers, more often than not, are designed to print the wax castings that are then used to mold the jewelry in the more traditional way. One exception is the Precious M 080 jewelry printer from Cooksongold, which prints jewelry directly from metal powders.
The English jewelry supply wholesaler, which provides everything from gemstones to beads to blocks of precious metal bullion, also carries a selection of metal powders for DMLS printing. Until now, their powders included “18k 3N yellow gold, 18k white gold, 18k 5N red gold and Brilliante 925 silver,” but Cooksongold has just announced that they have added a brand new platinum powder to their inventory. 950Pt/Ru was developed in conjunction with the Platinum Guild International, and, like Cooksongold’s other powders, has been optimized for the Precious M 080, although it can be used with other printers and for other applications.
“This is one of the most revolutionary developments for the 3D printing technology,” said David Fletcher, Business Development Manager for Cooksongold. “Helping to eliminate the common problems associated with casting platinum, it will become vital for bespoke and low volume platinum jewellery production.”
Cooksongold will be officially launching the new powder at the 2016 Baselworld Jewellry Fair, which will be taking place from March 17-24 in Messe Basel, Switzerland. Attendees can learn more about the powder at Booth 2/G68, which will host Cooksongold’s parent company, the Heimurle and Meule Group. The Precious M 080 will also be on display and demonstrating printing in 18k gold throughout the exhibition. Jewelry printed with the machine will be displayed as well. According to Cooksongold, we’ll be hearing more from them this year, as well – they’re developing additional materials, such as base metals and other carat gold alloys, to be released throughout 2016. Below, you can check out a video detailing more about the platinum powder and jewelry 3D printing process in general. What do you think of the new Cooksongold offerings? Discuss in the Cooksongold New 3D Printing Powder forum over at 3DPB.com.
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