When it comes to custom jewelry making, 3D printing is not a foreign concept. In fact we have seen dozens of artists and companies using the latest technology in a variety of pieces, from plastic bracelets to engagement rings. When it comes to sentimental occasions like an engagement, anniversary or wedding, the abillity to customize a ring for such an occasion can certainly add sentimental value to it. 3D printing also helps allow further flexibility for projects out of the ordinary, such as the jewelry design featured in this story.
For those of you who have attended the Burning Man festival in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada, you likely know that it has become a popular wedding venue. The festival, which takes place the week prior to Labor Day each year, has been running since 1986, drawing in crowds as high as 65,000 people in a single day.
Maybe such a populated event isn’t the ideal spot for some people to get married, but when your life is so ingrained in the event, like one Oakland, California artist Andrew Johnstone, then it may be just the perfect spot.
The 52-year-old man, who this year was the lead designer on the ‘Burning Man’, which is a 105-foot-tall, 70,000-pound icon of the festival, decided to stray a bit from tradition. Instead of buying a fancy diamond ring for his soon-to-be wife, who is a science teacher and would likely think the diamond was frivolous, he went for something that would blow her away.
Since he had spent so much time working on the Burning Man icon, when Johnstone was considering what stone to use for the ring, he remembered how fascinating he’d thought it was that there was actually a small piece of meteorite in the Burning Man underpinning. He was inspired to come up with something otherworldly to surprise his bride with, in keeping with their alternative-style nuptials, so he set out to recreate the wheel in terms of wedding rings.
Johnstone contacted the dealer who had provided the piece of meteorite for the Burning Man platform, and in a cosmic stroke of luck, he learned that dealer actually had several pieces of the moon in his possession. Is this normal? Not exactly, considering lunar samples are not given to individuals and any genuine, substantial pieces of the moon are in the hands of NASA. Yeah, that’s right. It’s beyond cool.
This was a crown jewel of challenges in terms of materials, size, and shape. Innovation and alternative methods were required for the project as many jewelry designers have spent time creating pendants and rings made to look like the shape of the moon or other interstellar bodies, but working with an actual lunar regolith (that fell as a meterorite in Morocco several years ago, just to be even further exotic) was new for all involved–and it wasn’t as if they had backup materials to use if something went astray. They turned to 3D tools to experiment with a vehicle to encase the space rock.
Using 3D modeling with both Sketchup and Maya tools, Johnstone brainstormed with jewelers Justin Kelly, Sarah Kelly, and Rod Wagner on mind-2-matter.com to create a 3D mesh for the sizable piece of “tranquillilyite.” The 3D-printed ring, cast in white gold, is in the shape of a hand holding the ebony moon rock. When the big day arrived, Johnstone was able to present his bride with a truly inimitable (much to the chagrin of his other male friends seeing they could never outdo his idea) work of art to place on her left hand.
They both have a piece of the moon to share together, and as Johnstone says, “Now whenever she sees the moon, she’ll be reminded of how much I love her.” Celestial bliss!
Does this give you inspiration for future wedding plans? Have you been to Burning Man? Please share with us in the 3D printed Moon rock ring forum thread at 3DPB.com.[Source: CNet]
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