Desmond Chan, founder of Hong Kong-based Vulcan Jewelry, has perhaps one of the most pertinent reasons for entering into the growing 3D printed jewelry design space: his wife. As he recalls in an email to 3D print.com:
“I started making jewelry in 2013 when I couldn’t find a special Christmas present for my wife. At this point, I decided to use my 3D modeling skills to build a star-shaped pendant and used 3D printing technology to make it in sterling silver. That was my first jewelry design and she still enjoys wearing it.”
And since his first successful star design, he’s determined to fuse 3D printing with Modern Art inspiration to create lasting pieces. Consider Chan’s latest “Tree in Cross” motif, inspired by Surrealist artist Salvador Dalí, who turned the twentieth century art world on its head by infusing realist imagery with the archetypal stuff of the unconscious. The cross, or Christ’s crucifixion, was one of Dali’s ongoing painting themes, and the painting to the left is just one of many examples of crosses in Dalí’s work.
Or, in Chan’s words, “double images, floating objects, and the stuff of dreams.” You can see in Chan’s own “Tree in Cross” design that the double image is paramount. A tree — which represents life, immortality, and eternity — lays inside the cubical and open, yet still confining, architecture of the cross. Again, this blend of geometric and natural design elements presents a Dalí-esque “double image”: at first glance you see a simple cross design, but if you look again you can’t now miss the tree embedded underneath the cross’ initially domineering architecture.
Chan morphs this “Tree in Cross” motif into many jewelry categories — pendants, rings, and bracelets — with nice results. He makes these designs available in a wide variety of casts, and includes gemstones in some variations as well. For example, the design to the right is “3D printed in white rhodium plated sterling silver with cinnamon orange hessonite garnet” and is featured on his Facebook page. You can see from reviewing his work why Chan has already received recognition from the A’ Design Award and Competition in the 2015 Jewelry, Eyewear, and Watch design portion. He explains on the competition website how the “initial idea was to make use of the 3D printing technology to design jewelry which can break through the traditional jewelry methods. It enables to create design-driven pieces. The goal was to design energetic, limited and specialized jewelry…then apply and transform the concepts into a wearable art jewelry.” Thus, we see how central 3D printing technology is to Chan’s artistic vision.
It’s also important to mention that Chan’s design portfolio includes many other designs that are as innovative as his “Tree in Cross” collection. His Facebook page boasts many designs all seemingly rooted in natural themes: a Tulip Shell Necklace (aptly named for its part-flower, part-shell image); a Cloth Bracelet (that looks like a slim piece of fabric wrapped around the wrist); a Laurel ring (that wraps finger in a garland of leaves); and, one of my personal favorites, a Teardrop Necklace (that has a teardrop shaped pendant filled with a flower). Chan’s Vulcan Jewelry Etsy shop only has the Tree in Cross bracelet and necklace listed as currently available at the time of writing, and they are made to order in sterling silver with white rhodium plating. The bracelet costs $240, and is available in whole and half sizes from size 5 inches to size 8 inches. The necklace is available in one size for $140. It on unclear how you’d order any of Chan’s other designs, like the teardrop necklace I am pining over currently, but I am sure a simple message to the designer can clear this question right up.
As 3D technology gains in sophistication, artisans continue to amaze us with their unique design visions. Chan is exactly one of these innovators. We will be looking forward to what else Chan comes up with, as he has evolved from a dutiful husband simply seeking to please his wife with a memorable jewelry piece to an upcoming 3D printing jewelry designer with an artistic vision rooted in Modern Art and natural design elements.
What do you think of these designs and their inspiration? Let us know your favorite in the Tree in Cross forum thread over at 3DPB.com.