New Jewellery Technologies
First seen in a report by Becky Lyons for MIX Magazine in issue 40, here we discover that new technologies are constantly expanding the craft, form and material possibilities of contemporary jewellery and wearable objects.
Jewellery design has become a laboratory for experimentation. The painstakingly crafted filigree and engravings of traditional metal smiths can now be near-effortlessly re-created through modern machineries like 3D printing and laser etching. This has led to familiar shapes and styles appearing almost machine-cast, simplified and updated in new materials. Florian Milker is a case in point, with constructions that are curiously assembled. Modular parts created through 3D print, milling and vacuum casting slot together to create powerful statement pendants both playful and personalised.
3D printing, laser cutting and vacuum casting are enabling layers of complexity within jewellery design, fusing mathematical generative forms with ultra precise execution. So we see nature becoming highly technical with Xuedi Chen’s Invasive Growth series. Inspired by cordyceps, a distinctive fungal parasite that grows on insects, forms start to protrude out of the body creating a highly fitted, web-like casing. Likewise Dorry Hsu embraces darkness with her The Aesthetic of Fears collection, combining latex with stereolithographed resin hand dipped into boiling dye to create fantastical insect-like adornments.
On a more accessible scale, Nervous System’s web-based App enables anyone to design and print their own custom rings and bracelets based on intricate cellular structures.
Thanks to developments in biotechnology, nature’s magical material properties or matter that would have been at one point perishable can be reconfigured for decorative use. Amy Congdon pushed a crude, fatty food into couture status with her ‘Haute Bacon’ collection using decellularisation before transforming the matter with dyeing, tanning and weaving. Luzia Vogt’s project takes another commonplace substance, sugar, and fuses it with plastic to create rigid, resilient structures.
Finally, the Internet has bequeathed a new visual landscape; one that exists in immaterial bits and bytes. A world of CMYK colour palettes, loading gradients and beautiful mistakes has inspired an art form of its own, now translated into the physical world. Boris de Beijer’s computer-palette colours are airbrushed on to recycled metal rope necklaces to create a graphic, gradient glam. JellySeries 1 by TaliaYStudio is a collection of pendant necklaces that can also be layered in front of a camera device to give it a haze of utopian colour. And Maiko Gubler’s work invites you into an abstract world of post-internet aesthetics. Digitally modelled shapes and artificial colours are worked into bangles, watch straps and cuffs.