Students at the School of Jewellery, located at the heart of Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter and part of the UK city’s university, are using additive layer manufacturing to create stunning ornaments.
Laser additive manufacturing, already used in the aerospace, automotive and medical sectors, is now finding its way into the intricate world of Jewellery manufacture. The flexibility of the process, where complex geometries and fine detail can be created, has given jewellery designers freedom of expression and the ability to produce multiple pieces in the shortest possible time.
Students Georgia Ayley and Layla McCook are among a number of designers using the process to achieve the levels of intricacy and detail they had envisaged in their original designs.
Both Ayley and McCook worked in close collaboration with Colin Cater of ES Technology, UK and Ireland distributors for the range of Concept Laser LaserCusing machines. Cater used the company’s Mlab cusing demonstration machine in their Daventry facility to build the pieces and was also able to offer advice to the students on how to maximise the benefits that the technology could bring to their designs.
Cater says the LaserCusing process is suited to jewellery manufacture, with its capability to create intricate geometries and profiles in a variety of materials including precious metal alloys.
McCook says she takes her inspiration from innate and animate objects. The aim for her latest collection was to combine feminine fluid forms that represented the soft, organic structures of rose petals with a fine intricate pattern, in places just 0.3mm wide, which characterised their delicate nature. She used Concept Lasers’ Mlab cusing system to build the pieces layer by layer.
Ayley uses precious metals in collaboration with uncut and cut gemstones. Using the LaserCusing process, Georgia was able to trap an amethyst stone inside the pendant and earring capsules from this collection.
Ayley explained: 'Being able to encapsulate the amethyst within the pendant and earrings allowed me to produce pieces which are seamless with a smooth finish. The traditional method of producing pieces such as this would have required laser welding, resulting in a visible joint line.'