LACE by Jenny Wu, a designer of luxury, metal additively manufactured (3D printed) jewellery, has collaborated with industrial grade Additive Manufacturing technology provider ExOne to produce one of the first fully additively manufactured, interlocking steel necklaces.
The geometrically complex necklace, titled Catena, was inspired by architectural design and previously produced only in nylon. To achieve its complex geometric structure, the metal version was manufactured in steel using ExOne’s metal Additive Manufacturing technology and expertise.
“For the past three years, my necklaces have been the most iconic, popular pieces in my collection,” stated Wu. “Unlike most 3D printed necklaces out there, our pieces are fully 3D printed without any additional analogue assembly nor non-3D printed hardware to hold these incredible statement pieces around the neck.”
“This type of necklace was a technical and financial challenge to 3D print entirely in metal until now,” she continued. “While we love the wearability of our nylon necklaces, our goal was always to 3D print our necklaces in metal, from the hinge down to the latch. After many years of testing and prototyping with various different technologies, we were finally able to produce the Catena necklace with ExOne and their 3D printing process.”
In July 2017, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), USA, officially acquired the Catena Steel Necklace for their permanent collection. “Jenny translates the complex line-based geometries of Oyler Wu’s architectural projects into jewellery and brings a high level of technical skill to the crowded 3D-printing field,” commented Bobbye Tigerman, the Marliyn B. and Calvin B. Gross Curator at LACMA.
“The Catena necklace is her most sophisticated design to date, both conceptually and technically. The complex design of interlocking pieces is entirely articulated, a feature made by possible by the 3D printing process, without requiring extensive manual labour and time investments.”
LACE’s line of additively manufactured jewellery has quickly been embraced by the fashion and tech communities and worn by celebrities such as Scarlett Johansson, Jessica Alba, Carrie Underwood, and Christina Aguilera, thereby raising the profile of AM for jewellery and fashion.