| Hong Kong Jewellery 香港珠寶
News & Highlight


  • Marie Boltenstern, head of design for Boltenstern
  • Silver Blue Crystal Earrings
  • 18-Karat Gold Chrysoprase necklace
  • 18-Karat Red Gold Garnet Ring
  • Embrace’s customised wrap bracelet on wrist (photo courtesy: loupiosity)

Wearable architecture

Architecture and jewellery designers have a lot in common, from having an eye for geometric shapes to transforming ideas into three- dimensional structures. It is by no means a mere coincidence that some of the world’s top architects have shifted their profession to jewellery design in the past decades. Marie Boltenstern who holds a master in emergent technologies from the Architectural Association in London shares the same view and has brought jewellery and geometry together with her expertise in architecture and computational design by 3D printing. For her, jewellery is architecture in its smallest form. By thinking in multiple dimensions, we can create designs that are at once almost impossibly complex, yet effortlessly simple.

Marie Boltenstern took the realm of her father’s half-century-old jewellery company Boltenstern in 2015 and leads the Austrian brand from creating hammered gold to innovative 3D-printed jewellery which was impossible to be made with bare hands or any other techniques. The jeweller keeps the signature design developed by her father Sven Boltenstern in the Heritage collection while all other collections are 3D-printed in collaboration with Cooksongold, British end-to-end precious metal 3D printing technology supplier. 

Embrace, one of the outputs of this collaboration, was awarded the TCT Creative Application Award in 2018. The state-of-art technique set beads inside interlocking woven cages during the printing. During the interview with Boltenstern at Emphasis, one of the retail stores selling Embrace collection in Hong Kong, she told Hong Kong Jewellery that the collection is named Embrace as the stones are embraced by the metal structures. The metal structures are bodies of strong women and the stones afloat are their spirits and inner strength that always shine through. Paying homage to the distinct inner beauty of women, each colour represents a unique blessing from Boltenstern: Swarovski blue crystal for carefreeness, chrysoprase for fulfilling achievement and garnet for loyalty and friendship, etc. 

Some said the two keys to capture customers’ hearts is brand story and craftsmanship. Technology is for quick and cheap mass production. Fully 3D-printed jewellery is an utterly new concept for them. Boltenstern told us that they need more time to explain how 3D printing helps achieve sophisticated structures, which is so much more than just pressing a button and then a piece of jewellery comes out, which is how traditional customers believe in general. The jewellery architect says she starts jewellery design with computer-aided design software that she used for architectural design. Every draft is coded in a 3D interface based on coordinates and mathematical and geometrical structures. Skipping the steps of mould-making and casting, the jewellery is directly printed with Cooksongold’s supporting precious metal powders in either 18-karat rose gold, yellow gold or silver by Precious M 080 printer exclusive for jewellery and watch printing. Adopting the direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) system, powders are spread onto a print bed, and particles are fused together using an overhead laser layer by layer. After removing the loose powder, goldsmiths who have worked on Boltenstern’s traditional jewellery would hand-polish the final object at its own workshops in Vienna. Some pieces may be rhodium- plated to enhance brightness. 

Positioned to provide personal and innovative jewellery for self-purchasing women of all ages, Boltenstern said 3D printing innovations has also aroused interest of technology-savvy males who came to purchase gifts for women to learn more about jewellery. The jewellery house now has five more 3D-printed jewellery lines offering different motifs of bracelets, necklaces, earrings, rings and cufflinks. Customers can have their one-of-a-kind 3D-printed jewellery simply by uploading photos of writing and drawing to the configurators on the company’s website. 

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