Salvador Dali inspires 3D printed jewelry collection by Desmond Chan

Salvador Dali inspires 3D printed jewelry collection by Desmond Chan

“Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing.” Those words of wisdom come from the surrealist master himself, Salvador Dali, who appropriately enough, was the inspiration behind Vulcan Jewelry-founder Desmond Chan’s latest collection of 3D printed wearables.

“Salvador Dali is the most versatile and prolific artist of the twentieth century,” Chan told The line of wearable art, titled the Tree in Cross collection, was inspired by his surrealism, and plays with the concepts of contradiction, illusion, floating objects and the stuff of dreams so often found in his work. The central piece of the collection is a sterling silver cubic cross, wrapped around a floating tree, which represents life, immorality, and eternity, Chang told us.


Other pieces in the collection include a white rhodium-plated sterling silver ring, with cinnamon orange hessonite garnet, as well as a matching bracelet. Both the ring and bracelet are adjustable and the ring can be customized with different natural gemstones.

The whole collection was sculpted using Autodesk Maya, which Chan prefers since it supports polygon modeling, and then 3D printed in sterling silver with white rhodium plating. The actual printing process itself wasn’t exactly smooth—the 3D model of the tree was rejected several times by the 3D printing service company, and had to be re-designed with thicker branches before it could be successfully printed.

Despite that small hiccup, Chan truly believes in using 3D printing technology to transform his creative fantasies into wearable art.  “It is a brilliant technology for producing a unique product based on my own concepts. Some of the ideas would be hard or expensive to achieve when it comes to traditional product development. 3D printing can also be integrated into my on-demand production pipeline to reduce inventory costs,” he said in an interview.

In terms of the design process, Chan’s inspiration comes from everywhere, from Modern Art to things he sees on the street. “I love to mix new technology with art to create another form with a new definition,” he told us. Once he has an idea in mind, he sketches out the concept on paper before moving to CAD modeling. Finally, he sends the 3D file to a 3D printing service, such as i.materialise, who can print the jewelry in precious metals such as brass, bronze, silver or gold.

Chan studied computer animation in the UK before returning to Hong Kong more than 10 years ago to work in the 3D animation industry, where he is head of animation and digital media at a toy company. However, he got his start designing 3D printed jewelry in 2013 when he couldn’t find a special Christmas present for his wife. “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,” he told

In addition to the Tree in Cross collection, which earned him the A’Design 2015 Silver Award in the Jewelry, Eyewear and Watch category, Chan has also used his 3D designing skills to produce a stunning ‘Splash Lamp,’ (pictured below) which was modeled from a picture of a water droplet at the very moment when it burst, as well as the ‘Laurel Bracelet,’ which was inspired by Art Nouveau and consists of 20 gilt laurel leaves that are formed into a closed ring. Next on his plate is a telephone bracelet that was also inspired by the surrealist elements of Dali’s work.

The Tree in Cross collection is available through his company’s Facebook page, as well as on Etsy, where they sell for between €130-€230 depending on the piece. In addition, Chan and his wife are working on launching an online shop in the next quarter, where the designer can truly showcase his unique and artistic 3D printed creations.   


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