Nature wields significant and fascinating influence over humans left to revel in its midst, often awe-inspiring—whether through the hypnotizing sound of waves rolling in under a full moon—or the awesome vision of a clear, starlit sky, offering a tiny snapshot of one corner of the universe. Groen and Boothman have taken their inspiration from nature’s principles to create the 3D printed “Elements” bracelet series.

Hanno Groen and Joanna Boothman have been long-time Shapeways customers, and they are never afraid to experiment with designs, different types of materials, or technology that may be new to them. The industrial design duo is also dedicated to an on-going fascination with using algorithms to create their luxurious jewelry designs. The Water and Cosmic bracelets featured in this series were made via 3D printed molds and then cast in silver—resulting in beautiful and unique jewelry pieces.

For the ‘Elements’ series, Groen and Boothman are allowing art and science to come together, bringing forth an elegance that outshines any technology or erudite discussion of method. In working with their algorithms, the water concept came to them first as the designers realized they could generate virtual water waves in 3D, play with them, refine them, and then go even further by producing them in ultra-polished silver.

The Elements ‘Water’ bracelet by Groen & Boothman
Photo Credit: Groen & Boothman

We play with the algorithms to create new geometries and brilliance—effects in silver that sparkle and captivate like precious stones,” said Boothman.

The even more detailed Cosmic bracelet also carries a story, one which is all about the relationships between entities—whether between people, stars, cells or atoms. All such natural entities tend to arrange themselves according to mathematical rules that can be found almost everywhere in nature. The Cosmic bracelet emulates this principle, resulting in an intriguingly beautiful pattern that is highly irregular yet perfectly balanced.

Both pieces offer a captivating look into what it takes to design a bracelet that will fit just right on the wrist. For both Water and Cosmic, this meant designing a clever hidden clasp mechanism and hinge—and developing them in two segments for greater ease in manufacturing.

“With 3D printing you can engineer things so precisely that you can integrate a near-invisible, complex hinge mechanism, also under an angle, with an unprecedented level of sophistication,” said Groen.

3D printed parts of the ‘Cosmic’ bracelet, before polishing and finishing
Photo Credit: Groen & Boothman

Polishing was a major consideration for both bracelets, taking hours, even days. While the Water bracelet did not require as much finishing, the Cosmic design took up to several days in the beginning. Eventually, Groen streamlined the process for the more detailed Cosmic bracelet, but it still takes 12 to 18 hours due to the more complex geometry.

“It’s a kind of meditative work,” said Groen. “But then you have a really exclusive bangle.”

Check out Integration of Craft: Groen & Boothman Present 3D Printed ‘Elements’ Bracelet Series, a case study offering a more in-depth look at what inspired the Dutch designers to create the ‘Elements’ bracelet series, along with the evolution of the materials and handcrafting accompanying the silver Water and Cosmic designs.

Designers from around the world have evolved in tandem with Shapeways, founded in 2007 in the Netherlands and now headquartered in New York City. Shapeways is able to look back on helping many talented individuals and promising businesses 3D print over 20 million products, just as industrial designers like Hanno Groen and Joanna Boothman are able to look back on a rich history of creativity over the years via such services.

Explore the world of 3D printing through Shapeways. Without having to invest in 3D printing software, hardware, or materials on your own, you can benefit from our long-term experience and investment in proprietary, advanced technology.