3D Printers

3D Printing & The Imperial Crown of Russia

Another case study from envisionTEC highlights a particularly prestigious jewellery application and the precise capabilities of the Perfactory 3D printing technology. The Smolensk Diamonds Jewellery Group is part of the Kristall Production Corporation founded in Russia 1963. Today Kristall employs more than 2,400 staff and is the largest producer of cut and polished diamonds in Russia and Europe with over 600,000 carats polished each year. The Smolensk Diamond Jewellery group was formed to produce high end specialist jewellery and one-off custom pieces using the famous Kristall diamonds. The firm has used 3D CAD and CAM for some years and purchased its first 3D printer — an envisionTEC Mini Perfactory — in 2010, with a second installed the following year.

The Smolensk Diamond Group is often commissioned to manufacture unique pieces and one such project was to recreate a replica of the Imperial Crown of Russia for the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. The Imperial Crown of Russia, also known as the Great Imperial Crown, was used by the Emperors of Russia until the monarchy’s abolition in 1917 and was first used at the coronation of Catherine II; it was last used at the coronation of Nicholas II.

Since December 20, 2000, the Imperial Crown has appeared on the Coat of arms of the Russian Federation. It is currently on display in the Moscow Kremlin Armory State Diamond Fund and noone is allowed to touch it. However, the Smolensk Diamond Group was commissioned to create a one-off replica of the crown for the Hermitage Friends’ Club O.G. Kostyuk. Earlier this year, Deputy Head of the Department of Western European Applied Art, gave a lecture for guests at the meeting of the club, entitled “The Great Imperial Crown: History and Modernity” where the replica of the crown was presented in one of the halls of the future Faberge’ Museum — and is now being exhibited throughout Russia during this year.

This replica is the only one in the world and jewellers are confident that a second replica will never be made.

The crown was remodelled in 3D CAD, carefully replicating every minute detail; this was then physically produced on the Perfactory 3D printer, in sections using WIC100 resin and was subsequently cast in 14K white gold, and then assembled using traditional hand crafted techniques. A total of 11 thousand diamonds adorn the white gold crown and spinel in the replica was replaced with a unique natural red tourmaline with a mass of about 400 karats.

The entire process took two months and the replica of the Grand Imperial Crown was also showcased at a jewellers’ forum in St. Petersburg. Sixty jewellers from Smolensk made it for the 250th anniversary of the coronation of Catherine the Great and the 400th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty.

According to Mr. Kunzev, CEO of Smolensk Diamonds Jewellery Group, the Perfactory 3D printer from envisionTEC was a key enabler in this project: “Thanks to the implementation of the 3D Printers from envisionTEC we are able to produce unique custom designs of the highest quality very quickly for our clients.

Without the Perfactory 3D Printers it would have taken more than one year to produce the replica crown and a lot more staff. The accuracy we can achieve on an object this size is incredible and beyond skilled craftsmen using traditional methods.”