Reverse Engineering: A broken heart transforms into a gold pendant

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A piece of film noir to get you interested in a piece of modern jewellery design

The context of this HeartBeat video may be lighthearted, but it successfully demonstrates the viability of precious metal additive manufacturing, with a bit of ‘personally beaten up’ customisation.

HeartBeat is a design by product artist Lionel T Dean, which has been scanned and reverse engineered with the help of Delcam and then 3D printed in 18kt gold.

The video produced to showcase the project is not your typical industrial process fodder: you’d never guess that its purpose is to demonstrate cutting-edge technology.

A red-lipped vixen declares her desire to a jeweller over the phone for a custom made piece of jewellery. She then proceeds to bash up a hollow red metal heart by stamping on it with her incredibly high heels.

This personally bashed-up heart (or something similar to it) is then sent to the jeweller, who transforms it into a gold pendent that she then proceeds to hang round her neck.


Dean was commissioned to create the HeartBeat by the Precious Project, a consortium of companies that aims to demonstrate the viability of precious metal additive manufacturing within the UK jewellery industry, from design and manufacturing through to finishing, polishing and retail.

With this in mind, his process consists of six major steps from bashed-up heart to the completed shiny gold pendent. These steps were performed by five entities/businesses to demonstrate a distributed UK supply chain.

1. Jewellery Design
Lionel T. Dean/FutureFactories in South Rauceby, Lincolnshire

2. Digitisation and reverse engineering
Delcam in Birmingham, West Midlands

3. Preparation for additive manufacturing (3D Printing)
Delcam Ltd in Birmingham, West Midlands

4. Manufacturing and initial handwork
Cooksongold in Birmingham, West Midlands

5. Mechanical finishing and polishing
Finishing Techniques in Bury, Lancashire

6. Final polishing
Jewellery Industry Innovation Center/BCU in Birmingham, West Midlands

For a ‘behind the scenes’ look at this process, watch the video below. It has a lot less stomping in towering heels and more focus on the technology used.

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