Jessica Hunnicutt




United States of America



I have forever been captivated with space exploration.  I graduated from Purdue University in 2011 with a degree in mechanical engineering.  I have since worked for a variety of companies including research and development of cooling systems to product design in the aerospace industry.  Outside of a traditional engineering role, I began developing unique jewelry for myself using the accuracy and precision of 3D printing.  With the endless possibilities of additive manufacturing, I started to share my artisan jewelry in 2015 with my small business: Layers By Design LLC.  Today, I continue to innovate in the aerospace industry while sharing my unique jewelry designs across the world.

SUBMISSION: The Earth: Our Floating Gem

On Earth, we are isolated, alone in the cosmos, reliant on the Earth’s protection.  In the vastness of our solar system and galaxy, we stand alone in the isolation of space.  Are we truly alone in this universe?  Is Earth our only sanctuary?


While we are innovative in science and technology, we continue to open the curtain to expand our sights and our reach into what is beyond our own Earth’s isolation.  Space telescopes and new missions to the moon and Mars will break through the shelter of Earth: Our Floating Gem.


To represent this dynamic, a blue spinel gemstone symbolizes our Earth: a beacon of blue beautiful in the vastness of space. The black rhodium metal cage represents the dark space around the earth:  cold, harsh, lifeless, and forever present.  The holes signify glimmers of hope such as stars and galaxies scattered across the fabric of the universe.

What will we discover when you continue to unravel the cosmos? Will we find out we are not alone?  Will we grow stronger from the challenge of exploring space? or Will we be able to reflect back on all the facets of our world and find new beauty in absence.


The three-dimensional cube is designed in computer-aided design (CAD) software to allow a blue spinel gemstone to float in microgravity in the middle. This cube was 3D printed, cast in brass, and plated in black rhodium.  The gemstone is press-fit into the cube so it is permanently retained.  


The cube was created to push the capabilities of 3D printing details.  I wanted to showcase the concept of stars surrounding a beautiful gem, just like Earth.  Each side of the cube provides a unique window of the gemstone (our world).  You never know what you will see.