Shapeways has announced the addition of gold plated brass to their materials lineup. They are conducting a one month trial (through August 25, 2013) to test out the new material and see what the community response will be.
Manufacturing with gold-plated brass is a complex, multi-step process for Shapeways. First, the model you order goes through a high resolution 3D printer which builds it in wax. Once printed, the wax model is put into a container and covered with plaster. When the plaster cures, it creates a perfect mold of the model.
Shapeways artists then melt the printed wax out of the mold using a furnace and refill the mold with molten brass. After the brass sets up the team breaks away the plaster, then cleans and polishes the piece. Finally, they electroplate the piece with nickel and add a 24k gold overlay.
With all the work that goes into the manufacturing of each piece you might expect it to be incredibly expensive. In fact, while it's not dirt cheap, it is cheaper than using their premium silver material. The price per cm3 is just $35.00. To put that in perspective, the "Ring of the Gamer" (pictured) costs $86 if you order it in Shapeways new gold plated brass, while it costs $147 to order it in premium silver.