3D PRINTED JEWELLERY
3D printing jeweller Mark Bloomfield explained to Personalize last week how the jewellery industry has been using 3D printing technology for years - in-terms of prototyping - but it is only now that the technology is ready to manufacture finished articles.
A leading supplier of precious metals to the jewellery trade told the BBC recently how industry giants are gearing up to implementation the technology for mass customisation. It is clear that from the charm jewellery culture, popularised by Links and Pandora, personalisation in the jewellery isector is here to stay.
Because the use of 3D printing to manufacture a finished product is a new trend in the sector, it has opened the door for individuals like Bloomfield to grasp a decent sized market share. The technology puts the power into the hands of the designers rather than the manufacturers, meaning intricacy can rule over the limitations of traditional manufacturing.
One young designer attempting to carve out her own little 3D printed jewellery niche is Irish born Carmel Reilly. Reilly - who goes by the pseudonym Printable Geek - moved to Australia six years ago and has just launched a Kickstarter campaign for her designs based on the interlinking worlds of science and mathematics.
“I am a total geek, and love the interesting patterns that can be found in mathematics and science” she informed us “I use those patterns as my inspiration. Given that all things geek is now cool I thought it would be a good opportunity share these interesting designs."
Choosing 3D printing is not an easy path to go down as a jeweller. It is not cheap to get you hands on the tech and there’s a huge amount of trial and error involved in terms of what works and what doesn’t “I decided to use 3D printing because of its standing as a new technology, it works well with the mathematical and scientific theme, partly because of the complex designs it is capable of printing and partly because it is just so damn cool!"
Carmel went with the Printer which she felt suited her needs best, one that could sit on her worktop, would print reliably, with a high resolution “I bought an UP 3D printer, it was delivered 3 days after shipping and was printing 20 minutes after I got it out of the box, it's fantastic! Because it’s new to me I have had a few fun disasters in attempting designs but I think I have a few down pat now.”
Where previous homemade jewellers had to rely on market stalls to get their product to market, forward-thinking Carmel Reilly has decided she wants a full website. “I decided to launch a Kickstarter project to speed up the whole process. To make this a successful business instead of a hobby I need a professional website, marketing etc. The expected increase in demand will mean I need inventory ready to ship, which means purchasing the plastic here ready to go. The target amount will allow me to get started in a way that would take me years to do otherwise.”
Carmel is part of a new group of designers whose hands are not tied by prohibitive manufacturing costs and times. We expect to see this sort of enterprise appearing regularly, fortunately for Carmel she’s ahead of the curve in her newly adopted Antipodes climate “3D printing is still pretty new here, I seem to find a lot of people are surprised that it exists outside of the manufacturing world, with most people here needing it explained and convincing them that it actually exists. I can see how much potential there is here for it and I see it as a really exciting next step in printing the "Next Generation" if you will”