ZPC blog

3D Printed Jewelry Receiving Greater Notoriety

The days where 3D printed jewelry were written off as useless knick-knacks are no more. In fact, mainstream retailers are increasingly picking up on the 3D printing trend, even going so far as to carry some of these products among their traditional inventory.

An excellent example comes from department store, Neiman Marcus. The store is now prominently featuring two independently designed pieces that were made using 3D printing technology.

Now, you might be wondering how this happened. That is, how did a big name retailer come across these 3D printed designs and decide to feature them on their website? Everything came together thanks to Shapeways. The company offers a unique way for designers from all walks of life to get their original designs on the “shelves” of retailers the world over.

In this case, the designers were originally featured on the Shapeways site. Their innovative designs caught the attention of the curators there. Then, thanks to the site’s new partnership with Neiman Marcus, these individual Shapeways shop owners were able to have their designs featured on the department store’s site itself. We’re not talking about links here; rather, dedicated pages to these 3D printed, non-mass produced items. 

The Rise of the Independent Jewelry Designers

According to Shapeways, this isn’t just a one time thing. There are a few things you can do to have your designs considered and to make sure they’re viewed by the right people. First of all, budding 3D jewelry designers can enter the Shapeways monthly contests. Second, they can post their designs to the Feature This! forum. Doing these things increases the chances of a design building a following or catching the eye of Neiman Marcus. Note: it’s not currently clear how much the prices are marked up on these products in this deal. Still, the exposure is definitely good for both the technology and the independent designers who use it.

Looking beyond this partnership, it’s also important to note that many 3D printed designs sold on Etsy have been featured in magazines and have gained mainstream media attention, not just for the technology used, but the designs themselves. This bodes well for the general direction the market is going. Boutiques are popping up all over the place and the very success of sites like Etsy shows that more and more people are interested in the little guy, not big corporations. People want to celebrate the individual again and embrace unique and original designs, not redundant designs that are mass produced and available from every outlet.

Keep an eye on your local department store. Who knows when a line of handcrafted jewelry made using the latest 3D printing technology and designed by an independent artisan will make its debut?