ZPC blog

3D Printing in the Jewelry Industry

3D printing has been gaining more attention from the general public in recent years due to its emergence as a technology capable of producing consumer goods in one’s home. However, usage thus far has been largely limited to engineering and architectural projects, with an emphasis on repairs and reverse engineering, in particular. Still, the potential for use in consumer goods manufacturing is high and this is more apparent than anywhere else in the jewelry industry.

Intricate spirals, geometric designs, and shapes are very difficult to achieve through traditional jewelry making methods. However, by leveraging 3D printing in the process, you realize complicated designs. This technology is very precise, which lends itself well to intricate jewelry designs. A good example is a graphic designer by the name of Jacqueline Leib, who attended school at the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris and designed TV and movie sets before happening across 3D printing as a method of bringing her highly detailed pencil sketches to life.

Ms. Leib’s work: 

After seeing how this technology was used in the aerospace industry to produce miniatures with exact proportions and measurements, she immediately thought of her jewelry designs. What’s very exciting is the level of detail possible now with 3D printing. Forming and bending silver strands by hand only lends itself to a certain level of intricacy. With this technology, you can create the most subtle flourishes and designs that just aren’t possible through any other method. The outcomes are beautiful and look unlike any other pieces of jewelry currently available on the market.

Experimentation is key. Using different materials will yield different results. Resin can be used to create very lightweight pieces of jewelry that rest flush against the skin. However, as more precious metals become available for 3D printing use, it is now possible to print in silver and gold. Free-flowing strands of metal intersect and link together to create wearables to suit any style. It’s easy to see how this technology can be used in a number of different ways beyond intricate jewelry making. This could even simplify the process of making very basic pieces of jewelry. For instance, Solidscape, a jewelry maker in the Netherlands, touts the benefits of 3D printing for creating rings in which you can store loved one’s ashes. The milling process typically uses several pieces of metal cast together to form a ring. However, this increases the price tag substantially. Because their rings can be formed out of one piece of metal, the cost is greatly reduced, so there are significant end user benefits here as well. 

Watch Solidscape talk about their creations:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1UBON7SAN20