Watch out, Tiffany & Co...Inkjet just may steal your thunder in the fashion industry yet. While 3D printing has been making headlines for the last several months, metal suppliers have been at work to create a 3D type of printing for jewelry. On March 12th, 2014, UK based Cooksongold announced a partnership with A3DM Technologies to bring 3D printing of precious metals to the United States.
The technology of 3D printing, or "additive manufacturing," has been utilized in the architecture, automotive, biotech, medical, and dental industries to create advanced products in their respective fields. Scientists are most excited about the recent production of the bionic ear, as well as other medical advances now made possible. Reader's Digest recently reported the release of 3D printer models to consumers, most notably "The Cube," which allows consumers to literally print novelty items. The device can be used to print children's toys, housewares, costume jewelry, and many other things. The Cube melts plastic cartridges and creates items by a process of layering the plastic over and over again, much like the process of how a standard printer uses ink cartridges to create two dimensional projects.
The process of 3D printing in relation to the jewelry industry works in much the same manner. Manufacturers are most excited about how the new technology will allow the machines to use every scrap of metal in the production of jewelry items, preventing loss or waste of precious metals. Cooksongold expects to introduce the 3D jewelry printing to the United States by November 2014. The targeted audience of the new technology most likely will be jewelry manufacturers, retailers, and fashion designers. Cooksongold believes the technology will wield designers the ability to construct designs the were previously impossible, such as very thin intricate designs and hollow objects.
However, new technology always raises new questions about how it will affect the way we view jewelry design. How will this affect independent jewelry artisans or budding designers not yet on the fashion radar, either positively or negatively? Will we see a transition of surreal jewelry designs appear on future runways? One thing is for sure...it would be interesting to see HP or Canon move from it's traditional function of office supply products to a hot red carpet fashion number...
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