When you're ready to put a ring on it, online jeweler Brilliance.com wants to send you a free 3-D printout of that diamond engagement ring you may wish to buy.
The concept of 3-D printing has garnered extensive media coverage over the past couple of years, mostly due to its potential for extraordinary medical advances such as creating body parts and custom medical devices or for its possible use in terrifying endeavors such as smuggling 3-D printed guns onto airplanes.
Now, retailers have begun to harness the power of this amazing technology, making it possible to preview replicas of important purchases before taking the plunge. Brilliance.com, a leading seller of online custom diamond rings, recently launched their 3-D printing solution to give buyers a hands-on shopping experience without leaving their homes.
Brilliant marketing concept
Pick the ring style, carat size and diamond shape you think you'll like, and Brilliance.com will send out a 3-D printed sample engagement ring, right to your door. They'll even send the 3-D CAD rendering electronically if you happen to have access to a 3-D printer on your own.
The company sent me a selection of 3-D printed diamond ring samples, along with ring sizers, and I think it must be the most unique and creative retail strategy I've seen in a long while.
The sturdy plastic ring replicas help you determine how the real ring will feel and look on your hand, without having to deal with the pressure of sales people at a jewelry store.
Try before you buy
Brilliance.com looks for ways to duplicate the positive aspects of the in-store shopping experience, such as customers' need to physically examine something they want, according to Shai Barel, the company's Director of Strategic Partnerships.
"As an online jewelry retailer specializing in engagement rings," says Barel, "this poses a particular dilemma with such a specific, emotional and expensive purchase. The key here is to let them see the difference in shape, size or carat instead of buying it online only to return it a few days later. Ultimately, we will have our inventory available for printing."
The company, which has over two decades of history, offers fine jewelry with a 30-day money-back return policy, lifetime warranty, care and maintenance and a conflict-free guarantee. As you're shopping, you can chat online with an expert gemologist any time you need help. While Brilliance.com currently offers the 3-D printing of their engagement rings, they plan to soon offer all of their products as 3-D samples.
Many retailers looking at 3-D printing options
Larger retailers have announced 3-D offerings as well, such as Amazon with their 3-D Printing Store, where customers can buy 3-D printed home decor, games, toys, tech items and fashion accessories. Walmart's CEO has indicated that the retailing behemoth may look at using 3-D printing for supplies and could even consider making an acquisition related to the industry.
Looking to get your own 3-D printer? You can purchase a low-end Da Vinci 1.0 desktop 3-D printer from Amazon.com for around $500, or a Hammacher Schlemmer desktop 3-D printer for $1378 with shipping.