Fashion Forward.. 3D Printing…
Technology is always developing, and as clichéd as it sounds, technology is changing the world at a rapid rate. Next on the horizon for the production of jewellery is whether or not the advent of 3D printing will impact the production of rings, necklaces, bracelets and earrings. I think it has to, but is that a big issue or not?
The printing press was invented first by Bi Sheng between 1041-1048 and later the Gutenberg printing press arrived, designed in 1450. This invention allowed for the mass production of articles that could be distributed to the masses. The importance of this is: we’ve been using machines for a long time, is 3D printing any different or is it just a fancy illusion. The truth is, a lot of the worlds jewellery is produced largely by machines, with human’s lending a hand every so often. There are machines that bend metal, colour metal and then polish them when they are finished, so is a machine that can just print the metal anything new? No. While it might cut out a few steps, 3D printing certainly won’t make the art of producing jewellery any more or less authentic.
What it does affect is the quality. The powdered residues with which many of these printers operate are not of the same ilk as gold or silver. The composite that makes all of these printed items sturdy and accurate in their design is hardly fashionable. What separates high line jewellery and the little trinkets you might find at a market is the level of skill that goes into the production of the items, combined with the quality of the material. These are two key aspects that cannot be replicated with this currently primitive version of 3D printing.
One day the 3D printing may be able to mould gold, cut diamonds and build clasps all in one. And when that happens we may see and end of a lot of the really top quality items of jewellery being produced. But there is no substitute for the hand made beauty of pieces such as the Chanel Mosaic Necklace that was featured on the-Accessories-guild this month (July 5th).
Welcome to the fashion world 3D printing. A few tips while you’re here. Things come and things go, in the same way that opinions come, and technology comes. The people and machines that produce some of the worlds most stunning pieces of jewellery are not as long lasting as the jewels themselves, so enjoy your stay while it lasts.
Be Guided by the Guild.