Technology is clearly the future. 3D printing is becoming more and more accessible and is helping many sectors advance. Prototypes, models and spare parts for machines in 3D are already a reality, but technology is also advancing in the creative industries. For instance, 3D jewellery is closer than you might think. Read all about the benefits and drawbacks of this technology in the jewellery industry.

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The process of crafting jewellery at BAUNAT

The development of 3D printing

In the late 1980s, MIT started a project together with the company 3D Systems to make prototypes faster using 3D printers. Around 2005 the technology began being more accessible to the general public, and when Siemens started using 3D printers for industrial applications in 2014, the technology finally came of age. Even the fashion world is a fan of the trend: in 2015 there was a 3D-printed tweed jacket on the catwalk from Chanel.
More recently, some remarkable items have indeed been produced on a 3D printer. Think of human organs, rocket parts for NASA and concrete houses, but also, for example, designs which are used in jewellery.

So 3D jewellery is certainly not out of the question. Actually, the artistic and creative sector already benefits from the technology in the production of, for example, pottery, lamp housings and watch cases.

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A 3D printer printing a metal object. This is also how 3D jewellery is printed. – BAUNAT

How 3D printing works

To print an object, for example an engagement ring, in 3D, each layer has to be printed and built up (reckon on layers about 0.025mm - 0.05mm). Each layer is fused to the one below, using UV light or laser beams. Objects can be printed in plastic, metal or ceramics, for instance. 3D printing can also be done in reverse: a 3D laser cuts or melts an object out of a solid, such as a block of wax. This makes it easy for the jeweller to try out new trends.

Jewellers are already using innovative equipment or technology to craft custom-made diamond rings of the highest possible quality. A first step towards 3D-printed jewellery?
3D printing jewellery ensures perfectly symmetrical diamond earrings - BAUNAT.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of 3D printing?

Rings, chain links and other jewellery items are created by melting precious metal, such as gold, and casting it in a traditional mould. Jewellers are already printing the casting mould in 3D, in order to work more efficiently. Molten precious metal is then poured into the mould, where it solidifies. A preliminary prototype of the jewel can also be printed in 3D to get a first (tangible) impression of the jewel.

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The benefits of 3D printing:

  • Print using different materials in all possible shapes
  • Prototypes are less costly
  • Less material wastes
  • Your jewellery is custom-made to perfection
  • The jewellery is completely symmetrical

Sadly, there are also some drawbacks:

  • Printing is quite slow
  • Certain printing materials are expensive
  • Your jeweller needs to be highly skilled to craft the perfect piece

It is still a pricey investment for the jeweller, which can amount to 100,000 euros. The costs of purchasing printing materials, such as wax, and 3D printer maintenance should also not be underestimated.

The design options should be thought through carefully, as technology will never be able to replace the creative process of the designers. The craftsmen should of course also be familiar with the 3D software and printers or be trained.

3D jewellery: a sustainable option?

The drawing for 3D-printed earrings can be perfectly adjusted to every client's needs, so that the wax model usually only needs to be printed once. Using a wax tree, several rings can be cast at the same time. And thanks to the drawing, the jewellery can also be perfectly replicated if, for example, you want to give someone an identical ring as a present or as a wedding ring.
Unique designs, such as reversible necklaces, hollow bracelets or modular jewellery, are also within reach thanks to revolutionary 3D technology.
What's more, new technology is leading to an even more sustainable way of working: the DMLS technique (Direct Metal Laser Sintering). A laser beam removes precious metal layer by layer, until an item of jewellery emerges. Currently, the EOS company in Krailling, near Munich, is considered the leader in this field.
At BAUNAT we combine modern technology with the craft of jewellery making.

Why handcrafted jewellery is preferable

Although 3D printing has already brought significant innovation to the diamond world, handcrafted jewellery remains the preferred way to go. 3D printing, on the other hand, is certainly not out of the question. Clients looking for unique jewellery they want to design themselves can manage this by commissioning customised jewellery from a craftsman.

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Clients can admire drawings of their jewellery in advance, using BAUNAT's 3D visualisation.

Other technology moving the diamond industry forward

As well as the 3D printer, there is various other innovative technology in use in the diamond industry. The automatic cutting robot Fenixcuts diamonds extremely accurately. A brilliant can be cut in one hour, while a craftsman takes about a day to do this. Jewellers can visualise customised engagement rings using CAD software. With a 3D drawing you can see in advance on screen what your jewellery will eventually look like, in 360 degrees. Adjustments can also be made relatively quickly, and you can be sure that the design is entirely to your taste.
Are you looking for original jewellery, perfectly crafted to your desires? Then come and see the experts at BAUNAT, and commission some customised jewellery. Our jewellers will draw up a design for you, look over the 3D model with you and then get to work. Your custom jewellery will be the centrepiece of your collection.

Read more about innovations and trends

3D printing is helping drive many sectors forward, and technology is advancing in the creative sector, too. So, 3D-printed jewellery is closer than you might think. The diamond industry is not standing still in other areas, either. There have been many innovations and revolutions in recent years. Cutters can work far more quickly and accurately than before. And diamonds are also having a positive influence on developments in technology. Read more about this in the articles below.

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