The Future of Jewelry
JEWELRY AT A GLANCE:
Humanity’s history is one of invention, innovation and art.
This trifecta has been seen at full force over the past few decades, with new technologies and ideas producing products and services never before seen or even thought possible. Technology affects all industries, and jewelry is no exception.
While jewelry as an industry had been facing pessimistic projections during the global recession, with the economy on the rebound consumers are taking more of an interest in jewelry than ever before.
This new fervor has lead to a renaissance of jewelry making, and in many ways, the future of humanity’s oldest art form is now.
LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT THE INTERESTING NEW VENUES THAT JEWELRY MAKING AND DESIGN ARE BREAKING INTO.
A NEW TYPE OF JEWELRY DESIGN EXPERIENCE
The winner of JCK’s 2016 Think Tank competition was a program called Holojem, developed by Excelion Partners, LLC.
A real-time, 3D holographic projection system, Holojem allows for the instant alteration and customization of jewelry design right before your eyes. By interacting with the virtual piece of jewelry, designers and customers alike can rotate the piece 360 degrees, enlarge its size for greater detail and gain an intimate knowledge of the final product before any gems or jewels are even touched.
Needless to say, this is an interesting bit of technology and certainly conveys a more accurate representation of the final jewelry product than drawings or mere imagination. By creating realistic and precise 3D projections, Holojem could transform jewelry design and manufacture in a mutually beneficial way for both customers and jewelers.
Being more involved in the jewelry design process means customers can specify exactly what they do/don’t want in their finalized piece and visual confirmation will lead to a reduction of misunderstanding and boost in buyer confidence.
While it may be some time before technology like this is employed at your local jeweler, it’s still interesting to think of the possibilities that a fully interactive, real-time, 3D-rendered jewelry design program could mean for the future of the industry.
Clearly intended for the higher-end and younger shopper, Holojem and its underlying technology have resulted in what Excelion Partners are referring to as, “an augmented virtual reality experience designed for the specific marketing needs for jewelers”.
3D PRINTED JEWELRY
3D printers have been leaving their mark (pun fully intended) across the globe and throughout different industries. While the concept of the 3D printer was at first abstract and hard for some to grasp, its popularity quickly grew once people understood their full potential and what could be created with them.
Some of the first 3D printed objects that garnered a sizable public interest were guns due to safety concerns and pure shock. However, 3D printers possess the capacities to make all sorts of items, such as musical instruments, medical models, clocks, various tools, and…you guessed it…jewelry!
3D printed jewelry went from an idea to an actual application not that long ago. By learning how to utilize different metallic films, resins and dusts, jewelry and applied sciences have come together, resulting in some very interesting and innovative artwork. 3D printed jewelry enables jewelry makers to produce pieces never before possible, achieving new shapes and models.
3D digital manufacturing technology allows for precise jewelry design and customization and on the whole, 3D printed jewelry has been making waves. Not only are 3D printed jewelry pieces one-of-a-kind and stunning, they’re also great conversation starters.
This video offers a fascinating look at jewelry manufacturing and 3D printers:
JEWELRY FOR A CAUSE
Earlier this week, I saw an article on a new piece of jewelry that was made for a noble cause: preventing sexual assault. Flare Jewelry, working out of Harvard iLab, is developing a new technology that can be used in women’s bracelets, rings and necklaces in order to stop sexual assaults.
In the event of a sexual assault occurring, the jewelry itself would set off a very loud alarm, send messages to pre-programmed numbers alerting them as to the wearer’s location and even record audio once activated.
While the product is still in it’s development phase, the final product seems to be worth the wait. The owners of Flare Jewelry are currently still trying to incorporate the technology into jewelry itself, while still allowing for discretion and, of course, aesthetics. The end goal is to produce a piece of jewelry that’s pleasing to the eye yet ensures the wearer’s security.
While this may seem like a space-aged idea only achievable in science fiction stories, this type of innovation is occurring here and now. Depending on whether or not pieces like the one Flare Jewelry is working on can be made efficiently and effectively (while still retaining their exterior beauty) there’s truly no limit as to where tech-jewelry can go.
In the era of convergence and micro-technology, one is only limited by their imagination.
JEWELRY’S PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE
Jewelry, having been around since the onset of modern humanity itself, has remained a relative constant across cultures. While styles, sizes and fashions have varied and been subject to change, the underlying premise has remained the same: Humans LOVE jewelry.
Jewelry provides individuals with a means of expression, allows for the preservation of history and facilitates the passage of stories. It’s only as of late that jewelry has been transformed into a multi-purpose item; a crossroads of technology, beauty and utility.
While jewelry expands into new venues, becomes adapted by other industries and receives alterations from new technologies, it’s important to chronicle its past and keep in mind that on a grand timeline, it’s always been changing.
These changes simply mean that peoples’ interests in jewelry are continuing to grow, resulting in augmentations more suited towards their wants and needs. This notion should not be feared, fought or disregarded, but rather embraced and celebrated.
Nevertheless, despite jewelry’s resilience as a fascination and as an industry, individual pieces of jewelry themselves will always have imperfections and sensitivities.
Regardless of new advancements in technology and manufacturing, jewelry that is comprised of noble or precious metals such as gold and silver will always be susceptible to wear and tear, tarnish and atmospheric conditions.
Whether silver jewelry is made through resins and dusts by a 3D printer or created by hand, its innate nature to tarnish will always exist and prevail unless certain measures are taken. While advancements in science and technology (such as the ones above) are impressive, I suppose there are some things that will always remain the same!