Your Necklace Is At The Printer

Allison P. Davis covers on a new technique in jewelry-making:

Most interesting … is the technological trick that allows [jeweler Iconery] to sell beautiful, of-the-moment jewelry at relatively cheap prices: They create the pieces on 3-D printers. While the new technology might seem gimmicky, this isn’t the standard Makerbot plastic jewelry.

Iconery utilizes 3-D printers specifically designed for the fine-jewelry industry — that is, the same technology used to create high-end, one-off pieces by Tiffany, Van Cleef, and Cartier. The advanced machinery will allow them to produce even the most intricate and fine micro-pavé pieces on an expedited timeline from their manufacturing headquarters in Los Angeles.

So how does it work for the customer? If all goes well, by customers will be able to customize various pre-set jewelry designs to create pieces that are fashion-forward and affordable. Say you want something like the Hoorsenbuhs ring. You’ll go to the Iconery website — the company is aiming for a spring 2015 launch — and select a design. (On the site, there will be a curated selection of styles from up-and-coming designers, as well as big-name jewelers.) From there, you’ll make choices that determine how much it will cost. For instance, if you know you can’t afford 18-karat gold and white diamonds, select vermeil (sterling silver coated with gold) and white sapphires — it will still feel just you’ve purchased a $6,000 piece, but only set you back $400. And you’ll have it within two weeks.