A Brief History of Jewelry

The very beginning
110,000 – 73,000 B.C. – Decorative sea shell beads are found in the archeological digs in Morocco which were most likely used as amulets.


Introduction of gold jewelry
4400 B.C. – Ancient Thracian civilization produced the oldest known jewelry made from gold.


Copper & Gemstone Era
5000 – 30 B.C. – Copper is introduced as a material. Gold arrives in Egypt around 4000 BC. Many jewelry designs based on scarab beetles, scrolls, winged birds, tigers, jackals, etc were widely made artifacts of jewelry.


Religion brings widespread ceremonial jewelry adoption
1066 – 1485 – With the help of religion, Medieval jewelry prospered throughout Europe. Hair and clothing were popular choices for jewelry during religious ceremonies. Many of these pieces were adorned with gemstones such as rubies, sapphires, pearls, emeralds and diamonds.


Roaring Twenties & Art Deco
1920 – 1935 – The Roaring Twenties brought the rise of the Art Deco. This introduced jewelry filled with geometric shapes, vibrant colors, intricate designs, cubism, modernism and oriental art. It also popularized wristwatches.


Post World War II
1939 – The influence of World War II brought widespread embargoes on gemstones. Metal based designs soon become the popular choice of jewelry. Diamonds soon solidified its spot as the most popular gemstone with powerful marketing campaigns, “A diamond is forever”.


3D printing and the internet of everything
Now – 3D printing technology along with sites like http://www.shapeways.com (which is now offering gold as a material choice) are once again changing the way jewelry is manufactured and customized. In the future, these accessories will have sophisticated technology built into them allowing one to be connected anywhere in the world.


Top 5 prosumer 3D printers 2014

Here is a list of “prosumer” quality 3D printers out right now that I think are worth your attention, money and time. By prosumer, I am referring to high quality 3D printing machines made for those who already know how to use the technology such as engineers, architects, modelers, etc. Some are easier than others to set up and use, so take your own skill level into consideration when choosing. Those who are new to the technology are best served learning by building their own or starting out basic – such as the Replicator Mini or the Cubify Cube 3. The typical price range for prosumer 3D printers go from $2,000-$4,000.

MakerBot Replicator (5th Generation)


  • Price: $2,899
  • Resolution: 100 microns
  • Software: MakerWare
  • Features: LCD display, smart extruder, camera, thingiverse


Ultimaker 2

Ultimaker 2

  • Price: $2,699
  • Resolution: 20 microns
  • Software: Cura
  • Features: large print/size ratio, speed: 30 – 300 mm/s, heated bed


Form 1


  • Price: $3,299
  • Resolution: 20 microns
  • Software: PreForm
  • Features: stereolithography technology, resin material, finishing kit




  • Price: $3,299
  • Resolution: 20 microns
  • Software: Cubify Invent
  • Features: 3 simultaneous colors + materials, controlled print environment, touchscreen display and wi-fi


Pegasus Touch 


  • Price: $3,499
  • Resolution: 5 microns
  • Features: laser precision – superior quality, touch screen with 3D app store, resin material


Any of these printers is a great purchase! Personally, I recommend the Ultimaker 2 for it’s combination of price, speed, quality, reliability and ease of use. It is a wonderful machine for all skill levels. And not to mention it is impeccably designed and aesthetically pleasing with it’s glowing white aura. Both the Form One and Pegasus Touch use SLA (Stereolithography) technology which many consider “true” 3D printing technology and is capable of very detailed prints however there is still a ways to go before it is far superior than the FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) process.

Those new to 3D printing who are deciding between professional grade consumer printers (prosumer) should take into account support, size of community and ease of use. Here is how I would group the 3D printers:

  • Beginners: MakerBot Replicator, Ultimaker 2, CubePro
  • Advanced: Ultimaker 2, Form 1, Pegasus Touch

3D printing art is not just a possibility it is already a trend

When most people hear ‘3D printing’ they picture it in a manufacturing sense. You know… a factory-machine chugging out units of anything you can imagine. What people miss is the true game changing ability to create anything and everything. This lends great to makers and artists alike who have a ‘If I can dream it, I can make it’ mentality.

Since the early introduction of consumer-level 3D printers, those who were associated with the 3D graphics modeling industry had suddenly found a new play toy. 3D printers instantly turned 3D graphic modelers into artists. Customization became key. Artists who had difficulty making certain shapes or structures can now use 3D printing to bring that idea to life – no matter the size!

So, here are some amazing works of 3D printed art:

Modla x Damilola Odusote Nike Air Force 1 3D Printed Sculpture



Nike of Samothrace



Monochromatic Radiance



Memorial Bust of a Woman (self-portrait)

Sophie Kahn


Quixotic Divinity Headdress



Bust of a Youth



Thru Religion



3D Printed Arabic Ceiling



3D Printed Room



Noisy Boy from Real Steel

Screenshot 2014-03-19 16.01.40


How will 3D printing impact supply chain and manufacturing?

Many people don’t realize it but the impacts of 3D printing are potentially far reaching enough to be considered the ‘Next Industrial Revolution’! It’s impacts will mostly be felt on the supply chain and manufacturing segments of a business. Well how you ask?

Multiple ways:

  • First, mass customization = cheaper equipment costs and faster layover time (elimination). This means new equipment does not need to be bought when a new design is manufactured.
  • Second, automation. Programmability will enable 3D printing to take over many of steps in the supply chain such as manufacturing, assembly, packaging and eventually shipping.
  • Third, elimination of inventory. All inventory costs are gone. 3D printing is the definition of made-to-order, and because of its customizability it is infinitely flexible.
  • Fourth, necessity of outsourcing to suppliers will be decreased and possibly eliminated. Supplies and equipment can and will be 3D printed on a whim.
  • Fifth, an ability for entrepreneurial innovation. People are able to design and create their ideas immediately and for a small cost. Ex: Prototypes, Art projects.
  • Sixth, the materials created and used are sure to be healthy for big blue herself, Earth. In time, regulations and rules on the carbon impacts of machines and materials will be developed. The effects of 3D printing on pollution are sure to be slim to none.

The field is so new that it is just waiting to be revolutionized.


3D Printing: Transforming the way fashion is created

Those eager to whet their appetite in the jewelry making space do need to be aware of the impacts of this new additive technology. For consumers and makers new ways of manufacturing are greatly welcomed, however 3D printing brings both excitement and anxiety for the fashion industry.

For aspiring designers, it significantly lowers the cost of prototyping and manufacturing. The days of dealing with minimum orders from an outside supplier taking weeks in the process are long gone. 3D printers offer a chance to see how customers respond to designs before committing to substantial orders. Importantly, 3D printing lowers the barriers of entry into jewelry making.

Jewelry has long been considered split into two markets – homemade and luxury. It is obvious how 3D printing aids the homemade sector. The ability to share files and designs and print them instantaneously makes the printers that much easier to use. But to the luxury sector, 3D printing technology brings with it a few interesting caveats:

  • If a 3D printer can create jewelry at the same quality as traditional methods is it still considered luxury?
  • What is luxury anyways?
  • How do you prevent counterfeiting and protect the intellectual property of name brands?
  • What happens when anyone with the design file and a 3D printer wants to duplicate his or her favorite necklace from say, Bvlgari?
  • Will new copyright laws have to be made for .stl design files to prevent outright duplication?
  • And what about 3D scanners?

Fashion is and always has been a constantly changing scene, thus originality trumps everything. So even if designs are copied, the important question is, “who did it first”? People want to know. In my opinion, the designers and creators will still get their fair share of due credit.

Bvlgari necklace

On a basic level, 3D printing aids jewelry makers in a couple factors: sizing and customization. No one is preventing luxury jewelry manufactures from using 3D printers as well, so in all respect the playing field is level when it comes to 3D printers transforming the jewelry industry. For the time being the economic  promises of 3D printing far outweigh the negatives so why not make now the time to experiment and master this disruptive new technology?

So where can I buy some 3D printed jewelry?

So you want to get your hands on some freshly printed jewelry? With the 3D printed goods market still evolving there are already many places to find jewelry online. Some of these marketplaces may be already be familiar. You’ll find all of that below:


Etsy – One of the Internet’s largest marketplaces for handmade products. Naturally, this community lends itself to 3D printed objects. Although technically 3D printing isn’t a “handmade” process the design, creation and DIY movement of the industry certainly places it into the handmade category. There are literally thousands of jewelry designs to choose from, many of which are 3D printed!


Shapeways – Another marketplace where one can find a design they love, choose its material and have it shipped right to their door. Likewise, one can model their own product, upload it to Shapeways, choose the material and have that delivered as well. It is a wonderful marketplace for sellers and creative thinkers alike.


Nervous System – Industrial design studio that integrates processes and patterns found in nature to create unique and affordable art, jewelry, and housewares. Very heavily technology focused – designs are created using algorithms!


Hot Pop Factory – This Toronto based creative design team uses digital fabrication technology to bring ideas to life. With a keen focus on the artistic side of 3D printing the designs from Hot Pop Factory sure do raise eyebrows. Hot Pop Factory provides services such as design service, 3D interactivity and education on the industry itself. This start-up is sure to be a staple in the creative side of 3D printing.


Something for all

Here are some gorgeous examples of 3D printed jewelry found online. The possibilities are quite literally endless!

diamond necklace

ruby printed earrings

huge diamond ring

Some metal 3D printed jewelry examples:

Stainless Steel

metal necklace



Many metals cannot be 3D printed (yet) but jewelry makers are already making wax molds using 3D printers. Shown below is a cast for a silver ring.