The fingerprint certainly couldn’t be a better symbol for the world opened up to so many of us by 3D printing, not to mention a totally cool piece of jewelry that’s perfectly identifiable should a thief have the gall to try and part you with it.
The world is becoming increasingly aware of the innovations 3D printing is contributing to the world–with validity–and obvious staying power. From art to aeronautics, and from novelties and figurines to bioprinting, what is being produced is often so much the focus that we don’t also see the broader picture in terms of the many layers of potential that 3D printing has overall. Affordability is key, but customization is where it’s at–for many, many industries. From the shoe that fits the athlete perfectly to being able to offer a patient-specific implant, our world won’t be one size fits all for much longer.
Jewelry is of course a perfect example of an industry where customization is not only nice but generally required for items like rings, and often bracelets and more. Uxbridge, Ontario, Canada where Jeffrey Ross and his wife Patti Moloney own and operate Dimples Jewellry.
While they might be in a smaller area, operating a boutique family store, that doesn’t mean they weren’t able to bring in some big options for their customers due to a market that’s growing bigger and bigger too, in the form of digital design and 3D printing.
This new level of business–and newfangled technology tools for jewelers–came about through a bit of somewhat unconscious advertising (always the best kind) that Patti was doing for the store in wearing a piece of jewelry that simply couldn’t show off more customization–or creativity. For Mother’s Day–her first as a mother–Jeffrey had given her a tiny fingerprint pendant on a necklace.
The fingerprint was their son’s, beautifully and poignantly embedded in silver for posterity. It’s plain to see why customers began asking for one of their own, customized to their own family members’ details–and even pets too. If you can do a fingerprint, why not a pawprint, after all? And from there, it began and just kept on going, with customization options as infinite as the number of people dreaming them up.
Enter the 3D printer. And customers as designers.
“The big thing in jewelry right now is personalization and customization,” said Jeff.
Turning their jewelry store into more of a fun experience than they probably ever expected, they have been able to expand to items like fingerprint rings, charms, stamped designs, and other items. Customers can upload photos of their children’s hands, drawings, more sophisticated artwork–and of course, the design the started it all–fingerprints even, through the use of a special reader. They can choose the final result of the piece, and whether they’d like it finished the old-fashioned way by hand, or produced on a 3D printer.
“We’ve created a system that allows the customer to create their own piece and puts control in the hands of the consumer,” says Jeff.
Not only is the process fun, exciting, and hopefully profitable for the store, the new customization and 3D printing aspect shows customers that the proprietors care enough to offer extra, innovative methods that help them stay that much closer in touch with loved ones through mementos that are so very personalized.
“When we started six or seven years ago this would not have been possible,” says Patti. “It’s revolutionary. When people see what we’re doing they say ‘wait, you did all that in Uxbridge?’ But that’s what technology does, you can build a company anywhere.”
“Every piece has a story. If you ask someone about their Dimples piece they will immediately touch it and tell you the story behind it. Our customers become ambassadors for us.”
As they point out, the most special part of the new services they offer is in the legacy aspect, and that’s certainly not lost on the customers who are also now able to play such a big part in creating their own jewelry and making lifetime memories that can be handed down through the generations. Discuss this story in the Dimples Jewelry forum thread on 3DPB.com.[Source: DurhamRegion]