Technology is a jeweler’s secret weapon for making incredible designs for consumers to covet. While most shoppers will never know about the amount of research and development and training needed to execute the most complicated designs, some important manufacturers are relying on technological advances that should be on your radar.
For starters, in the realm of production, some large outfits lean on direct resin casting (DRC) to produce custom jobs quickly and at a lower cost.
“Here we skip the model-making process and take the design from CAD straight to casting,” says Valerie Fletcher, vice president of design and product development at ODI/Original Designs. “Another benefit is that you can do much more intricate and complex designs, which would be difficult or impossible to do using a traditional mold and achieve more detailed surface finishes. DRC has revolutionized our bracelet business, because we can print a whole bracelet, already linked. This eliminates assembly and soldering, keeping the finish impeccable.”
More magic happens by way of custom numerical control or CNC machines that cut metal tubes or plates into any form. Among them: machined bands, name necklaces, designs with negative space, and intricate patterns.
“Since there is no casting involved, finishes are sharp, clean, and virtually porosity free,” adds Fletcher.
Shah Luxury built a platform of tools for customization, including 3D visualization, 360-degree views, virtual try-on capabilities, hologram visualization features, and a “phygital” (blending digital experiences with physical ones) ring builder experience.
“We did that because we wanted to engage consumers and eliminate the fear in the customization process,” says company principal Neil Shah.
Another new project? An AI design studio. “It’s getting a strong response,” he adds. “It inspires ideas.”
For Richline Group, 3D printing eliminates “two or three different production steps,” says Moss Makhoulian, senior vice president. “[3D printing] is great for sculpted or carved items or intricate pieces with fine details.”
Theresa Namie, merchandise manager, Ostbye, relies on The Edge software to provide relevant product information to her retailers. Another huge benefit of using The Edge? Knowing exactly what’s selling through. “We have linked with The Edge to provide our customers that use their program an advantage to their inventory control,” she says.
Custom wholesale websites, too, created for retailers to quickly order collections, are top of mind at The Kingswood Company, maker of the Clean + Care line of jewelry cleaners and accessories.
According to Heather Brown, vice president of content and editorial, consumer demand for jewelry care and cleaning kits is growing—a fact that prompted the jewelry care kit maker to make an easy-to-navigate experience for merchants to obtain new offerings or best sellers. Through user-friendly site navigation and the brand’s own beautiful aesthetic, the website “differentiates Clean + Care from other jewelry care brands,” she says.
Finally, sometimes an innovative setting is the only technological innovation that matters, especially for beautiful jewelry. Consider the SkySet collection of diamond jewelry from IDD Luxe, which has a proprietary floating effect that offers unobstructed diamond views and up to 70% more visible surface area.
“The technological advancements in this collection invite more light to flow through the diamonds,” explains Julian Purifoy, marketing manager. “The SkySetting eliminates the need for prongs and allows for a larger diamond surface area with openings on the sides and bottom of the stone.”