Second Time Around
Replicate lost jewelry with 3-D printing
One of those techy innovations that just keeps garnering more and more buzz, 3-D printing has always seemed so fascinating...yet so useless in our everyday lives.
But one company is using it to save your ass when you drop your engagement ring down the drain.
A mainstay in NYC’s diamond district for some 60-plus years, American Pearl recently started employing digital design programs and 3-D printers to allow shoppers to customize their jewelry--and also to create exact copies.
But how do you replicate something that no longer exists? By uploading a photo to the Internet. The designers then use CAD software to translate your image into a 3-D rendering that you can preview and tweak as much as you’d like before it’s cast. The jewelry itself is not 3-D printed, but the molds are. Traditionally, jewelers use wire, baskets and blowtorches to construct, say, an engagement ring, but American Pearl first prints a wax version, then fashions a mold, pours the hot metal into the mold (creating the actual ring) and finally adds gemstones.
Just don’t tell Nana that it’s not the original.