Oct 8, 2015 | By Kira

Buying jewelry, either for yourself or a loved one, can be an anxiety-inducing affair. The fit has to be perfect, the finish just right, and if it’s just the slightest bit gaudy, showy, or doesn’t fit the person’s style, it risks never leaving the gift box from whence it came. For the picky jewelry-wearers among us, Trove’s new 3D printed jewelry marketplace is about to become a haven. It allows users to select from pre-existing designs, create their own from scratch, then select from a variety of metals, from brass to 14K gold. But that’s not all; to ensure complete satisfaction before having to commit, Trove sends customers a plastic prototype of their design to try on at home. By taking advantage of the speed and low cost of rapid-prototyping and the customization and quality of 3D printed products, Trove may have finally brought beautiful 3D printed jewelry to the consumer market.

We have seen a lot of artists create stunning 3D printed jewelry designs, or bold and playful pieces like these, but none that have truly reached everyday buyers, either because they aren’t affordable, or because they just don’t suit current tastes and trends. In a way, that very problem sums up the reason why 3D printing is still considered a niche or enthusiasts hobby: the potential is incredible, but the barrier to entry is seen as too high. Trove co-founder and CEO Brian Park, former product manager for Zynga, became aware of this gap, and wanted to find a way to make 3D printing available to everybody, regardless of their skills or experience. “How can we make a device where we can link 3D printing to something accessible to everyone?” he asked. “That’s when we decided to focus on jewelry.”

The process for getting your own 3D printed wearable depends on just want you want. Users can select from and customize the preexisting designs (so far, the site offers 25 base models in each the rings and bracelet category. Necklaces will be available soon) and then enter their size and desired material (bronze, copper, sterling silver, or 18K gold to name a few). They can also create designs entirely from scratch through an intuitive CAD-like interface. Finally any designs created on Trove become a part of their social stream, so users can explore pieces customized by others and either modify them further, or order as-is. The social media aspect allows users to follow each other and keep up-to-date with trending designs.

Then comes the nifty part. Once users are happy with their designed, they are sent a free plastic prototype to try-on at home. From that point, if no other customizations are required, the final product is sent. If users aren’t happy with the prototype and decide to change their minds, a minimal $6-7 fee is charged. Prices for finished products start at $60 and can go all the way up to $3,000 for an 18K gold bracelet.

“3D printing will eventually enable everyone to have customized products, because it makes single-batch manufacturing affordable to the average person,” said Park. With consumer-oriented services like Trove, more and more people will have access to 3D printing technology, and become familiar with the endless possibilities. The online marketplace is available as of today, and a gifting system is on the way—hopefully just in time for the holidays.

 

 

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