Dec.12, 2013

New York-based jeweler American Pearl used 3D printing to double its sales, writes Fox news' Melissa Perenson.

American Pearl allows consumers to fully customize their own jewelry to their exact specifications, choosing their designs, pearls, gemstones, metal color and more using a state of the art process including 3D Printing. "We never knew how much consumers wanted to change the products they were buying until we offered the option." said Eddie Bakhash, CEO of American Pearl. American Pearl wants to put the power of creation into the hands of their customers.

Customers can view 3D renderings of their jewelry online and customize with their selection of metal, pearls, and choose size and type of gemstone, or the the piece's form and fittings. Once the order is placed, the company uses a $45,650 Solidscape T76 3D printer to create a lost-wax casting mold and then pours gold to fashion the final piece. The main attraction to this technology is the appeal of solidifying one jewelry design and then producing multiple parts in the one build, containing various part geometries and complexities. This takes not only the costs down but also the process by 90 percent because 3D printing is so much faster.

"In the old way, jewelers had to spend a lot of hours carving [by hand]. It would take me two weeks to create that piece. We can do it in a day now," said Eddie Bakhash, CEO and son of the founder of American Pearl, which has had a storefront in New York City's Diamond District since 1950. "There's no way we could have all of these pieces if it weren't for technology. The jeweler has been replaced by software." Depending upon the piece, creation can take just a few hours.

The company plans to add a direct metal laser sintering machine next year. The process uses a high power laser to fuse metal powders into a mass that has a desired three-dimensional shape. This approach will allow American Pearl to create more intricate designs.

The 3D rendering and printing platform has also helped to boost sales of jewelry. In November alone, Bakhash says sales doubled year-over-year, an impact directly attributable to the 3D printing process. He called the technology "very disruptive" to the $85 billion a year U.S. jewelry industry.

Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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