Dec 1, 2017 | By David

When Suits actress Meghan Markle agreed to marry Queen Elizabeth II’s grandson earlier this week, waves of euphoria spread across Britain and its former colonies, and some of the ripples were also felt in the world of 3D printing. 37 year-old Markle, who will be the first member of the Suits cast to marry into royalty, was given a breathtaking engagement ring as a result of her agreeing to the ex-soldier’s proposal, and a 3D printed copy of it is now available online. The replica version has quickly become the best-selling ring for its supplier, Canadian jewellery retailer Jewlr.

The original ring was fabricated by the Queen’s favourite jeweller, Cleave and Company, and designed personally by Prince Henry of Wales Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order, known informally as ‘Harry’. The bespoke piece features a band made of yellow gold, Markle’s favourite type of gold, as well as three offensively expensive diamonds. One of the stones was sourced from the African nation of Botswana, which has the world’s third-highest prevalence rate for HIV/AIDS, and the other two are from the personal collection of Harry’s late mother Diana.

According to Michael Fried, the CEO of diamond company Diamond Pro, this unique combination of bling and cultural nostalgia makes the ring a real one-of-a-kind. “There is no way for anyone to put a value on the whole ring,” he said. “Having diamonds from the royal collection that Princess Diana wore makes the ring priceless...A three-carat diamond like that should cost around $200,000, through the diamond qualities us non-Royal folk usually go with would allow us to get a similar sized diamond for about $80,000’’.

For people with a more limited budget, Toronto-based manufacturer Jewlr is offering an affordable version with a selection of different gems, known as ‘The Duchess’ and priced at $99. Seeing an opportunity to profit from all the rabid royal fervour, the online company used laser 3D printing and conventional jewellery manufacturing techniques to create its replica version. It took mere hours after the engagement news broke for the site to put up its copy of the ring now sported on the third finger of the left hand of the future Duchess, who is also currently based in Toronto and will unfortunately never officially be called ‘Princess Meghan’.

Prior to this latest announcement, Jewlr already made some serious hay when the never-setting sun of the British Empire shone on Markle earlier this year. Her appearance in the global media wearing ‘H’ and ‘M’ pendant necklaces, shortly after she was first officially introduced as Harry’s partner in November 2016, caused a twentyfold increase in sales of similar items on the site. Now Harry has successfuly followed the advice of another queen who is not his grandmother, his putting a ring on it should lead to a wedding in the spring of 2018, and Markle-mania shows no signs of going away before that. ‘The Duchess’ is Jewlr’s best-selling ring style, and is currently outselling other items by 15 percent.

According to Jewlr founder Tony Davis, "Within minutes of Harry and Meghan's photocall going live, we experienced a huge influx of searches for three-stone rings. Due to our production methods, we can turn designs around extremely quickly, and once online, products can be created and shipped to customers within days. It's great to be able to meet customers' demands for celebrity styles so easily. We already know that Meghan is one of the most influential celebrities for driving our sales in the UK, but it's interesting to see the same effect with a traditional engagement ring. Interestingly, we had an equal amount of female customers as male, which could mean a new trend for women buying engagement styles as a fashion accessory."

In the United States in recent years, companies selling engagement rings have been encouraging customers to spend about two month’s salary on them, and it seems they have been happy to oblige. The average amount a person spends on an engagement ring in the U.S. has grown to around $6,000, and this is likely to continue to rise.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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