From Google glass to 3D printing, technology is endowing the jewellery industry with new life and changing the future of high street jewellery, for better or worse.
Three-dimensional printing technology, called laser sintering, is being employed to produce jewellery from computer images by leading jewellery companies, meaning we could expect personalised jewellery to be on offer from retailers in the future.
At present, the technique is expensive and has kinks which need to be ironed out, but the 3D printing opens up a whole world of possibility of original pieces made in a process similar to photocopying.
During the process, gold powder is used to fuse a metal which is ‘printed’ in layers to produce complex three dimensional shapes. The technology means that complex designs can be made, altered and produced rapidly.
Objects which have in the past been made out of solid metal can now be made as hollow shapes, reducing the amount of metal used and their weight. Furthermore, it means that pieces can easily be customised, creating original pieces for individual consumers.
Aside from using technology to create precious jewellery, technology has another hold on the jewellery industry as it gets smaller, more fashionable, and as we become more integrated with what it can offer. Creating cuffs to operate as mobile phones or Google search engines may sound futuristic, but are currently being made.
Google glass has made a recent breakthrough with glasses that enable you to see the time or date, find out facts about what you’re looking at, take photographs, record live what you see (and share it live like a video call) and even translate your voice.
As worn by celebrities such as Beyonce, Oprah and Bono, this begs the question of technology, which has become not only essential, but wearable, as glasses, necklaces, bracelets and even ear pieces, and how the jewellery industry might respond to this.
Fashion and technology are getting closer as we move from carrying around our phones which take pictures and access out emails, to wearing glasses which enable us to see and access the world differently.
Much of the technology available today doesn’t offer beautiful cutting edge devices that work with personal style. That might just be starting to change. Bluetooth connected jewellery contains electronics that enable the wearer to change the colour and brightness to suit their outfit or their mood, appealing to more than just technology lovers.
Be prepared to upgrade your diamonds!