3D Printing and the Future of Forged Jewelry

March 21st, 2013 / by Andrea Duchon / one comment / permalink


A few weeks ago, Mashable reported on the next generation of Makerbot 3D printing and posed a serious question:

Will the ability to print small-scale computer models in metal cause an uptick in forged jewelry?

Like many bloggers have already noted, the obvious answer is yes.

But we shouldn’t forget that forgery in the jewelry world is nothing new. Take a walk down Canal Street any day of the week and you’ll be able to turn up a slew of fake Rolexes on every corner. So it’s not quite that the ability to 3D print jewelry will kick start forgery – it will only make it easier.

And if that’s the case, what effect does the ability to make fake jewelry at home have on a larger scale, and on you? Because it’s unrealistic to think that the industry as a whole will be able to keep up with intelligent scammers, it means that it will be up to consumers to get a whole lot smarter.

Wondering what you can do to ensure that your cash is going to the artist and not to a sleazy con? Here are three tips to keep in mind next time you’re in the market to buy:

Shop Local

Shopping in reputable stores that have relationships with designers is a great place to start. A good salesperson should also be able to answer questions about individual pieces and the people who make them.

Grill ‘Em

Speaking of questions, don’t be afraid to ask the tough ones before you make a purchase. Anyone who’s selling a piece should know some background on the designer, their process, and how long that piece has been out on the market. And if they don’t know that information off the top of their heads, they should quickly be able to tell you where you can find it.

If It’s Too Good to be True…

You guessed it – it probably is. An in-season Dannijo cuff that retails for $550 is suddenly $125 on ebay? Take extra caution when purchasing goods online, and always double and triple check that the source is reliable.



We want to hear from you. How do you think 3D printing will change the jewelry industry? Let’s talk about it in the comments.


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