How 3D printing is disrupting the jewellery industry

  • Design
  • October 9, 2018
  • Hemma Vara
How 3D printing is disrupting the jewellery industry

3D printing is challenging traditional production processes in the jewellery industry. The perfect meld between fashion and technology, it gives a new meaning to the term 'wearable tech'. We talk to Amelia Diggle, the brains behind Human Interface (HI) Jewellery about her experience with 3D printing and creating a jewellery company.  

It's clear from the HI Jewellery website that Amelia has an affinity with making technology fashionable, from the cool yet code-like font to the names of her jewellery lines which include 'cursor', 'image' and 'zoom-in'. 

After Amelia completed her industrial design degree at university, she wanted to do a metalsmith course. She has also had a love for jewellery charms from a young age, having been given a charm bracelet by her Grandma which was added to for the first 10 years of her life.

Pointer Earrings HI Jewellery

Amelia experimented with and made a 3D printer at university. However, ten years on, 3D printing of consumable personal products is still in its infancy. According to Gartner's 2017 Hype Cycle for 3D printing, we're at the absolute beginning of the curve, particularly concerning the use of 3D printed precious metals (gold and silver). 

Amelia likens the process of 3D printed jewellery to carefully coded components in digital interfaces. The jewellery has been user tested, iterated and prototyped to pixel perfection, resulting in a wearable interface. 

The toggle ring is Amelia's favourite piece on the HI Jewellery website. She enjoys using the toggle switch in digital user interfaces, and says it's a simple translation of a physical object into digital flat screens. She hopes that HI Jewellery will inspire the design of future wearable technology. For example, in the future you could program your toggle ring to send a text to your partner to say you love them, open the garage door or turn your music on #internetofthings. 

HI Jewellery Toggle Ring

As a UX designer by day, industrial design has taught Amelia how important a join is, in the space where two or more parts are connected. If you think about your physical products that you love, you probably won't notice the joins because a designer has done them so well. The same applies to Amelia's jewellery, the joins of the materials and parts are smooth and careful. This has also been a guiding principle for the overall HI Jewellery brand, where the website, social media, packaging and jewellery all fit together. 

Amelia's UX experience has taught her time and time again how important user testing is. She only makes designs that have been popular on HI Jewellery's social media accounts. She notes that a key part of user testing in software design is the ability to be agile, and to adapt products as they are developed. 

Being a leading woman in tech, we ask Amelia why it's important for women to play a part in the tech industry. She says that if there is a similar group of people designing, building and managing a product, then this product will be affected by the group's bias. Diversity in tech is critical if we want to make products that are for everyone. 

Ultimately, HI Jewellery's use of 3D printing makes them part of the 4th Industrial revolution which as Amelia puts it, is 'super fr**k'n cool'. 

This story originally appeared on The Good Blog.

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