3D Printing in Jewelry Markets Will Reach $11 Billion by 2020
The jewelry and watch industry had total revenue of almost $300 Billion in 2014. Jewelry is the primary industry studied in a recent 3-D printing report from SmarTech Markets Publishing entitled Opportunities for 3D Printing in Precious Metals. Ithas modeled the value of rings, necklaces, timepiece components, and other common consumer fashion items made via direct and indirect methods of 3-D printing to reach $11 billion by 2020.
The report does discuss other uses of metal 3-D printing, such as biomedical (titanium hip implants, for instance), dental, and 3-D printed electronics. It is a fee-based report, but for those in the jewelry industry it may be worth the investment: Opportunities for 3D Printing in Precious Metals. The company sent me a media copy of the first chapter and reporting reflects that chapter alone. The report is written by Scott Dunham, Senior Analyst for SmarTech Markets Publishing, who has been studying additive manufacturing and 3D printing markets since 2011. He is also an avid blogger and industry commentator for the 3D printing industry, featured in a variety of online and print media sources.
Looking at 3-D printing activity within the jewelry industry from two angles, the report explores the “traditional” use of 3-D printing for lost wax casting models, as well as the emerging potential for directly fabricated jewelry using powder bed fusion. It discusses different vendors as well as their technologies. If you want to dig in more on what is coming in 3-D printed electronics, be sure to check out new entrant, Voxel8, but I do not believe they are mentioned in the SmarTech report.
Jewelry players analyzed include the 3-D printer manufacturers: 3D Systems, Solidscape (wax models), Concept Laser, EnvisionTEC, EOS, and Realizer, plus service bureaus Shapeways, Sculpteo. 3-D software maker Autodesk ADSK +0.35% is also mentioned. Progold, the material company that creates gold and other alloy powders is included, too.
Like many industries, 3-D printing threatens a certain level of “disruption” according to the report. While I believe that existing, entrenched jewelry makers can adopt and roll out 3-D technologies, if they are not already, there are definitely challenges from the service bureau and small scale jewelry makers and shops.
Since I have spent some time with Shapeways, I can see how it is possible that service bureaus that allow Ebay-like storefronts, made up of individual jewelry artisans, could comprise a fairly significant market share, over time. Shapeways recently introduced a personalization option, called CustomMaker, for artisans to make it easier for consumers to customize jewelry (or other 3D creations) on the service.
Add in the growing number of digital platforms to sell customized 3-D printed jewelry directly to consumers, growth in 3-D printing jewelry is set for a rapid pace in the future. While I have not seen metal 3-D systems in use on services like Load 3D Hubs, no doubt someone will make the investment and offer jewelry prints.