Dutch department store Hema will be selling personalized 3D printed jewelry, as the company has announced it will soon be offering a service where customers can create their own necklaces and bracelets online. Hema will be the first giant retailer to offer a service which enables common customers to personalize their own jewelry online, after which a 3D printer will print out the objects. In addition, it will also be possible to buy 3D printed phone cases online from the retailer.
However, the company is not the first big retailer to 3D print jewelry. Last October, US retailer Neiman Marcus added a limited edition of 3D printed jewelry to its online stock. In order to be offering such a service, the company teamed up with Dutch company Shapeways.
Nevertheless, Hema is the first big department store to go for personalized 3D printed jewelry. So creating your own jewelry online; how does that actually work? Well, customers can choose between nylon bracelets and metal necklaces in a variety of colors. A piece of stainless steel will be attached to the necklace or bracelet in plain, matte black or gold-plated form. Customers can customize this piece of stainless steel in the way they want.
Dutch company Zazzy will be the company to supply the 3D printed jewelry to Hema. In an interview with Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, the company further explains the process: “You can enter up to eight characters, such as a person’s name, and you can enter symbols as an @ sign, heart, hashtag or a star. The result can for instance be an ornament with the nameplate of one’s child or loved one.”
The main problem with 3D printing nowadays is that the actual printing is still a slow process. And so it can take days before a piece of jewelry will be fully 3D printed, meaning customers of Hema must take in account that it could take as many as 15 to 20 days before they can actually receive the 3D printed jewelry.
In order to sell 3D printed phone cases for iPhones and Samsung Galaxy’s, Hema will work together with another, yet unknown, company. The market for jewelry, which is almost a 200 billion dollar market, is a way bigger market than the 3D printing market, which is still a 1 billion market. However, the 3D printing market is expected to grow rapidly the upcoming years, reaching 10,8 billion dollars by 2021. Hema has the ambition to be selling more 3D printed products in the future, also on a global scale.
In the field of retail, there are more parties working on projects with 3D printing. Last year, Giant UK supermarket Asda started offering a service where people can get a 3D printed figurine of themselves in Asda’s York store, called ‘mini-me’. Its current project is called ‘3D printing on tour‘, and a team with a 3D printer and scanner is now touring from shop to shop to offer this service throughout the UK.
And then there’s the other giant UK supermarket Tesco. Its IT Chief Mike McNamara believes that in a few years we could be welcoming a 3D printing service, whereby shoppers can order certain basic items and have them printed out on-demand. During a conversation with V3 he has said: “It’s still in its infancy, it’s been around for a few years, but it’s getting cheaper, it’s getting a little bit easier, it’s getting a little more flexible than it has been in the past.”
“I think over the next few years you will see 3D printing in shops, because for the missing hose from the vacuum printer, you can print them in the time that someone enters the store, does a bit of shopping and leaves the store. So I can definitely see that being part of the retail offering in the none too distant future.”
Credits images: Zazzy.