3D Printing! Such a fantastic invention, with handy, everyday items being made with the technology, as well as the oddity, like dresses that can actually be worn. What a boon to the designer, who wants to see a finished product without the pains of actual manufacture!...
Machines can make just about anything you can dream.
Envision TEC has a 3D printer that is made by Texas Instruments that is pretty cheap and will make general purpose master models, castings, has capability for high temperature molding, with a photo silver high temperature application for fine detailing.
Dremel even has it's own version of a 3D printer for around a thousand dollars. while the filament used costs around $30/ spool. Not bad, really when you think of the applications you can use it for.
If you would like a read about the subject, check this out: What is 3D Printing?
3D Printed Gold Collection Set to Transform Jewelry Industry
Is online selling part of the future? We have seen an upsurge of online stores like Etsy and
Studies in 1999 showed that consumers picked "Independent Jewelers" over Department store jewelers, by 53%, however in a 2008 study, 41% said they chose Independent Jewelers over Department Store. Now, other indicators show that this trend isn't quite what it seems, and it was done before some online stores really took off in business. The future studies will show, but with online sales by independent jewelers at an all time high, and the new lineup of Amazon hand made... the trend towards more exclusive or independent jewelers should rise.
Schools, or workshops spring up all across the United States and around the world, as people are more and more interested in the craft. Shows like the Bead and Button show and the Bead Fest, where teachers are readily available in areas from metal work, enameling, silverwork, and beading, it is easy to imagine that many new students will be entering the field.
Does that mean anything for the field? Possibly for costume jewelry. The price for costume should go down, the price has been inflated recently, people wanting to make a lot of money, thinking that because they learn a bit, they should earn a lot for their time... but for goldsmiths, and diamond cutters, the trend will probably not touch their work. It takes time and practice, good tutelage as well as the investment not only in time, but the monetary investment as well, that will set apart these masters.
(see “The JCK–Harrison Group Consumer Jewelry Study,” JCK, July 2008, p. 65).