Customized Jewelry

Last week I finally made it to a jeweler to get a few things repaired. One of my favorite necklaces broke at the start of the pandemic. The numerous lockdowns and restrictions kept delaying the repair. Eventually, I decided it was a priority. I’ve been missing the necklace for a long time.

The visit to the jeweler started out the same as any other visit. I showed him my broken jewelry. He assessed it, quoted some prices, and estimated the repair time. He placed each item into separate bags with a small handwritten note to indicate the repair. Then he handed me a paper repair ticket with an order number on it. Normally, this would have been the end of the visit. Except somehow or other, we ended up chatting about how he designs jewelry.

He fired up his computer and showed us a three-dimensional drawing of a ring he designed. Then he whipped out his phone to show us a photo of the finished product. Although a lot of professions use computers for drawing, designing, planning, I had never considered a jeweler using it. I suppose it’s because actual people create custom jewelry by hand. Each piece crafted individually. In fact, the last time I went to a jeweler for a custom creation, everything was by hand.

It was fascinating watching the jeweler show us all the different design options. He could change the cut of the stone or the color instantly. I particularly enjoyed seeing the finished product rotate in a three-dimensional view. Although there was clearly a good deal of imagination and creativity going into the design process, I left the store wondering about the future of jewelry design with AI (artificial intelligence). Similar to so many other professions, I’m sure it’s possible for non-jewelers to download some kind of app to custom create their own jewelry. After, a person might create the design. Or it might just be a sophisticated 3D printer ready to print gold, silver, and diamonds.

Unique, custom jewelry creations amaze me. Although it seems inevitable that this, too, may one day be replaced, or augmented by AI, for now I can enjoy the work of an artisan. I’m looking forward to seeing the repairs, something that at least for now, still requires a skilled human.

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