[Image: AP Photo, Matt Dunham]
I am one of those many Americans who is just a tiny bit (okay, maybe a lot) obsessed with the British monarchyâ€¦not the system, so much, as the royals themselves. While I was not yet born when Prince Charles married Princess Di, nÃ©e Lady Diana Spencer, in 1981, I do remember the overwhelming sadness of watching her funeral procession on TV many years later. But I loved seeing pictures of the handsome princes in magazines growing up, and like many others, woke up early the day Prince William wed Kate Middleton â€“ now Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge â€“ to watch as much of the ceremony on TV as I could before heading into the officeâ€¦and I may have tuned in once or twice from my work computer as well. So as you may expect, I was thrilled to hear of Prince Harryâ€™s engagement to American actress Meghan Markle this week.
[Image: Chris Jackson, Getty Images]
The custom engagement ring, designed by Prince Harry, features three stones â€“ the center one was sourced from the coupleâ€™s previous vacation destination of Botswana, and two smaller diamonds from his late motherâ€™s private collection are nestled on either side.
Iâ€™m certain that my fascination with Markleâ€™s gorgeous engagement ring is shared by people around the world, and in fact, I have some proof to back this up â€“ online jewelry retailr Jewlr, based out of Toronto, Canada (where Markle currently resides), introduced a replica of the gorgeous ring only hours after the announcement of the royal engagement hit the wire. The company, which is the countryâ€™sÂ leading online destination for personalized jewelry, reported that The DuchessÂ ring is, not surprisingly, extremely popular, and very quickly became the brandâ€™s top-selling engagement ring style, outselling others by 15%. In addition, searches on the Jewlr website for three-stone rings are also up a whopping 220% in just one night.
By now youâ€™re likely wondering where 3D printing fits into all of this, though you may also be able to guess where Iâ€™m going. Jewlr, founded in 2009, uses advanced 3D modeling and 3D printing techniques, combined withÂ traditional jewelry manufacturing methods like casting, to produce its rings, which lets them jump on the ball and recreate the hottest trends fastâ€¦and what trend is hotter right now than a royal wedding?
â€œWithin minutes of Harry and Meghanâ€™s photocall going live, we experienced a huge influx of searches for three-stone rings. Due to our production methods, we can turn designs around extremely quickly, and once online, products can be created and shipped to customers within days. Itâ€™s great to be able to meet customersâ€™ demands for celebrity styles so easily,â€� saidÂ Jewlr founderÂ Tony Davis. â€œWe already know that Meghan is one of the most influential celebrities for driving our sales in the UK, but itâ€™s interesting to see the same effect with a traditional engagement ring. Interestingly, we had an equal amount of female customers as male, which could mean a new trend for women buying engagement styles as a fashion accessory.â€�
Whether youâ€™re interested in rings, bracelets, or necklaces, made from materials ranging fromÂ LEGOsÂ toÂ platinum, 3D printed jewelry offers a unique level of customization.
Jewlr offers its customers an easy way to purchase custom, personalized jewelry â€“ the company offers thousands of designs for rings, charms, pendants, and earrings, and multiple metals and jewels to choose from. You can also engrave your jewelry in one of four fonts. Once you have finalized your choices, Jewlr 3D prints your jewelry, then casts the metal, sets the stones, and laser engraves your personal message.
You can purchase your own Duchess replica ring, starting at just $99, on the Jewlr website â€“ it comes with a one-year warranty and free resizing for up to two sizes.
The description reads, â€œInspired by the royal engagement, the Duchess ring is a stunning token of fairy-tale romance. One beautiful 7Ã—7 mm (2 ct) cushion cut gemstone sparkles at the centre, surrounded by two 3 mm round cut accent stones. Available in gorgeous cubic zirconia or luxurious morganite, and customizable with engravings, give a special someone the royal treatment with this beautiful piece.â€�
The ring is available in multiple precious metals, and is obviously meant to be worn as engagement ring, though it can also be worn as a royal fashion statement. It is also perhaps a more subtle way to celebrate royalty with 3D printing than, say, a lollipop of the Queenâ€™s face.
Would you buy this 3D printed replica ring? Join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics atÂ 3DPrintBoard.comÂ or share your thoughts in the Facebook comments below.