With the countdown to JCK Tucson now in full effect, what better way to get psyched than to hear from some of the exhibitors themselves? This year, Tucson will host some of the industry’s leading manufacturers and suppliers that are revolutionizing the jewelry world with their advanced technology.
We’re diving deep and really getting to know some of the companies that will be a part of the Tucson Ballroom in the new MJSA Pavilion, which will offer hands-on learning and demonstrations at the booths. In this spotlight, we’re speaking with Gemvision and Formlabs, two of the most technologically forward brands in the business.
We are excited to see Gemvision featured this year at JCK Tucson. Can you tell us a little bit more about the brand?
Gemvision was founded in 1998 by Jeff High and his wife, Diann. Jeff had created a jewelry design system for use in his own personal jewelry store. This proved to be very successful, and from there he launched Gemvision as its own company.
The original idea for Gemvision was to create an easy-to-use, 2-D design product that could allow basic changes to library- based designs. As time went on, the industry demanded more flexibility and control of the designs. So we set out to create a 3-D design tool that was jewelry-specific and could assist a broader scope of users; with the launch of Matrix in 2001, Gemvision had a design tool that could reach across all aisles of the industry and give 100 percent control over all aspects of design and manufacturing.
What sparked the partnership between Stuller and GemVision?
In 2008, Matt Stuller and Jeff High sat down to talk about the future of the jewelry business. Matt had a very strong plus on the manufacturing side, and Jeff was deeply entrenched in the software and hardware side of the business. What came from this conversation was the idea to have Gemvision create a new product that would give all retailers a tool to offer custom design at their counters and then have a manufacturing source like Stuller produce the final designs.
In light of partnerships such as these, talk about the importance of making new ones and maintaining these types of relationships in the jewelry industry.
All business is about relationships and partnerships, as the goal in every business is, how can I work with X to assist in not only keeping my business strong but lining them up with the right product that will make their business stronger? Stuller and Gemvision have always had this type of focus. What products or services can we offer to make our partnerships stronger? This comes from listening to customers, keeping an eye on consumer trends, and simply being able to keep the trust that we have built in the past. Without partnerships and solid relationships, you will fail.
What types of technology does Gemvision bring to the jewelry industry, and how is it affecting it today?
In the past Gemvision created 2-D and 3-D design products for all aspects of the jewelry industry. We also created four-axis milling machines and stand-alone camera products for high-end jewelry photography, and in the early days we even had a division that made television commercials for the jewelry business. Today, our focus is on creating all-3-D design-focused products: CounterSketch Studio 5.0, RhinoGold 6.0, Clayoo 2.0, and Matrix 8.0.
What are you most excited for about JCK Tucson?
Gemvision has been exhibiting in Tucson ever since Gemvision became a company. With the successful results that Gemvision has received from JCK’s Las Vegas event, we decided that Tucson should be no different. JCK events have always brought us the most important point, quality of businesses, and for this I am excited to see how things go. It’s all about meeting old clients, introducing our products to new ones, and writing business to assist everyone in staying profitable.
What can we expect to see at your booth this year in Tucson?
We will be showing all of our software packages: CounterSketch Bridal, CounterSketch Plus, CounterSketch Studio, RhinoGold 6.0, Clayoo 2.0, and Matrix 8.0. We will also be offering some special show pricing.
Where do you see Gemvision in 5, 10 years? Do you hope to bring about more of these types of partnerships with other brands?
From an industry standpoint, the future is now for retailers and manufacturers that have not tuned in to technological innovation for their businesses. Five years down the road it’s hard to say, as all things move quickly. My gut says this: You will see jewelry design software move into a space where retail consumers will be able to access design tools via the Web and have components that will allow them to drag and drop design elements to truly create a special piece of jewelry. You will see virtual designing taking place, face-to-face, over live Web feeds. Software tools will become more user-friendly with more parametric attributes that will allow for the consumer online experience. All I can say is that the next 5 to 10 years are going to be fun in all aspects of the business world.
What does three-dimensional printing bring to the jewelry world?
Desktop 3-D printing has had a major impact on designers and their customers by giving them a fast, reliable, and economical method of producing jewelry models. The ability to touch, try on, and interact with a design before its final manufacturing provides designers the confidence to create more advanced pieces, and allows custom clients the peace of mind that comes with knowing their special treasure is exactly what they wanted.
What are its advantages as opposed to traditional forms of manufacturing?
Three-D printing allows for accurate and precise design production that is reliable and repeatable. Desktop stereolithography (SLA) is an extremely useful design tool for CAD designers to add to their bench, and works seamlessly alongside more traditional methods. SLA is especially well-suited for features that are challenging to carve or mill. And unlike wax, resin can be handled without fear of breaking–an important consideration when working with custom clients.
How can three-dimensional printing affect the jewelry buyer’s experience?
For jewelry buyers, 3-D printing brings back the tactile experience of choosing and trying on jewelry. Rather than relying on a 3-D-rendered image, clients can now try on a custom engagement ring they helped design to make sure it looks and feels exactly right. Adding this step to the process creates a more comprehensive buying encounter for the clients, bringing them a more tangible experience that is also reassuring.
What are you most excited about for JCK Tucson?
This will be our first time at JCK Tucson, and we’re very excited to meet the talented designers who travel to the show each year to source the best gems for their work. We look forward to hearing about what possibilities are most exciting to designers and retailers right now, and how they plan to bring the best possible quality of work to their customers.
This new technology is a fascinating take on the jewelry industry. Where do you see Formlabs taking this 5, 10 years from now?
Formlabs was built on the ability to provide truly innovative solutions in 3-D printing, and will continue to embrace the many industries and professions that have adopted this method of prototyping and production in their respective workflows. The jewelry industry has demonstrated a need for accessible prototyping and design-creation machinery, and I expect that the ever-increasing demand for custom jewelry will further push the industry as a whole toward inventive and fresh design.
What sets Formlabs apart from others in its field that may be exploring the same technology?
Our goal has always been to provide a reliable and extraordinarily user-friendly ecosystem of software and hardware to a global range of users. The third-generation Form 2 is easy to use and maintain, and our customer support team provides unparalleled service to users on both the large “print farm” and single-printer scale. The development of functional materials, strong software integration, and a commitment to the entire user experience distinguish Formlabs as a flexible and innovative technology brand.