Can 3-D Printing Bring Jewelry Manufacturing Back to the U.S.?

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Jewelry window display
Michael Dwyer/Alamy
More to the point, can 3-D printing technology help bring all sorts of industries' manufacturing back to American soil?

In the jewelry industry, computer-aided design software has led to lower production costs and faster turnaround times. Over the past few years, the industry has begun to accept the technology for its improvements on labor efficiency and for how it reduces retailers' need to hold on to expensive inventory.

The impact of 3-D printing and CAD software's on the industry has cut what once were multiple-week processes down to just a few days. These successes have given hope to companies in many other industries that they may be able to reduce production costs in the U.S. to the level where they are competitive with overseas labor markets. Top firms in industries from education to aerospace are exploring 3-D technology's potential in their fields.

Inventory costs are reduced as well for retailers, who can now show potential buyers what a customized item would look like in advance of crafting it - and then deliver it rapidly. Buyers get to see the customizations that they request in real time, reducing manufacturers' need to ship items in bulk, which can leave retailers stressing about overhead, prices and shipping safety.

Instead, for retailers embracing the new technology, those fears are dissipating. The theory is that even if production costs in the U.S. are still higher than in cheaper markets, that will be offset by the elimination of overseas shipping costs, among other savings.

To read more about 3-D technology's impact on the jewelry industry and American manufacturing, get the full story here:

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