Discover the Best New Technology in the Jewelry Industry



A scanner that puts your head on a screen so you can print it in 3-D? Yep, they’ve got that. The Equipment, Technology & Supplies show is the spot for all sorts of wild and wonderful discoveries.

“Half of keeping my business fresh is making sure my equipment is of-the-moment,” said independent jewelry appraiser Ben Gordon, while shopping the aisles for new machinery, tools, packaging, and visual displays at this year’s Equipment, Technology & Supplies (ETS) show at JCK Las Vegas.

He wasn’t the only one looking for updates. The annual show enjoyed brisker business than ever, said exhibitors. “I’m not sure if the recession is over, but people are tired of the drama and are moving forward in their businesses,” said James ­Gervais, president and chief operating officer of LaserStar Technologies, which had already sold two of its marquee machines—the $170,000 FiberStar laser cutter—by day three. 

Here are some of our best finds at 2014’s ETS show, which were all designed with the forward-thinking retailer in mind.

BEST IN SHOW AT ETS

This year’s most buzzed-about booth had more than a few attendees cringing (then marveling) at their own image—rendered in full-color, 3-D glory. CAD software company CadBlu demonstrated a new hand-held scanner, the Sense ($399; cadblu.com), which lets users quickly render any three-dimensional object—including people—to screen for 3-D printing. Reps scanned attendees’ heads and upper torsos by walking around them slowly while holding the scanner in front of them. “It’s great—you can put kids’ faces on a charm now,” says CEO and president Rich Motto. “The idea is to have better, easier content to print out on a 3-D printer.” Best of all: A good CAD artist can easily “perfect” our flaws before the actual mold is made.

BEST NEW EQUIPMENT

Visitors to OpticWash’s booth were treated to a free jewelry cleaning in one of the company’s phone booth–size JewelryWash machines ($10,000; opticwash.com). The ambitious product is a tube-shape self-cleaner that attacks caked-on grime using pure reverse osmosis water (no chemicals) propelled by 2 pounds of pressure. Users can watch the process, which resembles a car wash in velocity and length, while it’s happening. “Reverse osmosis water is a caustic solution; it’s water stripped of all its minerals,” says Bryan Myers, CEO of OpticWash. “So it breaks down dirt more efficiently.” The machine also features an ultraviolet light source, which kills 99 percent of bacteria on jewelry. It’s unique to the industry—and the ETS show—because it was designed to be completely consumer-facing; it’s already in five malls in Florida.

Kassoy debuted one of the industry’s first relatively affordable tabletop 3-D printers: the ProJet 1200 3D printer ($4,900 for the printer and one material cartridge; kassoy.com). It features “the functionality of other, much larger, brands in a footprint the size of the average ­coffeemaker,” says marketing director Stephen Vrattos.

The ProJet 1200 3D tabletop printer is only about the size of a coffeemaker. ($4,900; kassoy.com)

Meanwhile, the coolest photography-helper product was easily the MODE360 ($4,500; stuller.com), a compact photo studio/light box from Stuller that boasts a circular staging area that swivels electronically, giving users the ability to photograph pieces in 360 degrees. ­Photos taken on the MODE360 can be shared directly via social media, says Stuller’s director of tool sales, Andy Kroungold: “It’s really everything you need to take good product photos in one machine.”

Capture pieces from every angle with the photo studio/light box combo MODE360. ($4,500; stuller.com)

Another standout from Stuller was a compact bench jeweler’s workshop from Badeco ($5,900; stuller.com) featuring four motorized hand pieces in one super-organized rack. “It’s a complete machine,” says Kroungold, “and it’s all about space-saving technology.”

It may look like a tattooing tool, but this compact workshop from Badeco is a bench jeweler’s best friend. ($5,900; stuller.com)

For retailers looking to make a major investment in the custom design department, LaserStar Technologies debuted its latest laser cutter, the FiberStar ($170,000; laserstar.com). The multitasking machine can “cut very complex patterns at a very high rate,” says Gervais. “It can turn out Tiffany-like [pieces] and monograms in six seconds in sterling silver, gold, and platinum.… And it’s ideal for short and long runs.”

Turn out precious-metal monograms in seconds with the FiberStar laser cutter. ($170,000; laserstar.com)

One of the most intriguing equipment debuts was from jewelers’ supply company Star Struck. Though the Gemlogis TAUPE Diamond Segregator ($478; starstruckllc.com) has yet to be independently tested, it’s billed as a pocket-size tester designed to determine if a diamond is earth-mined (natural), lab-created (CVD), or high-pressure/high-temperature treated (HPHT). If the tester works as promised, it could be a game-changer—at a time that may prove, in retrospect, to be the dawn of the lab-created diamond market.

The Gemlogis TAUPE Diamond Segregator promises to determine the origins—i.e., natural, created, or treated—of diamonds. ($478; starstruckllc.com)

BEST NEW TECHNOLOGY

Gazing intently at diamonds was also the order of the day at Sarine Technologies’ booth. The virtual Sarine Loupe (contact for pricing; sarine.com) takes gem scanning to the next level by scanning 360 degrees of a diamond or gemstone, then creating a 3-D file that can be rotated in any direction—with flexible zoom capabilities included. The file the device creates can then be shared virtually, ostensibly ­eliminating the need to travel with gemstones, says CEO Uzi Levami.

Software maker LogicMate has tapped into the growing popularity of radio-frequency identification with JewelryMate (starts at $10,000; logicmate.com), a virtual inventory setup featuring RFID systems that work seamlessly with a retailer’s website. Also, “it accesses inventory without accessing sensitive information,” says LogicMate president and CEO Chris Hawatian. Bonus: It’s configured for mobile on every level.

BEST NEW SUPPLIES

Standout supplies at this year’s show included Tecno Display’s architectural six-sided wall showcase—a pre-assembled, tempered glass 77-inch-tall showcase with a metal frame, adjustable shelving, and lockable hinged doors (from $2,850; tecnodisplay.com).

Tecno Display’s six-sided showcase offers caster and leveler choices, plus the option of integrating halogen or LED top lighting. (from $2,850; tecnodisplay.com)

The Dazor Lumilus LED Task Lamp at Kassoy ($426; kassoy.com) “uses 30 percent less power, yet is 30 percent brighter than traditional three-tube fluorescent lights,” Vrattos says, adding that the lamp is “cool to the touch and doesn’t produce UV emissions.”

Go UV-free with the Dazor Lumilus LED Task Lamp. ($426; kassoy.com)

Over at Gesswein, jewelers were snapping up the True-Size ring sizing set ($165; gesswein.com), which vice president of sales Scott Petrillo calls “a complete set of sizes that match the mandrel just perfectly.”

The True-Size ring sizer was a big hit at ETS. ($165; gesswein.com)