This article “Goldsmithing in the Future” is a set of predictions for what the jewelers bench and workshop will experience in technological change in the future.
All the hand skill techniques used today will be present, as today, and be valued for their skill. As well, most of the world, as today, will be using older technologies, and old approaches.
There will be a Holographic 3d digital construction system using perhaps a visor, or even direct neural imput to the brain, permitting hand movements with virtual tools that allow the model to be built in the air in front of the goldsmith, who can pluck component parts from libraries in the air around the construction. Libraries and digital tools are arranged around the object in space for easiest access and speed of building, much as a tangible bench is organized today. The resulting object can then be printed. O
rdinary shops will have RP machines for this level of work. Alternatives include materials which burn out, like today for casting, as well as options for creation in the actual metal. These may derive from powder metallurgy methods or an approach where the digital object created is in the form of a space in a mold and amorphous, non-crystalli ne liquid alloys are injected just a like a plastic is used today. The melting temperature will be fairly low. There will be milling and sintering options as well. In some approaches the gems can be installed during the making of the piece as heat is not required. Findings are made in metal as needed in the shop.
The client can don virtual reality glasses and see the jewelry design on their finger or around their neck in a mirror. In the same way a design can be sent to someone distant for viewing.
Exoskeletal arm and hand machine ‘gloves’ will add strength where necessary. Reciprocating gravers with no cords, wires, bulky handles or air supplies are wirelessly powered and provide all the control one would want. Similar tools provide hammer setting functions. Another option is a pen type tool which uses focused vibration to flow metal where it touches the surface, tightening prongs, sealing pits and useful in setting.
Various power files are available.
There are light and wearable safety glasses which provide a digital video feed, initiated when triggered by the goldsmith. They can also instantly darken to protect the eyes from intense light sources, laser or arcs. This video feed has a magnification function where the goldsmith can zoom in on the work, actually seeing the image on the inside of the glasses, seamlessly boring in to high magnification as needed. Depth of field is large. It can be programmed to become clear and transparent as the head is lifted to vertical. Others can tune in on the same channel, a boon for teachers.
Along with traditional torches there are pen type lasers for joining by touching a needle to the spot to be fused.
Fusion tools derived from the long obsolete PUK II and its related tools will also be available. Gold wire can be fed directly onto a piece, melting and bonding as it is applied.
Intelligent job envelopes will automatically imput all notes by the goldsmith into the work’s file.
There are coatings for finished work, either diamond hard and transparent or self sealing invisible plastics that protect while flexing to resist denting and healing cracks.
Polishing can be done by intelligent media, that is miniaturized abrasive wielding nanobots which crawl over the piece and finish its surface details.
There is a desktop identification system which, much like a scanning electron microscope, analyzes the atomic makeup of a piece of jewelry, revealing karat, and naming the precise alloy, a necessity in a world with dozens of complex precious commercial alloys used in jewelry which require differing treatments in working or repair.
This tool can identify as well any gemstone submitted to it in the same way.
A 3D scanner on the counter scans in objects for 3D additions and remount design.
Light, high powered cordless handpieces, will be an option instead of a Flexible shaft.
Casting investment will be cristobolite free and the dangers of silicosis removed from the shop.
Local high powered ventilation systems suck dusts and fumes away from where they are generated. It will be unacceptable to have unsafe ventilation.
Jewelry itself, besides all its current functions, will serve as interfaces for medical monitoring and treatment, and as computer interfaces as well. Clothing itself will be wired as well.
Watches, though obsolete because of communication tools, implants, wired clothing etc will still have a place, a very high end hand made position as expensive symbols of power and status. For fashion reasons very low end colored, and designed watches may still have a role for women and some men, an echo of the present, where watches in the west are already displaced in function by cell phones.
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