Silver Rings: yes or no?

We’ve been bouncing some ideas of each other and playing with some concepts with regards to the new Creators. One of the things we’ve been thinking about is a ring in Silver. You could make it with a Creator tool and a Sterling Silver finger ring would be your result.

We have a few now in the office and some of us love them while others wonder if people will want them.

Apart from the obvious: we’ve kind of painted ourselves in a corner with the whole naming thing because our napkin rings which are called Ringpoems, we’ve been trying to find out if we should build the tooling for you to be able to make these customized silver rings. 

So: would this be something that you would like to have, make and buy? Or would you give it a pass? The rings might be as much as $100 because the process of making them is rather expensive.

Would it be something that you would like to make for yourself?

Could you see this as a gift for your significant other?  

Or would it be much more likely that you would purchase a cheaper Stainless Steel ring?

Or would you never ever buy such a thing?

Any comments would be very much appreciated. If you want one, email me (joris (at) shapeways (dot) com) and I’ll see what I can do.


  1. Martin Dilling

    Then I’ll be the first to answer :)
    I think it’s a nice and different idea, but I must admit that I wouldn’t wear it, and if I would I don’t think I’d pay $100 for it ;)
    but again I can’t deny the idea is nice ;)

    keep the ideas coming, love what this site has come to :D
    Martin Dilling

    1. Joris


      Why would you not pay a $100 for it? too expensive? or not pretty enough?

    2. Martin Dilling

      A bit of both, think it’s a “little” expensive for a ring ;) but I think it’s pretty nice, just not exactly my style of ring ;)
      I think #2 Benno Kruit’s idea was a little more “me”, making a greyscale image and fully customize the surface of the ring ;)

    3. Walter Sharrow

      I think the “Grayscale” idea would only work if there was a thin, flat ring as the base. Then use a Grayscale image to raise the surface, the same way Shapeways does with those photo sculptures. Otherwise the random gaps in our images would make a ring that could fall apart.

      I actually have some patterns I’ve been trying to work into a ring using the same basic idea. My patterns are solid, black&white. But on a small scale, any tiny photo or scribbles could work.

    4. Martin Dilling

      Yeah, I think that was what I thought it would be, we can’t have a ring with more than one hole :P heh

  2. Benno Kruit

    It’s a pretty cool idea, but not very comfortable, I’d think. I think signet rings with an imprint from a greyscale image (darker=deeper imprint) would be a lot more attractive, because they’d be comfortable and very custom, because you could use any image!
    - Benno

    1. Joris

      Good idea, we could do this also.

      But, how many people wear signet rings?

    2. Benno

      Not that many, but it’s still a 3d image in a ring. You wouldn’t have to use it as a signet ring, it would only become that if you flip it horizontally.

      Maybe you could add the option to make it stick out in stead of stick in, if you know what I mean. That way it would be more touchable (but more expensive).

      Signet rings are retro, and the steampunk crowd at least would love them ;)

    3. Anonymous

      I think Signet rings where mentioned because Benno didn’t know they could wrap the design AROUND the entire ring, not just the front.

      At least, I think they could wrap the image around the ring. Is that possible, Joris? Can we use Continuous patterns so there’s no line where the image starts and ends?

      As for making the design stick in or out, you could just invert it. The Darker stuff goes in, the lighter stuff comes out. Make your background black, and anything white will stick out nicely.

      Considering the tiny size of whatever you make, Gray-scale is really a misnomer. You are going to want to do things in All Black and All White if you want to see the detail at all.

    4. Benno Kruit

      Wow, you’re right! You could make things like the cooldjez Ring_without Balls from an image, if you have the relief all around, or any signet ring. It’s more versatile.

      Or the all-the-way-through design, where you get the ringpoem-esqe rings.

      Both awesome possibilities.

    5. Joris

      Anything is possible. But, something like you describe would take a lot of time to build and time is our one really tough constraint.

      Photoshaper+signet face should be rather straightforward. But wrapping any image around any design or a particular design would be much harder. If this would be huge, then sure we can do it.

  3. Walter Sharrow

    That does look cool, but I’d much rather get my own ring designs made in metal.

    Btw, is there some fast way to get Jewelery items fast tracked for approval and printing/casting in silver? I know my figurines are a pain to deal with, but the ring and pendent I made should be easy enough to do.

    1. Joris Peels


      With regards to silver models we are just testing it with a few people at the moment to see how happy they are. If you want to check more models just email them. You’ve got mail by the way.

  4. Virtox

    I vote no on the rings, but yes on silver ;-)
    Although it’s a nice idea, they look very uncomfortable to wear… ?

    Also, I’m still hoping the price range could be half, say maximum around $50, for small silver items. That would make the difference between something exclusive for the rich and something affordable for all. Well who knows, maybe one day.. Shapeways has a tendency to be full of nice surprises ;-)

    1. Joris

      The issue with the Silver process is that it is rather manual with a lot of steps so it is rather difficult to make very inexpensive items with it.

      The rings are actually quite comfortable but I do agree that they look uncomfortable.

  5. Shelley Noble

    I don’t/won’t have $100 to spend either but I think the letter forms making up the ring alone are what make the design interesting and worth considering for something meaningful. It’s the fact that the words themselves are emphasized so profoundly that gives the ring design its cache.

  6. Shelley Noble

    Actually, as I think more about the ring idea, which I love, I realize I would come up with the $100 for one. I come from a group that use words with a lot of meaning for them. I wouldn’t care what the rings were made out of, as long as it wasn’t toxic to the skin and could handle being worn through hand washing. I’d also like the font to be a little more graceful, if possible. But if not possible, the lettering alone making up the ring is what make the ring most striking. Being customizable as well takes it into the stratosphere.

  7. Mendel Heit


    I love the idea, I think it’s a really great gift, very personlized. The fact that you are able to make it in silver or steel would give some flexibility to the buyers… Making a casual gift, as well as embracing a very special occasion.
    Although I think you might not sell a huge amount of the silver ones, compared to the steel ones – these might sell very well.
    Now, I think that being able to “print” some silver is damn really cool.
    Some ladies around me were worried that you might cut yourself or hang your ring to other objects.. But maybe it’s only an optical thing. This could maybe solved by addind a thin layer of material on the inner side, to avoid scratching your skin.
    Otherwise, Shapeways, here you have one positive vote! :D
    keep it up, it’s fantastic-

  8. Anonymous

    I’m not interested in the silver rings. Personally, I don’t wear rings, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be making some. I think, at the moment, the silver process is too expensive. It would probably be better for you to spend your time on something more lucrative for Shapeways.

    That could be creator-made finger rings in stainless steel. They would be considerably less expensive. I did like the idea of the fellow who spoke of signet rings created with a grayscale displacement map.


    1. Walter Sharrow

      Silver is good because it’s hypoallergenic. I can use this to make pieces my mother and sister could actually wear. I don’t know if Stainless Steel is quite so non-reactive to people’s skin. Since the design is far more important then the material, I’m interested in any metal that won’t give my family a rash! ;)

      Are there any other forms of metal, possibly inexpensive ones, that don’t cause problems for people’s skin? Preferably ones that can be easily caste?

    2. Joris

      The displacement map is an awesome idea! The main thing for us is: will a cheaper but imperfect material work better than a more luxurious one? Will shop owners sell more cheap things or be able to make more money selling more high end items?

    3. Walter Sharrow

      Right now most items here are bought by the artists that made them, so for our (the artists) benefit, a cheaper, wearable, hypoallergenic metal would be more useful in the short term.

      Some people, like myself, like to thoroughly test their work before trying to sell it to others to ensure quality. And at $40 a CC, it’s a bit hard to experiment. Silver is something best saved for special items, that have been tested and perfected in cheaper materials first.

      As for sales, Shapeways is still a new site. Most of us are used to our art being trapped on a computer screen. We haven’t had time to develop a following of fans interested in buying our physical objects. I sell a great deal of virtual items now in and IMVU, both online video games where I have a large following. But I haven’t found a way to get those people over to this site.

      What will ultimately push our sales, as well as Shapeways, is more customers interested in looking over our works. Basically, Shapeways needs to advertise more, regardless of materials.

  9. Bryan Vaccaro

    $100 is a bit steep, but if the design was right I could see myself getting one. I’m not interested in text rings, but if it were more along the lines of what nervous systems does I could see that being more popular. As you said the process is very manual, so I agree with Whystler that the effort would be better expended on something else. Even if you just had a “create a ring” contest and promoted the best entries or something.

    1. Joris

      The opportunity cost is also something we need to consider. I too think that great individual designs will work better but that is a different proposition too.What is important to me is that people like the creator tools and that the product is good value for money. Aditionally when we introduce new materials for use by the designers we want these materials to be useful for them and as ridiculously cheap as possible.

  10. Holly

    This is the BEST engagement ring idea EVER. Imagine it- “WILLYOUMARRYME?” revealed when she reads it – how PERFECT! (And even better if the girl is asking the guy, which is traditionally done on February 29.) Steel is too ugly for something like that, it HAS to be at LEAST silver.

    My gripe is that the letters are horsey, way too big. Reduce the font down to 1/3 the size it is now, then it would work.

    A hundred bucks is cheap!

  11. Mitchell Jetten

    I would love to have something!
    but how is the confort? (zit het lekker)

    if i’ll buy somehting in silver,, i think i’ll want to create my own sort of ring without letters, but still want it in silver (not in WSF:P)

    1. Joris


      I think it is OK comfort-wise so far but I’ll wear one for a day or two to test it.


  12. alux


    Yes, I like silver. And I can imagine to use it. May be *once* in my life. So, to be honest, I dont expect this to pay its costs for you.

    But what about something else. What about, how is it called in English?, “lost mould”? (“Verlorene Form” in German) – if you have a material that can be used as a prototype to look at it, and if I like it, I drain it in gypsum, burn it out with, say, boiling water, and have a form to cast silver, or even gold.

    I hope, there are materials out there (You are the specialists ;-) ) that are suitable and cheap in production. (Know any?)

    So the (financially) dangerous part is with me, Once in my life or so.

    I’m a bit sad to advise against. But still.

    Regards, a.

  13. Alberto

    Definitely yes. It is a really cool thing.

  14. Anastasia Chung

    As a jewelry designer, I’d be VERY interested in custom printing in silver, but not so much silver rings, especially at $100…

  15. Alex Berkowitz

    I think it would be a cool product. When I first saw the other products with the word wrap in the creator I thought it would be great to have a ring. But you should offer them in stainless steel as well/

  16. Derek Haltom

    I would love to be able to get some of my designs done in silver, regardless of cost. (I would expect it to be in the realm of reasonable, but even if a little high, the ability to have whatever I dream up made in silver would make it worthwhile.)

  17. stephanie peels

    my boyfriend would get me a ring like this, he says. i love them :)

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