3D printing is easily the biggest design futurism meme of 2010. We've previously looked at other approaches to on-demand, DIY, factory-free design objects. Now, NYC-based designer Alissia Melka-Teichroew is applying 3D printing technology to jewelry design. Her Jointed Jewels collection is a marriage of "old and new, organic and industrial," intended to transform typically separate and disjointed elements into a whole.

Using a Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) machine and a 3D printer, Melka-Teichroew was able to build a ball-and-socket joint impossible to fabricate with traditional two-part mold casting, printing the jewelry in its final assembled form.

But besides the aesthetic merit of the collection, Melka-Teichroew's experiment hints at an important and promising medical application of 3D printing in prosthetic joints replacing some of the most complex parts of the human skeletal system. From hip replacement to jaw reconstruction, the possibilities glimmer with a halo of hope.

via PSFK

Maria Popova is the editor of Brain Pickings, a curated inventory of miscellaneous interestingness. She writes for Wired UK, GOOD Magazine, Design Observer and Huffington Post, and spends a shameful amount of time on Twitter.