INSPIRE: Tech & Innovation Concepts in Jewellery You Need to See

What is your X Factor? That USP that makes a customer or competitor stop in their tracks and give your product their undivided attention. Jewellery, like any other business, is a competitive landscape that battles for customer loyalty. While the materials may be similar, you still can stand out as a brand. You don’t necessarily have to re-invent the wheel per say. You just have to be a little unique and ingenious on how you choose to present it. For some good old Monday motivation on this last week of November, we’ll look at designers who had an interesting take on known items to get your creative juices going:

Purple [Image: Courtesy of The Artefact Group]

Tap Into the feels

The Artefact Group – in collaboration with Johanna Schoemaker and Jennifer Darmour – brought the locket into the 21st century by making it tech-connected and naming it ‘Purple’. Hanging from a long chain is a semi-circle locket that can wirelessly link to the wearer’s family and friends via social network and SMS.  It can receive notifications for incoming post and uploaded messages that appear on the flat digital screen at the back of the locket. And it’s not just any notifications that come through, the locket centres the experience to the people the wearer pre-selects. As mentioned on their website, “Purple is designed to help us remember the important things in our lives”.

Purple [Image: Courtesy of The Artefact Group]

Nevertheless, it still serves the purpose of the classic locket; having the pictures of your loved ones close to your heart. The only difference is that you can store more photos on this; increasing the number of precious memories you can carry around with you. Style and simplicity is still valued in the design, so there isn’t a USB port to throw off the aesthetics of this locket. Instead, a ceramic bowl was designed to charge it and the locket is simply placed into it to get it power back up. Purple is available in gold and silver.

[Image: Courtesy of Kilian]

Put a Scent on it

How do you take an 18-karat-gold plated and pure rhodium piece of jewellery to the next level? Join forces with a killer fragrance. Jewels of L’Oeuvre Noire created a capsule collection of jewellery that was scented by Kilian fragrance. To make it more full-proof that a dab of perfume behind the ears, they placed either a silk tassel cord of a scented ceramic disc within each piece. These could be switched out yearly or when you decided it was time for a change; there were 29 fragrances to choose from after all. They didn’t leave the men out either by opting to have four types of dark leather cuffs called ‘The Leathers of L’Oeuvre Noire’. These bracelets were infused with micro-encapsulated fragrance allegedly lasted for up to one year.

[Image: Courtesy of Kilian]

Then there’s Saje Natural Wellness Founded by the husband and wife team Jean-Pierre and Kate Ross LeBlanc – they’ve always been inspired to introduce people to the power of 100% natural, plant-derived wellness products. One of the products they offer are decorative aromatherapy jewellery, complete with sterling silver pendants. Within the pendants lies built-in oil pads that the wearer can place a few drops of their favourite oils. Once worn, they wearer can inhale these aromas throughout the day, benefiting from the wellness properties. Granted, scented jewellery can come off as a cheesy gimmick. However, both these collections were able to come off as clean and sophisticated because they weren’t just focused on the fragrance delivery system. They placed just as much emphasis on the look and feel of the jewellery design.

[Image: Courtesy of Saje Natural Wellness]

Don’t forget to project

Smartwatches are a dime a dozen, so how do you stand out when every brand seems to be churning one out. Ritot wanted a watch that was fashionable and technically innovative. But more so, one that reflected how dynamic humanity is. Their answer? Make the human hand the touchscreen. Designed by San Francisco-based Ivan Powell and Paul Smith, these unisex, waterproof smartwatches have an inbuilt Pico projector that projects high quality images and graphics onto the back of your hand or forearm. Once you’ve synced it with your smartphone, this includes the time and your various smartphone notifications such as incoming caller ID name, social media alerts, SMS, reminders, and emails.

[Image: Ritot]
[Image: Courtesy of Ritot]

With only one touch sensitive button on this watch, you simply tap the Ritot or shake your arm to see the time; which will last for 10 seconds. Nonetheless, you do have the option of permanent projection if you don’t mind having to recharge it more often. To dismiss a notification, shake it off. They chose to go with a base pad that acts as a wireless charger and colour customizer for your watches projections. The Ritot is available as a sport or bracelet watch and can last up to 150 hours in projection mode before the next recharge.

[Image: Courtesy of Lucie Majerus]

Go to the quirky side

This one is absolutely not everyone’s cup of tea, but a niche market could certainly appreciate designer Lucie Majerus’s answer to Ivory Ban in many countries around the world. The pieces of jewellery on the blue background above are made from Human Ivory. The Luxembourgian uses donated human teeth to make jewellery that is a close resemblance to pearls. She got the idea when she had to get her wisdom teeth removed and decided to make them into a ring. In an interview with Fast Co Design she explained, “Why wouldn’t we value our own material instead of the precious material from other species?” She then asked her dentist to donate the unwanted teeth he pulled to help build her source material.

[Image: Courtesy of Lucie Majerus]

The designer set out to push the envelop on how personal jewellery can become and crafted the idea where the body can be adorned by its own gem. The teeth are bleached and polished to achieve the pearl-like appearance and interestingly she has received a positive response for the creations thus far. And there are other designers out there that have broached the subject, such as Icelandic fashion designer Sruli Recht who surgically removed a piece of his skin to make a designer ring, but we think that Human Ivory is enough for one day.

[Image: Courtesy of Naomi Kizhner]

Harvest Energy

We promise this isn’t an acquitted taste as the above, but it does tap into the body’s energy. Industrial designer Naomi Kizhner created a jewellery collection that takes kinetic energy produced by the body’s involuntary movements, such as blinking, and converts it into electricity. This project, known as Energy Addicts, chose to make the pieces from 3D-printed biopolymer and gold, and are crafted with specific parts of the body in mind. The idea would be a little invasive as it has to be embedded into the surface of the skin. The idea of the project was to provoke conversation about sourcing energy from humans themselves. Would you sign up for it?

[Image: Courtesy of Naomi Kizhner]

Embrace the elements

Windswept jewellery is a concept by Irish studio, Love & Robots, that uses 3D-printed precious metal to demonstrate air movement in any given city. By combining virtual reality and environmental factors, they have been able to create a product that can commemorate a moment in the wearer’s life. According to Deezen, the jewellery “mimics the folds of cloth being ruffled by the breeze, but then frozen in time”.

[Image: Courtesy of Love & Robots]

Here’s how it works: once the customer is on the company’s online store, they’d need to specify a date and location in the work within the last 50 years. Using this information, Love & Robots will go through historical weather data of that day and use this to guide the 3D rendering process. The user then has the power to choose the exact position they want the cloth to sit in to create the unique pendant. These specifications re the ones that make it to the 3D printer. The personalised Windswept Jewellery is available in gold and silver.

[Image: Courtesy of Love & Robots]

Play on custom fit

Lithuanian designer Marija Puipaité that embraces the curves and contours of the client’s body. Dubbed the ‘Embracing Touch’ jewellery, this collection fits snuggly to specific body regions such as the rest and collarbone. Though, she also created less-conventional pieces for not-so-typical body parts such as the space between the shoulder blades. Puipaité looks at jewellery as everyday armour and chose to highlight the intimate connection it presents. With a collection offering an array of soft and angular shapes, how does she achieve the individual customization? She places wax plates directly on the body to craft the shape and then sends this for casting. It’s then finished off by being sanded and polished.

[Image: Courtesy of Marija Puipaité ]
[Image: Courtesy of Marija Puipaité ]

Bring it to life

A team of researchers, designers and engineers from Stanford University, and MIT Media Lab came together to create miniature robots to be fashion’s personal assistant. Known as the Kino Project, it made tiny robot jewellery that are placed on your clothes and move around making adjustments in response to the wearer’s surroundings. For example, repositioning a scarf, rolling up sleeves or taking off your jacket’s hoody once the rain has stopped.

[Image: Courtesy of The Kino Project]

This is all thanks to the embedded sensors that detect variations in weather like temperature and precipitation. They move across the fabric in different configurations for multiple self-presentations but the wearer can pre-program them t follow certain routes to create kinetic patterns. In addition, they can become personal assistants once you pair them with your smartphone. The wearer can use them as their music player or use those intergraded microphones and speakers to make a call.



Light it up

This is another jewellery concept that incorporates projection into design. Tactum 3D scans the users arm and then creates real-time modelling of wearable objects through manipulated light projections. Created by Digital research studio, Madlab, this customized jewellery used depth and motion sensors to create the light display on the wearer’s wrist no matter which way it moves.

[Image: Courtesy of MadLab]

But if you’re more of a necklace fan, Warsaw collective – Pangenerator – has you sorted. In collaboration with a custom iPhone app, a Pico projectors worn on the chest, generates illuminated patterns that form the necklace called the Neclumi. According to the designers, taking away the physical form shifts the attention to the abstract aesthetic values of jewellery


Beautiful weapons

It’s not uncommon for a woman today to walk around with pepper spray or a stun gun in her bag. But, in the event of an attack, she may not have the seconds to get it out in time. What if her safety net was already at their fingers but in a stylish and practical setting? That’s the idea of some of the self-defence rings you can find on the market today. Within the beautiful ring that is crafted to look like jewellery hides weapon to give her a fighting chance. Defender Ring™ has a ring top that can be unscrewed in seconds to reveal a 10mm double-sided curved self-defence blade. G-JMD made adorably-chic cat rings whose ears add an extra kick should you have to punch an attacker and give you a window to escape. When not at work, they blend in like normal jewellery.

[Image: Courtesy of Defender Ring]
[Image: Courtesy of Defender Ring]

While the materials, such as gold and silver, are common among most designers, it’s the inspiration that they took from their surroundings that made all the difference. You just have to be open and ready for the inspiration. If we’ve learnt anything from these designer, especially the human ivory, there’s enough room for every designer if you’re willing to seek out your own USP.

[Image: Courtesy of G-JMD]
[Image: Courtesy of G-JMD]
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