Functional Jewelry: The Next Frontier?

This industry has often admitted, sometimes unabashedly, that there is no functional use to just about all the items we sell. Most of them are worn for beauty or to symbolize something (a marriage, religious feelings, etc.).

Could that change? The hot trend in the tech world these days is wearable technology. With gadgets and gizmos becoming an increasing part of our lives, the tech world is looking at how to integrate them into our person

“It’s a function of time before wearable technology becomes real, and it’s closer than a lot of people think,” said Gene Munster, senior research analyst at Piper Jaffray.

Bringing tech into the fold, developers say, will create a more seamless experience with technology that involves fewer devices to carry around and less time rummaging through your purse or pocket. 

One research firm has already predicted that by 2015, 485 million wearable devices will be sold and worn. 

Which brings us back to jewelry. Since people generally don’t wear the same clothes every day, jewelry would seem to be a natural fit. (Though there is talk, believe it or not, of touchscreen t-shirts and GPS sneakers.)  

Most of the chatter has so far been about smartwatches. But there also been talk about “smart” wristbands. One company’s even made a Bluetooth necklace. Our site features a story today that Google is thinking about a ring that could store passwords. I can also foresee a ring that would store all your data—which would be more fun (and possibly more secure) than, say, storing it on a keychain.

A lot of this sounds crazy, but as someone remarked the other day, if someone told her as a kid everybody would one day be carrying around phones, she would think they were crazy, too. So it is possible that, down the road—and yes, we are talking a bit down the road—we could see a shift towards jewelry that has more functional uses. 

That doesn’t mean this functional jewelry can’t be either beautiful or fashionable. After all, clothes have a function (they cover us/keep us warm), but they also have a look. But it does seem like we may be looking at a future in which customers don’t ask if a ring is D or G VS1, but whether it has IOS or works with a USB.

JCK News Director