When wearables put design first. Here’s a comprehensive summary of the current smart jewelry market, focusing on the prettiest options and luxury brands actively selling on the market or launching soon.
Technology and jewelry can both be very intentional ways to make public statements about an individual’s personality and priorities, jewelry specifically having been shown to correlate emotional influence. Buyer interest in wearable devices is on the rise, particularly with females, according to a recent study by market research firm, the NPD Group. Responding to the market, a wave of jewelry makers and device builders are grabbing opportunities to implement technology into everyday and special occasion pieces alike.
Combining the functions of fitness trackers, smart watches and wearable alerts, WiseWear has most of the functions found independently in all the rest of the products listed in this article.
Announced early July, WiseWear features three bracelet designs in gold and rhodium. WiseWear bracelets perform three types of functions: distress messaging that acts as a panic button to send location, audio and video notifications to emergency contacts; activity tracking to count steps, calories burned and sleep patterns; real-time vibrating notifications for incoming calls, messages and reminders.
Available for pre-order now. Each bracelet is currently priced at $299.95.
Combining gold, black, leather and metallics, Cuff smart jewelry has a touch of Boho sophistication.
Cuff products come with a panic button, and vibrating notification alerts to act as a funky but beautiful extension to the smartphone. Cuff products come in five main designs, available in incrementally priced packages or as individual jewelry pieces. The bulk of Cuff products are smart bracelets, but there is a pendant with multiple overlays to vary design, as well as a very sleek keychain that is appealing in that it doesn’t have to be worn at all. For those days you’re not wearing any gold, Cuff also offers an all black leather bracelet.
Products range from $49 – $59, while packages can go up to $199. Currently available for pre-order only.
Intel made waves when the computer chip maker revealed the MICA smart bracelet in partnership with Opening Ceremony. Targeted squarely at the luxury market, MICA is crafted with premium materials including gold, snakeskin and sapphire glass.
Primarily a notifications tool for smartphone alerts, MICA displays messages, calendar updates, and Facebook requests. There’s also a couple of apps available on the MICA smart bracelet, providing access to Yelp business reviews and Refinery 29 fashion news and horoscopes.
First announced last year, Intel’s had few developments with MICA in recent months but the chip maker is wholly dedicated to the Internet of Things movement. Intel’s kept busy powering wearables for Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer, depth perception technology for futuristic retail displays, and an open-source module that’s no bigger than a dress shirt button.
Ringly is one of the more recognized smart jewelry makers to emerge in recent months, making headlines with a hefty $5.1 million funding round led by high profile investment firm Andreessen Horowitz, having already raised an astonishing $1 million in seed funding.
Functioning primarily as a notification delivery system, Ringly alerts of phone calls, text messages and social media alerts. Ringly’s product line isn’t extensive – the core product, as the name suggests, is a ring. What makes it smart is the technology embedded beneath the large gemstone center, which gives the ring a costume jewelry look. But Ringly is made with 18 karat gold and precious and semi-precious stones, currently featuring four colors. There’s also a limited edition Ringly with a rhodium-plated setting and tourmalated quartz center stone.
Currently available for pre-order only, Ringly rings range from $195 – $260.
Different from most smart jewelry products that act as notification gadgets for the smartphone, Ring is a remote control to manage the connected world through gestures.
Large but sleek, Ring can do things like turn on connected light bulbs, take photos, skip through music playlists and lock doors. Integrating with Google Glass, a handful of smart light bulb makers and iPhone games, Ring hopes to be an inaudible if not discrete way to manage devices in the smart home. In the end, though, Ring is still an extension of the iPhone and requires the companion app to be running in the background in order to operate.
Priced at $149, Ring is available for purchase now, on Amazon.
Short for Fine + Neck, Fineck is a smart necklace to help maintain good posture throughout the day. The sleek and modern wearable is designed especially for sedentary office workers, alerting them of slouching behavior and reminding them when it’s time to get up, stretch and move around. Fineck also features a series of games to encourage regular activity breaks.
Originating in China, Fineck comes in just one design option. It looks great from the front – a black choker featuring a tiny silver or gold pendant in the center. But all the technology runs at the back of the necklace, and is a tad bulky. One hands-on review reveals how it actually feels to wear the Fineck, and it’s certainly not recommended that the wearer move around too much with this wearable, as it needs to stay in place to properly function.
Fineck was successfully funded on Kickstarter in January, and began shipping earlier this spring. The smart necklace is priced at $119.
The Qbracelet isn’t a notifications gadget or a fitness tracker, but rather a fashion-forward iPhone charger. Instead of tacking on a bulky accessory directly to the iPhone or toting around extra cords, Qbracelet makers designed a sexier way to keep an iPhone juiced up.
Available in four colors (silver, white, gold and black), the Qbracelet is a chunky metallic bangle geared towards men and women alike. It can charge the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus up to 50 percent. To charge the bracelet itself will require a cord and wall plug. The startup claims Qbracelet’s battery will last up to 30 days without use, though I imagine the bracelet will need daily charging if it’s used for regular iPhone battery-boosting. The Qbracelet is waterproof enough to keep on while washing hands, but should not be submerged in water.
Currently available for pre-order, the Qbracelet will only set you back $88.
Another popular wearables maker, Misfit began with a crowdfunding campaign on Indigogo and gained notoriety after reaching its $100k goal in just ten hours, effectively bringing its fitness and sleep tracker to market. An early startup in the wearables space, Misfit has since raised $22.8 million over two rounds of funding with support from venture capital efforts including The Coca Cola Company.
Recognizing the need to make appealing wearables, Misfit’s product line now features a Swarovski collection of fitness trackers encrusted in crystals. There are interchangeable Swarovski skins for the Misfit Shine tracker, spanning wristlets and pendents. The Shine tracker don’t even require charging, harvesting power directly from the sun.
Misfit’s lineup includes other gadgets compatible with its wearables, like smart bulbs and a dedicated sleep tracker, along with fitness gear designed with special pockets to hold Misfit’s core devices. In July the company unveiled a wearable smart button and a new app for controlling even more connected devices with Misfit’s primary products.
The Swarovski-flanked Misfits can run up to $250.
Smart jewelry that protects identities. Nymi has created a wearable wristband that essentially stores passwords and pass codes for “keyless” login to various websites and unlock smartphones and doors.
The band is powered by Nymi’s patented biometric security method HeartID, using one’s heartbeat to chart new territory in protecting personal data. This piece of smart jewelry, available in three colors, acts as a digital key for unlocking certain doors while keeping hackers out. By centralizing passwords to a biometric wearable, Nymi hopes to rid of traditional security systems. The company boasts its system to be better than, say, typing in a password because once known, a password can be used by anyone. A heartbeat on the other hand, is a unique and irreplicable, and the startup claims to be more secure than retina or fingerprint biometric methods. Read a hands-on review of the Nymi band here.
It appears Nymi is currently providing its wearable bands to developers interested in building apps for its ecosystem, already expressing hopes to build in support for mobile payments. The company website provides no details regarding a consumer launch date or pricing for the Nymi band.
Geared towards the yoga crowd and inspired by nature, Bellabeat is crafted from American wood with no two pieces exactly alike.
Comprising two components, the Bellabeat’s fitness tracker and sleep monitor has a wood core housing the sensor technology with an embellished metal overlay used to clip or hang the sensor. There are two color options: one with light wood and silver metal, another with dark wood and gold metal. The Bellabeat sensor can be worn as a brooch, bracelet or necklace. No need to charge Bellabeat – just replace the battery.
Gathering data on daily activity (steps, calories and distance) and sleep, Bellabeat can also be used to monitor menstrual cycles (with a pill reminder setting) and overall stress levels. The companion app will suggest ways to reenergize if it detects poor sleep quality. To prevent sedentary lifestyles Bellabeat also has an inactivity alarm.
Bellabeat is currently taking names for its waitlist, and will retail at $129.
Hooking high end buyers with a line of luxury earbuds and headphones, Caeden is ready to enter the connected jewelry space. So far Caeden’s screenless wristlet looks like the expensive piece of jewelry that it undoubtedly is. Judging by appearances, I’d be surprised if Caeden’s luxe band is more than an alert notifier for iPhone calls, text messages and calendar updates.
Few details have currently been given regarding Caeden’s upcoming wearable, but the adjustable black leather strap runs through a metal piece that may house the device’s sensors or mechanisms to deliver vibration alerts to the wearer. The metal brace also features a side button, which will likely be used to power the smart bracelet on or off, pair with other devices like an iPhone, and toggle through different functions or data points.
No info yet on pricing, but Caeden plans to launch its smart jewelry debut this fall.
Marketed as detox jewelry, the Altruis line of connected wearables seeks to “reset the balance between digital and physical.”
Designed for sleek, unobtrusive fashion, Altruis is centered around a large stone available in a variety of jewelry settings that span bracelets, rings and pendants. The technology lies in the stone itself, which functions primarily as a notifier used in conjunction with smartphones. The stone vibrates for incoming messages from pre-selected contacts or those containing specified keywords, which are set up in the companion app.
Be Kovert is currently taking names for a waiting list, with no details on launch date or pricing.
Unveiling the Tyia bracelet this year, Viawear has created a notification wearable sending vibrating and visual, color-coded alerts to the wrist. A metal strip with a double wrap leather strap, Tyia features an embedded light that flashes over 250 colors to distinguish between alerts. Tyia comes in a variety of leather straps and gold/silver metal strips, which are interchangeable.
Doubling as a step counter, Tyia is equipped with a 6-axis accelerometer to track fitness basics with hopes of integrating with Apple’s HealthKit.
Viawear’s Tiya bracelet is not yet available for consumer purchase.