It’s no secret that consumer technology pervades almost everything we do nowadays, but a perhaps under-reported but clearly associated phenomenon is the impact it is having on design and creativity.
This month alone, I have a seen a slew of brands designing and manufacturing jewellery pieces which take their inspiration from computing and precision engineering. For instance, we have Bailey of Sheffield, which has teamed up with aerospace and motorsport coatings specialist Wallwork Cambridge to customise its stainless steel necklaces and bracelets. The newest addition to the range is a set of beads, described as “finely machined cylinders in different geometries”. The bracelet itself uses a physical vapour deposition (PVD) process, and the items to be coated are rotated on a carousel within a vacuum chamber where a donor material in a crucible is bombarded with a high-energy electron beam. This vaporises the donor material which is drawn to and condenses on the surface of the item to be coated under the influence of a negative electrical charge. Sound techie to you? It does to me.
Next there’s Men’s jewellery designer, Vanacci, which has brought out a line of fragrance-infused jewellery inspired by the lunar calendar. The Nightfall range has been designed to feature phases of the moon and it incorporates a patented ‘Lockstone’ material, which allows the wearer to spray a scent on the product and have it diffuse throughout the day. When sprayed on the jewellery, the longevity of the fragrance is said to be increased by seven times compared to wearing it on the skin.
I don’t think it’s any coincidence that in a generation of iPhone-wielding, Snapchat-sharing, Starbucks-freelancing people, jewellery designers see a market for jewellery created in weird and wonderful ways. Ranges such as these reflect the zeitgeist in a way that speaks directly to how far
humankind has come in the invention and innovation stakes. Some may see it as gimmickry and a cynical marketing ploy – after all, who needs a bracelet that can withstand extreme temperatures or air-resistance? But really, all jewellery is pure frivolity and pleasure – no-one actually needs a
pendant or a diamond ring, so why not extend that philosophy to some design quirks that chime with the times we live in?