Title:
Reconfigurable jewelry
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A jewelry piece employs interchangeable jewelry segments having features that allow the segments to be interchanged, replaced, reversed, removed and/or combined in various ways to provide a variety of different looks. The jewelry segments retain the visual appeal that is so important in such a fashion conscious industry, even when combined in various ways to provide a variety of different looks.



Inventors:
Shah, Alkesh Satish (Mumbai (Bombay), IN)
Application Number:
11/473452
Publication Date:
01/24/2008
Filing Date:
06/23/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A44C25/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20090229308HIGHLY INCLUDED DIAMOND JEWELRYSeptember, 2009Mehta
20060037358Charm holderFebruary, 2006Zuffoletto
20060010913AniMom jewelryJanuary, 2006Torres et al.
20090151052OrnamentJune, 2009Masutani
20050160764JOOLZJuly, 2005Smith
20030041620Non-rectangular multistone jewelryMarch, 2003Gruber
20090199592Piercing tear preventersAugust, 2009Anastasi et al.
20060081001Hani ringsApril, 2006Ehsanipour et al.
20030167795Illuminated jewellerySeptember, 2003Metcalfe et al.
20050188722Jewelry apparatus and method of making sameSeptember, 2005Nevatia et al.
20020184916Magnifying jewelry setting and method of producing sameDecember, 2002Croft



Primary Examiner:
REESE, DAVID C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HAMRE, SCHUMANN, MUELLER & LARSON, P.C. (45 South Seventh Street Suite 2700, Minneapolis, MN, 55402-1683, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A jewelry piece comprising at least one nestable segment, wherein the at least one nestable segment includes at least one through hole and at least one periphery configured to substantially match a periphery associated with at least one different nestable segment such that the at least one nestable segment alone, or in combination with the at least one different nestable segment, forms the jewelry piece, and wherein when combined, the at least one nestable segment and the at least one different nestable segment are nestable with each other.

2. The jewelry piece according to claim 1, wherein the at least one nestable segment is configured to be reversible.

3. The jewelry piece according to claim 1, wherein the at least one through hole is configured to receive an attachment mechanism such that the attachment mechanism passes through the at least one through hole and a corresponding through hole associated with the at least one different nestable segment when more than one nestable segment is employed to form the piece of jewelry.

4. The jewelry piece according to claim 3, wherein the at least one through hole associated with the at least one nestable segment corresponds one-for-one with the at least one through hole associated with each other segment comprising the jewelry piece.

5. The jewelry piece according to claim 3, wherein the attachment mechanism comprises at least one member selected from the group consisting of a chain, a string, a wire, a flexible filament, and a rigid filament.

6. The jewelry piece according to claim 3, wherein the attachment mechanism is devoid of mounting hardware used to mount the attachment mechanism to the nestable segment.

7. The jewelry piece according to claim 1, wherein the nestable segment is formed of at least one element selected from the group consisting of metal, plastic, wood, and stone.

8. The jewelry piece according to claim 1, wherein the nestable segment includes facial surface features that are common to all segments combined to form the jewelry piece.

9. The jewelry piece according to claim 1, wherein the nestable segment includes facial surface features that are unique to a desired set of segments combined to form the jewelry piece.

10. The jewelry piece according to claim 1, wherein at least two nestable segments are combined to form a jewelry piece selected from the group consisting of a broach, a necklace, a bracelet, and an earring.

11. A method of operating a jewelry business, comprising: selling a piece of jewelry that is configured and intended to be nestable with an existing piece of jewelry having at least one through hole, wherein the sold piece of jewelry includes at least one through hole and at least one periphery that substantially matches a periphery associated with the existing piece of jewelry, and such that when the sold piece of jewelry and the existing piece of jewelry are nested with each other, the at least one through hole of the sold piece of jewelry is aligned with the at least one through hole of the existing piece of jewelry to enable an attachment mechanism to pass through the aligned through holes to secure the sold piece of jewelry and the existing piece of jewelry together to form a single item of jewelry.

12. The method according to claim 11, wherein the at least one periphery of the sold piece is an outer periphery.

13. The method according to claim 11, wherein the at least one periphery of the sold piece is an inner periphery.

14. The method according to claim 11, further comprising advertising that the sold piece of jewelry as being nestable with the existing piece of jewelry, prior to selling the sold piece of jewelry.

15. A jewelry piece comprising a set of nestable segments, wherein at least one periphery of each nestable segment within the set of nestable segments and at least one periphery of at least one different nestable segment within the set of nestable segments match one another.

16. The jewelry piece according to claim 15, wherein each nestable segment has at least one through hole that corresponds one-for-one with at least one through hole associated with each other segment in the set of nestable segments.

17. The jewelry piece according to claim 15, wherein each nestable segment is formed of at least one element selected from the group consisting of metal, plastic, wood and stone.

18. The jewelry piece according to claim 16, further comprising an attachment mechanism devoid of mounting hardware, wherein the attachment mechanism is configured to couple the set of nestable segments together via the at least one through hole associated with each nestable segment.

19. The jewelry piece according to claim 15, wherein each nestable segment is reversible.

20. The jewelry piece according to claim 15, wherein each nestable segment includes facial surface features that are unique to desired nestable segments within the set of nestable segments to form a jewelry piece selected from the group consisting of a broach, a necklace, a bracelet and an earring.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention is directed to jewelry, and more particularly to a jewelry design that employs interchangeable jewelry segments and which has features that allow the segments to be interchanged, replaced, removed and/or combined in various ways.

2. Description of the Prior Art

Modern jewelry designs generally include some type of gemstone that is set into a mounting and that is often associated with some type of aesthetic design element. The mounting and gemstone, including functional elements necessary to attach the jewelry to a person's body are typically fashioned to form a single static unit. The gemstone, for example, is permanently set in the mounting; and the mounting is permanently attached, for example, to a necklace chain. Modern jewelry designs then provide a single look for every item purchased.

In view of the foregoing, it would be advantageous and beneficial to provide a jewelry design that has interchangeable, replaceable, reversible and removable elements that may be combined in various ways to provide a variety of different looks. It would be further beneficial if the jewelry elements retained the visual appeal that is so important in such a fashion conscious industry, even when combined in various ways to provide a variety of different looks.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to a jewelry piece that employs interchangeable jewelry segments and which has features that allow the segments to be interchanged, replaced, reversed, removed and/or combined in various ways to provide a variety of different looks. The jewelry segments retain the visual appeal that is so important in such a fashion conscious industry, even when combined in various ways to provide a variety of different looks.

The jewelry piece allows the jewelry wearer to create, from the set of interchangeable jewelry segments, a unique custom jewelry assembly which can be coordinated to the user's desires. The segmenting of the jewelry sections and the design of the interchangeable segments affords the user flexibility while providing ease of use in a durable and affordable manner.

According to one embodiment, a jewelry piece comprises at least one interchangeable segment, wherein the at least one interchangeable segment includes at least one periphery configured to substantially match a periphery associated with at least one different interchangeable segment such that the at least one interchangeable segment alone, or in combination with the at least one different interchangeable segment, forms the jewelry piece, wherein upon combining the at least one interchangeable segment and the at least one different interchangeable segment, the at least one periphery of the at least one interchangeable segment and the periphery of the at least one different interchangeable segment match and abut one another.

According to another embodiment, a method of providing a jewelry piece comprises the steps of: providing at least one interchangeable and reversible segment having at least one through hole; and passing an attachment mechanism through the at least one through hole such that the at least one interchangeable and reversible segment can be combined with at least one different interchangeable and reversible segment to form the jewelry piece in a manner causing at least one periphery of the at least one interchangeable segment and a periphery of the at least one different interchangeable segment to match and abut one another.

According to yet another embodiment, a jewelry piece comprises a set of interchangeable segments, wherein at least one periphery of each interchangeable segment within the set of interchangeable segments and at least one periphery of at least one different interchangeable segment within the set of interchangeable segments match and abut one another.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Other aspects and features of the present invention and many of the attendant advantages of the present invention will be readily appreciated as the same becomes better understood by reference to the following detailed description when considered in connection with the accompanying drawings in which like reference numerals designate like parts throughout the figures thereof and wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing an item of jewelry according to one embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 is an exploded assembly depicting interchangeable segments of the jewelry item shown in FIG. 1;

FIGS. 3a-c are front plan views showing different looks provided when individually using each segment shown in FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a front plan view of the jewelry item shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a side view showing a mechanism for retaining the structural integrity of the jewelry item shown in FIG. 1 that employs all the interchangeable segments shown in FIG. 1, according to one embodiment;

FIGS. 6a-6i illustrate a set of interchangeable segments suitable to implement an item of jewelry in the shape of a cross according to another embodiment of the present invention;

FIGS. 7a-7i illustrate a set of interchangeable segments suitable to implement an item of jewelry in the shape of a heart according to yet another embodiment of the present invention;

FIGS. 8a-8i illustrate a set of interchangeable segments suitable to implement an item of jewelry in the shape of a marquis according to still another embodiment of the present invention; and

FIGS. 9a-9h illustrate a set of interchangeable segments suitable to implement an item of jewelry in the shape of an oval according to still another embodiment of the present invention.

While the above-identified drawing figures set forth a particular embodiment, other embodiments of the present invention are also contemplated, as noted in the discussion. In all cases, this disclosure presents illustrated embodiments of the present invention by way of representation and not limitation. Numerous other modifications and embodiments can be devised by those skilled in the art which fall within the scope and spirit of the principles of this invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing a jewelry piece 10 according to one embodiment of the invention. Jewelry piece 10 includes three nested segments 12, 14 and 16 and may be combined to implement, for example, a necklace, a broach, a bracelet, or an earring, and the like. The present invention is not so limited however, and the number of segments depicted is only exemplary. Any desired number of nested segments may be employed, limited only by the feature set desired by the wearer of the necklace 10.

Jewelry piece 10 also includes an attachment element (i.e., chain, string, or filament, and the like) 18 that serves a dual purpose of binding the segments 12, 14, 16 together to form a single unitary unit, and also of providing a mechanism for attaching the jewelry piece 10 to the wearer of the jewelry piece 10.

Each segment 12, 14, 16 preferably includes design features common to all of the individual segments. The segments 12, 14, 16, for example, can be seen to each include a plurality of cylindrical posts interlaced with a plurality of circular holes. The present invention is not so limited however, and the design features shown are only exemplary. Each segment 12, 14, 16 could for example, instead include a set of gemstones set into a desired set of gemstone settings, and may even employ design features that are unique to one or more particular segments.

Each segment 12, 14, 16 can be constructed using any one or more suitable fashion jewelry material, including but not limited to, metals, plastics and bone, among others. The particular materials selected to construct the segments 12, 14, 16 are selectable by the wearer of the jewelry piece 10 so long as the particular materials are suitable to implement segment binding features having the requisite structural integrity when combined with the attachment element 18.

The binding features illustrated in FIG. 1 include a symmetrical set of through holes 20 associated with each segment 12, 14, 16 such that when the segments 12, 14, 16 are combined to form the jewelry piece 10, each through hole 20 associated with each segment 12, 14, 16 will line up exactly with a corresponding through hole 20 associated with the immediately abutting segment. In this way, the attachment element 18 can pass through any desired matching set of through holes 20 to structurally bind the segments 12, 14, 16 into a single unitary piece of jewelry. This binding feature advantageously eliminates the necessity for using conventional mounting hardware such as screws, bolts, nuts, washers, and the like that can come loose over time and compromise the structural integrity of the jewelry piece 10.

FIG. 2 is an exploded assembly depicting the interchangeable segments 12, 14, 16 of the jewelry piece 10 shown in FIG. 1. Segment 12 is seen to have a solid top surface including a plurality of cylindrical posts interlaced with a plurality of circular holes as discussed herein before. Segment 12 need not have a solid top surface however, but could just as easily be implemented using an open hoop design structure such as that associated with segments 14 and 16, also shown in FIG. 2. Each segment 12, 14, 16 can be seen to also include a corresponding set of through holes 20, also discussed herein before.

Segment 12, according to one embodiment, is configured to fit or nest into segment 14 that is configured to fit or nest into segment 16 to form a single unitary design structure. The present invention is not so limited however, and it shall be understood that segments 12, 14, 16 can be individually employed as a piece of jewelry, or can alternatively be employed in combination with any one or more of the group of segments 12, 14, 16 to form the jewelry piece 10, so long as the selected segments fit into one another to form the jewelry. Further, the user can selectively reverse the segments 12, 14, 16 and regroup to form a new jewelry group.

FIGS. 3a-c are front plan views showing different looks provided when individually using each segment 12, 14, 16 shown in FIG. 2. FIG. 3a illustrates attachment element 18 passing through segment 12 to implement a jewelry piece. FIG. 3b illustrates attachment element 18 passing through segment 14 to implement a jewelry piece. FIG. 3c illustrates attachment element 18 passing through segment 16 to implement a jewelry piece.

FIG. 4 is a front plan view of the jewelry piece 10 shown in FIG. 1. The mating feature discussed herein before can be seen to selectively prevent gaps and increase the structural integrity between the individual segments 12, 14, 16 when the segments 12, 14, 16 are fit together to form the jewelry piece 10.

FIG. 5 is a side view showing a mechanism for retaining the structural integrity of the jewelry piece 10 shown in FIG. 1 that employs all the interchangeable segments 12, 14, 16 shown in FIG. 1, according to one embodiment. Even when segments 12, 14 and 16 are rotated axially with respect to one another, an attachment mechanism 18 passing through a set of common through holes 20 prevents the segments 12, 14 and 16 from separating into separate elements. In this way, the attachment mechanism 18 binds the segments 12, 14, 18 into a single unitary piece of jewelry.

Although the segments 12, 14, 16 have been described herein before in association with necklace type jewelry, the present invention is not so limited; and it shall be understood the segments 12, 14, 16 can also be combined in various fashions to implement other items of jewelry including, but not limited to, for example, broaches, earrings and bracelets, among other types of jewelry, as stated herein before. Further, segments 12, 14 and 16 can be formulated using any number of desired shapes such as, but not limited to, those shapes depicted in FIGS. 6-9 described herein below.

FIGS. 6a-6i, for example, illustrate a set of interchangeable segments suitable to implement an item of jewelry in the shape of a cross according to another embodiment of the present invention. FIGS. 6a, 6b and 6c illustrate three cross-shaped segments 30, 32, 34 that can be nested in various ways to implement a desired jewelry item. Segments 30, 32, 34 are nested, for example, as shown in a top view depicted in FIG. 6d to implement a substantially solid cross figure. FIG. 6g is a perspective view of segment 30; FIG. 6h is a perspective view of segment 32; and FIG. 6i is a perspective view of segment 34. FIG. 6e is a simplified top view depicting segments 30 and 34 combined into a cross figure. FIG. 6f is a side view illustrating a set of through holes 36 that are configured to be aligned with one another to accept a desired retaining mechanism, such as attachment element 18 discussed herein before, when one or more of the segments 30, 32, 34 are combined to formulate an item of jewelry.

FIGS. 7a-7i illustrate a set of interchangeable segments suitable to implement an item of jewelry in the shape of a heart according to yet another embodiment of the present invention. FIGS. 7a, 7b and 7c illustrate three heart-shaped segments 40, 42, 44 that can be nested in various ways to implement a desired jewelry item. Segments 40, 42, 44 are nested, for example, as shown in a top view depicted in FIG. 7d to implement a substantially solid heart figure. FIG. 7g is a perspective view of segment 40; FIG. 7h is a perspective view of segment 42; and FIG. 7i is a perspective view of segment 44. FIG. 7e is a simplified top view depicting segments 40 and 44 nested into a heart figure. FIG. 7f is a side view illustrating a set of through holes 46 that are configured to be aligned with one another to accept a desired retaining mechanism, such as attachment element 18 discussed herein before, when one or more of the segments 40, 42, 44 are combined to formulate an item of jewelry.

FIGS. 8a-8i illustrate a set of interchangeable segments suitable to implement an item of jewelry in the shape of a marquis according to still another embodiment of the present invention. FIGS. 8a, 8b and 8c illustrate three marquis-shaped segments 50, 52, 54 that can be nested in various ways to implement a desired jewelry item. Segments 50, 52, 54 are nested, for example, as shown in a top view depicted in FIG. 8d to implement a substantially solid marquis figure. FIG. 8g is a perspective view of segment 50; FIG. 6h is a perspective view of segment 52; and FIG. 6i is a perspective view of segment 54. FIG. 8e is a simplified top view depicting segments 50 and 54 combined into a marquis figure. FIG. 8f is a side view illustrating a set of through holes 56 that are configured to be aligned with one another to accept a desired retaining mechanism, such as attachment element 18 discussed herein before, when one or more of the segments 50, 52, 54 are combined to formulate an item of jewelry.

FIGS. 9a-9h illustrate a set of, interchangeable segments suitable to implement an item of jewelry in the shape of an oval according to still another embodiment of the present invention. FIGS. 9a, 9b and 9c illustrate three oval-shaped segments 60, 62, 64 that can be nested in various ways, or used individually, to implement a desired jewelry item as shown in FIGS. 9d-h.

The invention may be embodied in other forms without departing from the spirit or essential characteristics thereof. The embodiments disclosed in this application are to be considered in all respects as illustrative and not limitative. The scope of the invention is indicated by the appended claims rather than by the foregoing description; and all changes which come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims are intended to be embraced therein.





 
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