Title:
Locking and holding system for jewelry
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A locking and holding system for jewelry insertable into a pierced body part is disclosed. The locking and holding system includes a shaft having at least one throat or opening, a pivot pin, and a locking bar in rotational engagement with the pivot pin. The locking bar may be rotated into a insertion orientation such that the locking bar is engaged in an interfering fit with the throat to retain the locking bar. After insertion of the shaft through the pierced opening, the locking bar may be rotated into a locking orientation to retain the item of jewelry to the person's body.



Inventors:
Cappiello, Frank Joseph (Danbury, CT, US)
Application Number:
10/280493
Publication Date:
04/29/2004
Filing Date:
10/28/2002
Assignee:
CAPPIELLO FRANK JOSEPH
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A44C7/00; (IPC1-7): A44C7/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20070095105Jewelry having a pave mounted gem stoneMay, 2007Dagesian et al.
20080072622Weighted bracelet for fine-motor activityMarch, 2008Brack
20040237584Backside decoration element for pin-type earringDecember, 2004Lee
20040172971Semi-finished article, process and product relating to gold, jewelry and the likeSeptember, 2004Terziani
20090056374Gemstone Facet ConfigurationMarch, 2009Abate
20050076673Food symbol adorned necklace with recipe attachedApril, 2005Oliver et al.
20070056321Decorative item with interchangeable settingMarch, 2007Sowle
20090271958Hook and Loop Strap with Loop IndiciaNovember, 2009Kirshbaum
20090133438BRACELET CLASP COMPRISING A SLIDING CATCHMay, 2009Stampfli et al.
20090173104Dog Tag KnifeJuly, 2009Shunnarah
20030221449Bracelet with changeable photograph frameDecember, 2003Deshong et al.



Primary Examiner:
LAVINDER, JACK W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Frank J. Cappiello (Danbury, CT, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A locking and holding system for jewelry insertable into pierced body parts including: a shaft having a distal end, wherein the distal end includes an opening having a throat dimension t; a pivot pin fixedly located relative to the shaft; and a locking bar that is pivotally engaged with the pivot pin to permit rotation of the locking bar about the pivot pin, the locking bar having a width dimension w that is equal to or greater than the throat dimension t of the opening, whereby when the locking bar is pivoted into an orientation such that the locking bar is substantially parallel to the distal end of the shaft, the locking bar is positioned within the opening and retained therein by the interfering engagement between the locking bar and the opening.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] The present invention is directed to jewelry, and more particularly to jewelry for insertion into pierced body parts, such as earrings and such.

Background of the Invention

[0002] In U.S. Pat. No. 4,543,804 is described a locking and holding system for pierced earrings, the contents of which are incorporated herein by reference. The invention described therein takes advantage of the synergy between the disclosed locking and holding system and the user's ear to provide an effective and easy to use pierced earring. As a result, the invention produces an integral, one-piece device that eliminates the need for conventional and cumbersome designs that include a separate locking mount or sliding nut. The one-piece device is extremely useful for people with arthritic fingers who are unable to pick up the earnut and slide it on a friction post. In addition to being effective and easy to use, the one-piece design eliminates the risk of loss of the locking nut, without which the conventional earring design is useless.

[0003] In a particular embodiment disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,543,804 (FIGS. 9-11), the inventor recognized the need for a pivoting locking bar that could be biased into one of two positions: either the insertion orientation with the locking bar substantially parallel to the shaft or the locked orientation with the locking bar essentially 90 degrees to the shaft. To accomplish this biasing, a system is disclosed having posts on the locking bar that engage with recesses on the shaft. The posts and recesses are located such that engagement holds the locking bar into one of the desired positions.

[0004] The post and recess system provides the user with assurance that during insertion of the earring the locking bar will not move or pivot into an orientation that impedes insertion of the earring. In this way, the post and recess system is functionally similar to the conventional cuff link system, which includes a spring biasing mechanism to hold the pivoting arm into the two desired orientations. However, as is obvious to one skilled in the art, the spring biasing systems of cuff links are much to large to incorporate into the shaft and locking bar arrangement of an earring or any other piece of jewelry that is inserted through a pierced opening in a person's skin.

DISCLOSURE OF THE INVENTION

[0005] The present invention is based in part upon the recognition that the post and recess arrangement, while effective, requires additional manufacturing work on the jewelry. This additional work increases the cost of the manufacturing and thereby the cost of the finished product. A more cost effective arrangement that fits within the tight constraints of jewelry for insertion through body piecings while producing the functional benefits of the post and recess system would be highly advantageous.

[0006] According to the present invention, a locking and holding system for jewelry insertable into pierced body parts includes a shaft having an opening, a pivot pin, and a locking bar pivotally engaged with the pivot pin. The locking bar is permitted to pivot to rotate between an orientation substantially parallel with the shaft (insertion orientation) and an orientation substantially perpendicular to the shaft (locking orientation). In the insertion orientation, the locking bar is engaged in an interference fit with an opening in the shaft such that the locking bar is retained in the insertion orientation.

[0007] The principle advantage of the present invention is the security of the user in knowing that the locking bar will remain in the insertion orientation during insertion through the pierced opening. Once the insertion is completed, the user can simply push the locking bar into the locking orientation and retention of the jewelry to the pierced body part is complete. To remove the jewelry from the body, the user forces the locking bar Back into the insertion orientation and pulls the shaft and locking bar back through the pierced opening.

[0008] Another advantage of the present invention as compared to the recess and post arrangement is that the manufacturing of the jewelry is simplified. The shaft can be made conventionally of two portions that are adjacent to each other or are wound around each other in a braided rope fashion. The portion of the shaft proximate to the locking bar is formed to include an opening that is sized to have a throat that is slightly smaller than the thickness of the locking bar. This arrangement does not require additional forming or cutting of the shaft to form recesses or additional machining or fabricating of posts on the locking bar. As a result, significant cost can be saved in the manufacture of the jewelry.

[0009] The invention accordingly comprises an article of manufacture possessing the features, properties, and the relation of elements which will be exemplified in the article hereinafter described, and the scope of the invention will be indicated in the claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0010] FIG. 1 is a side view of a locking and holding system for jewelry according to the present invention.

[0011] FIGS. 2a and 2b are top views of the locking and holding system in the locking orientation (a) and the insertion orientation (b).

[0012] FIG. 3 is a side view of an alternative embodiment of the present invention.

BEST MODE FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION

[0013] In FIGS. 1 and 2 are one embodiment of the present invention. This embodiment includes an item of jewelry 10, of which only the locking and holding system 12 are illustrated for simplicity. The locking and holding system 12 includes a shaft 14, a pivot pin 16 and a locking bar 18.

[0014] The shaft 14 if formed to have two portions 20,22 that extend longitudinally and have a first section 24 with the two portions 20,22 directly adjacent to each other and a second section 26 with the two portions 20,22 expanded away from each other. The distal ends of each portion 20,22 terminate proximate to each other to form an opening or throat 28. The throat 28 has a dimension that is predetermined as will be described in more detail below.

[0015] The pivot pin 16 is fixedly mounted to each of the two portions 20,22 of the shaft 14 and extends between the two portions 20,22 in the expanded section 26 of the shaft 14. The pivot pin 16 may be fixed to the shaft 14 by any convention means and, although described as “fixed”, it should be noted that the intended meaning is that the pin's location is fixed and the pin itself may move, i.e., rotate or slide, within the mounting.

[0016] The locking bar 18 is engaged with approximately the center of the pivot pin 16 and in a manner that permits 360 degrees of rotation of the locking bar 18 about the pivot pin 16. The locking bar 18 has a width dimension w as shown in FIG. 1. The width w of the locking bar 18 and the throat dimension t are predetermined such that an interference is formed between the locking bar 18 and the throat 28. In other words, the maximum thickness of the locking bar in the vicinity of the throat 28 is selected such that it is equal to or greater than the minimum dimension of the throat 28.

[0017] The locking bar 18 has a length dimension 1 such that it may extend outwardly from the shaft 14 when the locking bar 18 is in the locking orientation as shown in FIG. 2a. The generally perpendicular arrangement of the locking bar 18 and shaft 14 provides the holding mechanism for the item of jewelry 10. In addition, the locking bar 18 is sized such that when rotated into the insertion orientation, as shown in FIG. 2a, it can be aligned with the shaft 14. The alignment of the locking bar 18 and the shaft 14 facilitates the insertion of the shaft 14 through the pierced opening of the ear or other body part. Further detail and description of the general locking and holding function can be found in the detailed description of U.S. Pat. No. 4,543,804.

[0018] As the locking bar 18 is passed through the throat 28, the interference between the throat 28 and the locking bar 18 retains the locking bar 18 in the generally longitudinal orientation of FIG. 2b. The user then inserts the shaft 14 through the pierced opening until the shaft 14 extends through the pierced opening. At this point, the user then rotates the lock bar 18 out of engagement with the throat 28 and into the locking orientation (FIG. 2a). In this orientation, the item of jewelry 10 is securely retained to the person's body. To remove the item of jewelry 10, the user rotates the locking bar 18 back into engagement with the throat 28 and into the insertion orientation. Once into the orientation, the user then pulls the shaft 14 back out through the pierced opening and off of the person's body.

[0019] Further detail and description of the general locking and holding function can be found in the detailed description of U.S. Pat. No. 4,543,804.

[0020] FIG. 3 illustrates another embodiment of the present invention. In this embodiment, the two portions 32,34 of the shaft 35 are wound around each other in a twisted or rope like fashion. The termination of the two portions forms a throat 36 as described above with respect to the embodiment of FIG. 1. One difference between the embodiments of FIGS. 1 and 3, however, is that at the end of the twisted section of the shaft 35 is formed another opening or throat 38. This second throat 38 is also sized to have a dimension t2 that is slightly smaller that the width dimension w of the locking bar 40. As a result, in this embodiment there are two throat portions 36,38 to provide additional retention of the locking bar 40 in the insertion orientation.

[0021] As discussed previously, the throat dimensions t1, t2 of both the first and second throats 36,38 are selected to be equal to or slightly less than the width dimension w of the locking bar 40 in the vicinity of the throats 36,38.

[0022] Although illustrated in particular embodiments, it should be apparent to one skilled in the art that various modifications could be made without departing from the scope of the invention. For instance, either the first or second throats could be used without the other to provide adequate retention of the locking bar. In addition, the two portions of the shaft could easily be formed from a single piece or from multiple pieces. Finally, the shape of the locking bar and the shaft could be modified for aesthetic or other reasons.