Title:
Variable jewel
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A variable jewel comprises a jewel body 1 comprising a plurality of housings 5 bordered by setting means 3, fixed to the jewel body. The jewel body carries a locking device with a movable blade 7 cooperating with the setting means in order to reversibly fix each decorative stone (A, B, C) housed in a housing to the jewel body.



Inventors:
Von Peterffy-rolff, Erney Anouschka (La Croix-sur-Lutry, CH)
Application Number:
11/100785
Publication Date:
08/04/2005
Filing Date:
04/07/2005
Assignee:
VON PETERFFY-ROLFF DE ERNEY ANOUSCHKA
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A44C17/02; (IPC1-7): A44C17/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LAVINDER, JACK W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Krieg DeVault LLP (Mishawaka, IN, US)
Claims:
1. A variable jewel comprising a jewel body cooperating with a plurality of removable decorative elements, wherein the jewel body comprises a plurality of housings, each of the said housings being associated with setting means integral with the body of the jewel and conformed so as to be able to house one of the said decorative elements, and wherein the jewel body carries a movable locking device cooperating with the setting means associated with each housing in order to reversibly fix each decorative element housed in a said housing to the jewel body.

2. A variable jewel according to claim 1, wherein the locking device comprises a mechanism for opening and closing the housings and a safety mechanism, the said mechanism being actuatable without tools, and wherein the setting means are conformed so that a decorative element can be housed in or removed from a housing without tools, when the locking device is open.

3. A variable jewel, according to claim 1, wherein the locking device comprises a safety mechanism, and wherein said safety mechanism is actuatable without tools.

4. A variable jewel according to claim 1, wherein the said housings and associated setting means are chosen from amongst bezels and box settings conformed so that the decorative elements can be introduced therein through the non-visible side of the jewel body.

5. A variable jewel according to claim 1, wherein the locking device comprises a movable part arranged on the non-visible side of the jewel body, whose shape matches the shape of the non-visible face of the jewel body in the closed position, and wherein, in the said closed position, the movable blade keeps each decorative element housed in a housing against the associated setting means.

6. A variable jewel, according to claim 5, wherein said movable part is a rotating blade.

7. A variable jewel according to claim 6, wherein the movable blade is mounted so as to pivot about an axis arranged at one of its ends and is embedded, in the closed position, by means of an elastic engagement mechanism, in a conjugate recess in the non-visible face of the jewel body.

8. A variable jewel according to claim 7, wherein the jewel body carries a safety mechanism locking the movable blade in its closed position.

9. A variable jewel according to claim 1, consisting of an earring, wherein the two arms of the clip mechanism make it possible to actuate respectively on the one hand the opening and closing of the said locking device and on the other hand the safety locking and the unlocking of the said locking device.

10. A variable jewel according to claims 7 and 9, wherein the arm of the clip intended to come against the front face of the ear lobe is mounted so as to pivot about an axis, wherein, in its position corresponding to the wearing of the ring, it locks the movable blade in the closed position, wherein, by rotation about its axis, it releases the movable blade, and wherein the forked arm carrying the closure arm of the clip is rotationally fixed to the movable blade.

11. A variable jewel according to claim 1, said jewel being a ring.

12. A variable jewel according to claim 1, said jewel being a bracelet.

13. A variable jewel according to claim 1, wherein the decorative elements consist of a plurality of non-set stones, having the same contour portion cut so as to come into engagement with the said setting means.

14. A set of jewellery comprising at least one jewel according to claim 1, the decorative elements of which are interchangeable with the decorative elements of another jewel in the same set of jewelry.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention concerns a variable jewel comprising a jewel body cooperating with a plurality of removable decorative elements.

The present invention also concerns a set of jewellery comprising a coordinated assembly of jewels such as earrings, bracelets, rings and necklaces having decorative elements of the same form. The decorative elements to which the present invention relates consist of precious, semi-precious or simply decorative natural stones. They may also consist of synthetic materials, glass, crystal or other materials used in jewellery, such as ivory, pearls or amber.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Various removable setting devices have already been proposed for the purpose of offering a jewel where a precious stone, the essential decorative element, can be interchanged as its owner wishes.

The patent US 367449 (J. Scott) describes a small housing constituting the setting for a stone, of the box setting type, to which there is fixed, on its concealed face, a fixing device comprising a pivoting U-shaped lug and a spring closure system. This fixing device makes it possible to fix the setting to a ring of the engagement type. This device is relatively bulky and protruding compared with the ring. However, it may prove to be unpleasant to wear, the fixing lug passing inside the ring.

The document U.S. Pat. No. 5,133,195 (Appelbaum) describes a removable setting for a solitaire, this being permanently set in a claw bezel. The bezel is provided with a slide fixing system cooperating with a combined system specific to the supporting ring.

The document WO 96/33633 (Huron) describes a system of fixing by hinged shoulders and a screwing stud for fixing a removable bezel in which a precious stone is set.

The documents FR 2595925 (Sussex France), FR 2667486 (Bernon) and FR 2662058 (Martin) describe removable crimping systems where the precious stone is permanently crimped in an annular or cylindrical support, which can itself be engaged and crimped by spring effect in a jewel support.

The document U.S. Pat. No. 4,742,696 (Jenkins) describes a ring carrying a top piece that can receive a large decorative stone. An external tilting annulus holds the stone in the top piece; this annulus engages by pressure, by virtue of its elasticity, on the edge of the raised top.

The document FR 1552092 (Villeminot) describes a ring receiving a solitaire stone in a top piece. The stone is held by an elastic claw and spring system.

The document U.S. Pat. No. 2,600,319 (Postel) describes an earring comprising several stones permanently set at its periphery and a removable central stone. The central stone is set in a kind of bezel provided with elastic claws, which engage by spring effect in an opening in the jewel body.

In the above spring systems, the stone is positioned and extracted by pressure. They do not allow holding without the risk of accidental loss under the effect of pressure or impact.

The document U.S. Pat. No. 5,375,434 (Wertheimer) describes a ring provided with a housing able to receive a precious stone and a lever system in three articulated parts, pivoting about three axes in order to enclose the stone. This mechanical assembly is bulky and the articulation axes remain visible in the jewel in the mounted state.

The document U.S. Pat. No. 1,182,534 (Driggott) describes a ring where a solitaire stone is introduced through the inside, comes into abutment against a box-setting edge of a housing and is clamped therein by a cylindrical piece mounted at the end of a pivoting lever articulated on the ring body.

The aforementioned documents each describe a setting system intended to removably mount a single stone on a jewel support. None of these documents describes a device for mounting several stones independently of one another and removing them simultaneously or partly, as required, from the same support jewel.

However, many jewels, such as bracelets, brooches, certain necklaces and earrings, comprise a plurality of precious or semi-precious stones and similar decorative elements matching one another. The user may therefore wish to simultaneously interchange several or all of these decorative elements, or to modify their relative arrangements.

The aim of the present invention is to offer these possibilities.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The object of the invention is therefore a variable jewel of the type defined at the start, in which the jewel body comprises a plurality of housings, each of the said housings being associated with setting means integral with the jewel body and conformed so as to be able to house a decorative element, and in which the jewel body carries a movable locking device cooperating with the setting means associated with each housing in order to reversibly fix each decorative element housed in one of the housings to the jewel body.

The cooperation of a movable locking device with a plurality of fixed setting means, that is to say fixed to the jewel body, makes it possible to removably set as many decorative elements as there are housings or to remove them therefrom with a view to interchanging them.

The housings and the associated setting means can be chosen from amongst bezels, that is to say claw devices and box settings, and are preferably conformed so that the decorative elements can be introduced into the housings through the non-visible side of the jewel body.

The expressions “non-visible side” and “non-visible face” designate the side or respectively the face of the jewel which are placed facing or against the skin or clothing of the person wearing the jewel.

Preferably, the locking device comprises a mechanism for opening and closing the housings and a safety mechanism locking the locking device in the closed position, these mechanisms being able to be actuated without tools, and the setting means are conformed so that, when the locking device is open, a decorative element can be housed in or removed from a housing without tools. The user of the jewel can thus carry out exchanges that he wishes to make without having to possess and handle special tools.

According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, the locking device comprises a movable blade arranged on the non-visible side of the jewel body, whose shape matches the shape of the non-visible face of the jewel body in the closed position and, in the said closed position, the blade holds each decorative element housed in a housing by applying it against the associated setting means.

The movable blade can be mounted so as to pivot about an axis arranged at one of its ends and can fit, in the closed position, by means of an elastic engagement mechanism, in a recess of conjugate shape in the non-visible face of the jewel body.

The jewel body preferably carries a safety mechanism locking the movable blade in its closed position. This safety mechanism can be chosen from amongst the safety mechanisms known to persons skilled in the art, such as a tilting tongue with security fastener, or a tongue fitting in an adapted portion of the jewel body with spring effect, or a piece sliding in a housing fixed with mechanical or magnetic fasteners.

In order to reduce the number of mechanical elements and moving parts of the jewel, some actuation means can be common to the locking device according to the invention and to the system for fixing the jewel to the human body or to clothing. In the case of an earring of the clip type, the two arms of the clip according to the invention make it possible to actuate respectively the opening and closing of the locking device on the one hand and the safety locking or the unlocking of the locking device on the other hand.

Other characteristics and advantages of the jewels according to the invention will become clear to a person skilled in the art from the description of a preferred embodiment and the drawing accompanying it.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows a section, through its plane of symmetry, of an earring according to the invention, the locking device being in the closed and locked position, the earring fixing device also being in the closed position;

FIG. 2 shows, along the same section, the same earring, the locking device being in the open position and the earring fixing device being in the open position;

FIG. 3 shows a view of the same earring, from the “non-visible” side, the locking device and the fixing device both being open;

FIG. 4 shows a section, through its plane of symmetry, of a ring body according to the invention;

FIG. 5 shows a section, through its plane of symmetry, of the locking device of the ring body of FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is a side view of the locking device of FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is a side view of the ring body of FIG. 4;

FIG. 8 shows a section, through its plane of symmetry, of the ring in the assembled state;

FIG. 9 shows a section, through its plane of symmetry, of a bracelet according to the invention, being in the open position;

FIG. 10 shows a section, through its plane of symmetry, of the bracelet of FIG. 9, being in the closed position;

FIG. 11 is a bottom view of the bracelet of FIG. 10.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

FIGS. 2 and 3 show an open earring, whose jewel body 1, produced from 18 carat gold, has the general form of a portion of a cylinder, the directrix of the cylinder being an arc of a circle extending over a little less than a semi-circle. The jewel body has three elliptically shaped openings 2, 2′, 2″. These openings are each bordered, on the external face of the jewel body 1, by a peripheral lip 3, 3′, 3″ closing up slightly on moving away from the cylindrical surface 4 and thus each forming a box setting housing 5, 5′, 5″. Each of the three housings can accept, as indicated schematically by the arrow F, a precious or semi-precious stone, having the form of an ellipsoidal cabochon.

The dimensions of the three housings being identical, the three stones A, B and C, housed respectively in these three housings, as shown by FIG. 1, can be disposed in six visually different arrangements, if they have a different external appearance through their colours, veining, etc.

One of the ends of the jewel body forms a hinge with a blade 7, constituting a rotation axis 6 about which the blade 7 pivots, as indicated by the arrow G. The curvature of the blade 7 is identical to the curvature of the concealed face 8 of the jewel body.

Along the two cylinder directrices bordering the non-visible face 8 of the jewel body 1, the latter carries two ribs 9, 9′ forming two rims having respectively a slight undercut. As shown by FIG. 3, the width of the blade 7 is chosen so that it can enter the recess defined by the two ribs 9, 9′ by means of a slight finger pressure, acting on the elasticity of the metal.

As shown in FIG. 1, in the closed position, the convex face of the movable blade 7 bears on the rear face of each of the stones A, B, c in the form of a cabochon, the lateral edges of which are in engagement with the lips 3, 3′, 3″ of the box-setting housings 5, 5′, 5″.

The blade 7 is extended beyond its pivot axis 6 by a forked arm 10, fixed to the blade 7, which makes it possible to actuate the rotation of the blade, in particular to overcome the elastic resistance of the two ribs 9, 9′ to opening. This forked arm 10 serves at the same time as a support carrying the closure arm 11 of the earring clip providing the fixing of the earring to the rear face of the ear lobe.

The closure arm 11 is formed in a loop in order to match the shape of an ear lobe. It is articulated for rotation on the forked arm 10 about an axis 18, as indicated by the arrow H. The rotation of the arm 11 encounters an elastic resistance of the articulation 18, on opening and closing; this mechanism is known per se.

At its free end, the movable blade has rim 12, curved towards the inside of the loop, which, in the closed position of the locking device, is placed in the immediate vicinity, a little recessed, of the opposite end 13 of the jewel body. At this end, the jewel body forms a hinge with a second arm 13 of the clip, constituting a rotation axis 14, about which this second clip arm 15 pivots. The latter, in the embodiment depicted, carries the pin 16 intended to pass through a pierced ear lobe.

In earrings of the clip type, this second arm of the clip may be fixed, that is to say integral with the jewel body, or movable in order to facilitate the operation of fitting the ring on an ear. In the earring according to the invention, this second arm 15 is mounted so as to pivot about the axis 14. When the movable blade 17 has been placed in the closed position of the locking device, this second arm 15 can be folded in the direction of the arrow I, over the end of the blade 11. It comes to cover the curved rim 12 by virtue of a flap with a conjugate recess 17, as shown by FIG. 1, thus locking the movable blade in the closed position. The blade 7 being in the closed position, held by the ribs 9, 9′, the pin 16 can be placed in a pierced ear lobe, whether the second arm 15 is in the open, semi-closed or totally folded-over position. After the placing of the pin 16 in an ear lobe, the pin 16 entering the ear lobe through the front side thereof, the second arm 15 is folded over if necessary and the other closure arm 11 of the clip, mounted for rotation on the forked arm 10 integral with the movable blade 7, is folded against the rear face of the ear lobe, so that, simultaneously, the earring is fixed to the ear and the locking device is in the locked position, as illustrated by FIG. 1.

In order to remove the earring, it suffices in principle to tilt the closure arm 11 into the open position, the second arm 15 of the clip carrying the pin 16 remaining in the position locking the movable blade. This second arm 15 can also tilt partially whilst the earring is removed: as long as this arm 15 is not totally tilted, the movable blade is not released from the recess 17 and in addition remains in the closed position under the effect of the elastic pressure of the ribs 9, 9′.

The movable blade 7 carries a small lug 19 on its concave face, which can be gripped with the edge of a finger nail. When the second arm 15 is open, the blade 7 can be manipulated by means of this lug 19, in place of the forked arm 10.

The movable blade 7, as depicted in FIG. 3, is perforated in a decorative pattern. The locations of the cut-outs are disposed opposite the openings 2, 2′, 2″ of the housings. When the ring is used with transparent stones, an additional decorative effect is thus obtained, the decoration of the blade being visible through the transparent stone. In addition, the cut-outs afford a saving in weight.

FIGS. 4, 5, 6 and 7 show a ring in the open state, whose jewel body 101 has the general form of a portion of a cylinder. The jewel body has three elliptically shaped openings 102, 102′, 102″. These openings are each bordered, on the external face of the jewel body 101, by a peripheral lip 103, 103′, 103″, closing up slightly on moving away from the cylindrical surface 104, and thus each forming a box setting housing 105, 105′, 105″. Each of the three housings can accept a precious or semiprecious stone, having the form of an ellipsoidal cabochon. The dimensions of the housings being identical, the stones may be interchanged as in the previously described embodiment.

The locking device 107 also has the general form of a portion of a cylinder, as shown in FIGS. 5 and 6. The jewel body 101 has an open portion along its lower half, as shown by FIG. 7, and thus the locking device 107 can be inserted inside the jewel body. A small lug 111 on the locking device 107 can engage a small recess 112 of the jewel body, maintaining both in the assembled state, as shown in FIG. 8. The upper portion of the locking device 107 pushes against the lower faces of the stones A, B, C, and maintains them in their housings. In the assembled state, from a side view, the locking device 107 is hidden by the lateral edges 109 of the ring body that form ribs. A protruding lug 113 located at the lowest part of the locking device 107 renders disassembly by the pressure of a finger easier.

FIGS. 9, 10 and 11 show a bracelet, whose jewel body 201 has the general shape of a portion of a cylinder. The directrix of the cylinder is an arc of a circle, leaving a passage free for the arm of the wearer. The jewel body has several elliptically shaped openings 202. These openings are each bordered, on the external face of the jewel body, by a lip 203 closing up slightly on moving away from the cylindrical surface 204, and thus each forming a box setting housing 205. Each of the housings can accept a precious or semiprecious stone, having the form of an ellipsoidal cabochon, as shown by FIGS. 9 and 10. The stones may be interchanged.

The jewel body 201 bears on its inner face 208 two hinges 206, 206′about which two blades 207, 207′ rotate. In the closed state, blades 207 and 207′ lie against the inner face of the jewel body and maintain the stones in their housings. The length of the blades is chosen such that in the closed position, the blades are aligned, with slight pressure, the one against the other. A protruding lug 213 on one blade renders closing and opening of the locking device easier. In the closed state, both blades are hidden by the side edges 209 of the jewel body, said side edges forming ribs. One of the blades, blade 207′, bears a small rotating bolt 215, rotating about a pin 214, that can engage a small opening 216 in a one side edge 209, thus forming a safety device.

In the embodiments described above, the housings of the precious stones are ellipsoidal in shape overall. A person skilled in the art will easily understand that the jewel according to the invention can accept stones in the form of a spherical cabochon or any other form of stone, which can be set by box settings or by claw bezels. A person skilled in the art will also understand that the locking device described above is adaptable to other forms of jewels having an internal face in the form of an arc of a circle, such as various bracelets or rings, and that this device can also be adapted, in the form of a planar blade, to the rear face of a medallion or brooch. In the latter case, it is the blade itself, which can carry on its rear face the needle system intended to fix the brooch to a garment. According to another variant embodiment, the brooch fixing system can be fixed to the ends of the non-visible face of the jewel body, whilst serving simultaneously to lock, in its closed position, the rotation of the movable blade.

Several jewels according to the invention can be associated in order to constitute a set of jewellery: preferably, at least some of the housings of a jewel can accept at least some of the decorative elements coming from one of the other jewels in the set of jewellery, and vice versa.

In the embodiment described above, the housings in the earring accept non-set stones. However, a smaller stone may be set permanently in a support whose shape is adapted to these same housings and used in combination with non-set stones. This variant execution may be envisaged in particular in order to combine high-priced stones, for example diamonds mounted permanently in a setting, and stones of lesser value, such as lapis lazuli or others, not set, of identical size to the external size of the diamond setting.