Title:
Decorative item with interchangeable setting
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
One possible embodiment could be a decorative item with an interchangeable setting for holding desired item(s). The decorative item could have a generally non-continuous circular body with two angled ends in between which is reversibly located an interchangeable setting having at least two angled setting sides. The securing device for substantially holding the interchangeable setting within the angled ends could generally comprise of a tensile force fit between the two angled setting sides and the angled ends; and the reversible reception of tabs of the interchangeable setting into slots of the body, which could generally resist the action of the force fit from ejecting the interchangeable setting from the body. The invention could further comprise interchangeable secondary design element(s), a key (allowing interchanging of the setting to the body) and an anti-rotation device (helping resist the rotation of the removable secondary design elements and interchangeable setting relative to the body.)



Inventors:
Sowle, Gary A. (Sparks, NV, US)
Application Number:
11/223682
Publication Date:
03/15/2007
Filing Date:
09/09/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A44C25/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
RODRIGUEZ, RUTH C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
John D. Long (Reno, NV, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A decorative item comprising: (A) a body, the body being capable of receiving at least a portion of a user's finger, the body being comprised of a non-continuous band having two angled ends, and (B) an interchangeable setting, the interchangeable setting capable of holding at least one desired article, the interchangeable setting having at least two angled setting sides; (C) a primary securing device, the primary securing device reversibly holding the interchangeable setting to the body by a force fit which occurs as a result of contact between the angled ends and the angled setting sides, and (D) a secondary securing device, the secondary securing device preventing the force fit from ejecting the interchangeable setting from the body.

2. A decorative item of claim 1 wherein the angle of the angled setting side and the angle of its respective angled end are complementary.

3. A decorative item of claim 1 wherein the secondary securing device comprises of at least one tab projecting from the interchangeable setting and at least one reciprocal slot located on the angled end, wherein the tab may be reversibly received by the respective slot.

4. A decorative item of claim 3 wherein the slot is located on the underside of the angled end and the tab is located proximate to the bottom of the angled side of the interchangeable setting.

5. A decorative item of claim 3 further comprising an anti-rotation device which prevents the interchangeable setting from rotating relative to the body.

6. A decorative item of claim 1 wherein the angled portion of angled end is an angled tip.

7. A decorative item of claim 1 wherein the body is spiral shaped with overlapping angled ends and the angled portion of the angled ends are angled end sides.

8. A decorative item of claim 1 further comprising an interchangeable secondary design element, the interchangeable secondary design element featuring a secondary design element body capable of retaining a desired item and having at least two angled element sides with at least a portion of the two angled element sides being removeably located between one angled end of the body and its respective angled side of the interchangeable setting.

9. A decorative item of claim 8 wherein the interchangeable secondary design element body further features at least one slot to reversibly receive at least one tab from at least one respective one angled side of the interchangeable setting.

10. A decorative item of claim 9 wherein the slot further comprises a receptacle and the tab further features a projection, the receptacle being capable of reversibly receiving the projection.

11. A decorative item of claim 9 wherein the interchangeable secondary design element body further features at least one tab projecting outward to be reversibly received by at least one respective slot located on the one angled end of the body.

12. A decorative item of claim 11 wherein the slot further comprises a receptacle and the tab further comprises a projection, the receptacle being capable of reversibly receiving the projection.

13. A decorative item comprising: (A) a body, the body comprising of a bar having a non-continuous circular shape with two angled ends forming a gap between the angled ends; (B) an interchangeable setting, the interchangeable setting capable of retaining one or more desired items and having at least two or more angled setting sides, a portion of the interchangeable setting being located in the gap so that the angled setting side may come into contact with its respective angled end to provide a force fit between the interchangeable setting and body; and (C) a setting securing device comprising of at least two or more tabs projecting from the interchangeable setting and two or more respective slots located on the body wherein the slots are capable of reversibly receiving the tabs to prevent the force fit from ejecting the interchangeable setting from the body.

14. A decorative item of claim 13 further comprising a key, the key being used to force further apart the two angled ends to allow the interchangeable setting to be interchanged with the body.

15. A decorative item of claim 13 further comprising anti-rotation device to prevent the interchangeable setting from rotating relative to-the body.

16. A decorative item of claim 13 further comprises an interchangeable secondary design element having one or more desired articles, at least a portion of the interchangeable secondary design element being reversibly located between the interchangeable setting and its respective angled end.

17. A decorative item comprising: (A) a finger-holding means for holding at least a portion of a finger; (B) an interchangeable setting means for holding at least one desired article; (C) a setting retaining means for reversibly holding the interchangeable setting means to the finger-holding means; and (D) an anti-rotation means for limiting the possibility of the interchangeable setting means from rotating relative to the finger-holding means.

18. A decorative item of claim 17 further comprising a key means for temporarily rendering the setting retaining means inoperative.

19. A decorative item of claim 17 further comprising an interchangeable secondary design element means for providing reversibly attachable peripheral accent to the decorative item.

20. A decorative item of claim 17 wherein the setting retaining means further comprises a primary securing means for applying a tensile force capable of imparting an upward motion upon the interchangeable setting relative to the finger-holding means and a secondary securing means for providing an capability to resist the upward motion.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

Not Applicable

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not Applicable

REFERENCE TO A “MICROFICHE APPENDIX”

Not Applicable.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention substantially relates to a decorative item, which may use a setting to hold and present desired articles such as precious stones, semiprecious stones, artificial stones, cut glass and the like. More particularly, the invention generally relates to decorative items that use interchangeable setting(s).

BACKGROUND

Traditionally, decorative items (e.g., jewelry such as rings, pendants, broaches, earrings and the like) have been used, in at least some instances, to display desired articles. Desired articles are generally found appealing to eye and may include, but not necessarily be limited to, precious stones, semi precious stones, artifacts which mimic the qualities of precious and semiprecious stones (e.g., cut glass and artificial stones), specially treated articles of metals and the like. In many instances, the desired article may be held securely to the body of the decorative item by a setting. The setting may be an integral part of or be become a substantially permanent part of the body of the decorative item.

The placement of desired articles into the setting generally requires the special skills, training and knowledge found within the capabilities of a jeweler. The jeweler generally selects the appropriate setting and correctly securely the desired article(s) into the chosen so as to diminish the likelihood of the desired article(s) being damaged during the setting operation as well as substantially preventing any unwanted later separation of the desired article from the decorative item. Such setting operations accordingly, generally require the expenditure of labor, time and materials, the expense of which could significantly add to the costs of creating a lo decorative item. Due to such expenses and other factors, once such decorative item is created; it is substantially expected to have a relatively long lifespan (e.g., “diamonds are forever”).

This longevity may raise the issues of obsolescence because the decorative item may last significantly longer than the fashion period in which it was created. Thus, over a period of time, the overall design of the decorative item, rather than the qualities of its desired article (e.g., the size, shape or cut of the stone) may become dated (e.g., in the taste of the owner and others), making the decorative item less attractive and valuable. The current possessor of the older decorative item, in desiring more fashionable and appealing decorative items may wish to recycle the desired item(s) of the older decorative item rather than foster an appreciation (or at least recognizing sedimentary value) of an older generation's style for decorative items.

To recycle such desired item(s), the jeweler could be employed to removed the desired articles(s) from the older decorative item and remount the desired article(s) into a new setting form a more contemporary and fashionable decorative item. The newly creative decorative item may also have new secondary design elements (e.g., side settings having clusters of smaller stones and like) which generally act as peripheral accents to the newly reset desired article(s).

This creation of a new decorative item by “recycling” a previously used desired article may again result in substantial expenses (e.g., time, labor, and materials being invested in the creation). These expenses could include, but necessarily be limited to the costs of removal of the desired article from its older decorative item, the costs of new body, the costs of new secondary design elements, cost of mounting new secondary design elements to the new body, the costs of setting the desired article into the new body. The expenses could also include the monetary loss associated with the general inability to reuse the old discarded mounting and old secondary design elements.

Further, certain desired articles, such as expensive precious stones such as opals, emeralds, and the like can be can be very fragile and easily damaged when they are placed into or removed from a setting. In some instances, the possibly of damage and loss in relation to the great expense of such desired articles is so great that many jewelers may turn down the requests to remount such an expensive, delicate precious stones out of liability and insurance concerns.

The substantially permanent nature of the attachment of the components (e.g., desired articles, secondary design elements and the like) to create a desired item may limit the ability of nonjewelers (e.g., the ordinary wearer of jewelry) to alter the jewelry because generally high level of knowledge, skills and like required to make such changes to the desired article to suit the individual's particular tastes or to meet the changes in fashion.

One possible solution to this issue is to create jewelry which may use interchangeable settings. In this manner, interchangeable settings, each possibly having a different desired articles, may allow the different desired articles to generally be swapped in and out of different bodies (e.g., the bodies having different designs, shapes and sizes) to substantially form new decorative items through this interchanging of settings.

An example of a decorative item with an interchangeable setting could be a ring which could feature removable settings held onto the body by a securing device (e.g. latches pivotally attached to the body of the ring). The securing device may be operable when at least a portion of the finger of the wearer is inserted into at least a portion of the finger-holding portion of the ring. Once the finger is removed from the ring, the securing device may be deactivated and the setting may be removed. This type of securing device may lead to the unwanted separation of the interchangeable setting from the ring when the user intentionally takes the ring off their finger or the ring drops from finger to accidentally unlock the securing device and allow for the unwanted loss of the desired article (e.g., very expensive desired article).

What is needed therefore is a decorative item with an interchangeable setting holding a desired article, the decorative item substantially allowing an individual unskilled, untrained, unschooled in art of jewelry construction to easily and securely interchange or remove desired article(s), secondary decorative elements and the like in relation to the decorative item to create an essentially new decorative item, with updated the style and fashion. The decorative item with an interchangeable setting could have a securing device for retaining the setting to the body which does not substantially rely on the wearer's finger to activate the securing device. The decorative item with an interchangeable setting could have a setting securing device, which could rely on a mechanical device such as a key to activate and deactivate (e.g., lock and unlock) the setting securing device.

SUMMARY OF ONE EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION

Advantages of One or More Embodiments of the Present Invention

The various embodiments of the present invention may, but do not necessarily, achieve one or more of the following advantages:

the ability to reversibly remove a desired article from a decorative item and reversibly securely place the desired article securely onto a new decorative item without the services of jeweler;

provide a decorative item wherein a non-jeweler can reversible interchange a interchangeable setting from the decorative item;

provide a decorative item with a interchangeable setting for holding a desired article(s) that cannot be put into place or removed without the use of a removal tool made for such operation; and

provide a decorative item in which the wearer and others may alter the look of the jewelry without impeding the security afforded by the permanent, non-interchangeable settings.

These and other advantages may be realized by reference to the remaining portions of the specification, claims, and abstract.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF ONE EMBODIMENT OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

One possible embodiment could be a decorative item comprising a body capable of receiving at least a portion of a user's finger, an interchangeable setting capable of holding at least one desired article, a primary securing device, a primary locking device reversibly holding the interchangeable setting to the body using force fit that results from contact between the angled ends of the body and the angled setting sides of the interchangeable setting, a primary securing device to prevent the force fit from ejecting the interchangeable setting from the body.

Another possible version of the embodiment could be a decorative item comprising a body having a plurality of angled ends forming a gap between the angled ends; an interchangeable setting, capable of retaining one or more desired items a having a plurality of more angled setting sides, a portion of the interchangeable setting being located in the gap so that the angled setting sides may come into contact with its respective angled ends to provide a force fit between the interchangeable setting and body; and a securing device comprising of at least two or more tabs projecting from the interchangeable setting and two or more respective slots located on the body wherein the slots are capable of reversibly receiving the tabs to prevent the force fit from ejecting the interchangeable setting from the body.

Another possible version could be a decorative item comprising: a finger holding means for holding at least a portion of a finger; an interchangeable setting means for holding at least one desired article; a securing means for holding the detachable setting means to the finger-holding means; and an anti-rotation means for limiting the possibility of the interchangeable setting means from rotating relative to the finger-holding means.

The above-description sets forth, rather broadly, a summary of one embodiment of the present invention so that the detailed description that follows may be better understood and contributions of the present invention to the art may be better appreciated. Some of the embodiments of the present invention may not include all of the features or characteristics listed in the above summary. There are, of course, additional features of the invention that could be described below and will form the subject matter of claims. In this respect, before explaining at least one preferred embodiment of the invention in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of the construction and to the arrangement of the components set forth in the following description or as illustrated in the drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced and carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein are for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is substantially a perspective cutaway view of an embodiment of the invention

FIG. 2 is substantially a cross section elevation view of an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 3 is substantially a perspective cutaway view of a spiral embodiment of the invention

FIG. 4 is substantially a cross section side view of a spiral embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 5 is substantially a partial cross section elevation view of an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 6 is substantially a partial elevation cutaway view of an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 7 is substantially a partial perspective cutaway view of a secondary design embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 8 is substantially a cross section elevation view of a secondary design embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 9 is substantially a partial cross section elevation view of a secondary design embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 10 is substantially a perspective view of a key embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 11 is substantially a cross section elevation view of a key embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 12 is substantially a perspective view of another key embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 13 is substantially a perspective view of a spiral key embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 14 is substantially a perspective view of a spiral key embodiment of the invention.

DESCRIPTION OF CERTAIN EMBODIMENTS OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

In the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments, reference is made to the accompanying drawings, which form a part of this application. The drawings show, by way of illustration, specific embodiments in which the invention may be practiced. It is to be understood that other embodiments may be utilized and structural changes may be made without departing from the scope of the present invention.

As substantially shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, one possible embodiment of the invention could be a decorative item 5 having a body 22, an interchangeable setting 24 (capable of holding a desired article[s] 12), and a setting retaining device 25, through which the body 22 may reversibly hold the interchangeable setting 24. The setting retainer device 25 may used in conjunction with an exchange tool or key 30 (substantially shown in FIGS. 10-14) to unlock the setting retainer device 25 to allow for the changing of the interchangeable setting 24 from the body 22. The invention may additionally comprise of an interchangeable secondary design element 31 (as substantially shown in FIGS. 7, 8, and 9), which may also secured to the decorative item 5 by the setting retaining device 25 to provide a reversibly attachable peripheral accent(s) to the decorative item 5. The invention may further comprise of an anti-rotation device 47 which may prevent unwanted rotation of the interchangeable setting 24 (and any accompanying secondary design element[s]) in relation to the body 22 wherein they are being held.

The invention generally allows an unskilled individual (e.g., the owner or wearer of the decorative item) with the capacity to change out the replaceable components of the decorative item 5 (e.g., interchangeable setting 24, interchangeable secondary design element(s) 31 and the like). This capability substantially provides the owner or wearer (e.g., an operator of the invention) for a limited cost, an ability to create around a desired article(s) 12 various different desired items 5 (e.g., pieces of jewelry 10) which can be used to hold and display the desired article(s) 12.

Although ring embodiment of the invention is substantially described below, it should be keep in mind that other types of bodies (e.g. other jewelry formats such a pin, broach, clasp, and the like) may also be used as well.

Finger-Holding Portion

In the ring embodiment of the invention, the body 22 (e.g., a shank) could further comprise a finger-holding portion 28. The finger-holding portion 22 may reversibly engage at least a portion of one of the wearer's finger (not shown) to reversibly hold the invention to a finger of a wearer of the decorative item 5. In one embodiment, the finger-holding portion 28 may be a generally non-continuous, generally curved rectangular band with at least two open ends 34 that may be separated by a gap. Each of the open ends 34 could have a tip 38 and a plurality of end sides 36 and forming a gap could be generally defined by area between the non-touching ends 34 proximate to one another. In this manner, at least a portion of the interchangeable setting 24 could be fitted within and be reversibly retained within at least a portion of the gap. The interchangeable setting 24 being retained to the body 22 at least partially by the tension force exerted by the two ends 34 against at least a portion of the interchangeable setting 24. In at least one embodiment of the invention, the tips 38 of the two ends 34 may be angled. In at least one embodiment, a set of the end sides 36 could be angled (as substantially shown in FIGS. 3, 4 and 14)

As substantially shown in FIGS. 3, 4, and 14, at least one embodiment of the invention could have a substantially helical or spiral-shaped finger-holding portion 28 wherein one end 34 may overlap but not contact the other end 34. This positioning of the ends 34 relative to one another may have one end side 36 of one end 34 face one end side 36 of the opposing end 36. In between this set of facing end sides 36 may form gap into which at least a portion of the interchangeable setting 24 may be inserted and retained. Instead having the tips 38 being substantially being angled and making contact with the interchangeable setting 24, this set of facing end sides 36 could be substantially angled and making contact with the interchangeable setting 24. The respective angles of the set of facing end sides 36 could be reciprocal to the respective angles of the angled setting sides 42 to which the facing end sides 36 makes contact when the interchangeable setting 24 is reversibly held to the body 22.

The construction of the finger-holding portion 28 could be made of suitable material(s) and in a suitable manner known to those who have ordinary skill to generally impart tension and resilience to the two ends 34 so that when appropriate force may be applied to the two ends 34 to push them apart for the removal or introduction of interchangeable setting 24 within the finger-holding portion 28, the ends 34 could substantially move back to their original positions with respect to one another when the said force is removed. Such suitable materials may include, but not be limited to various precious metal alloys such as 10-24 karat gold and the like. Likewise, the key 30 (substantially shown in FIGS. 10-14) could also be constructed in at least one embodiment, to have a range or capability being to reversibly impart a force sufficient further spread apart the ends 34 of the body 22 (e.g., increase the width or size of the gap) wherein the body 22 may hold at least a portion of the interchangeable setting 24. This force could be sufficient to generally overcome the tension imparted by the two ends 34 upon the interchangeable setting 24 but not to permanently damage or otherwise impair the resilience of the two ends 34 (e.g., the general ability of the two ends to move back to their original positions once the force is removed).

Interchangeable Setting

The interchangeable setting 24 could be comprised of top 40, bottom 41 and setting sides 42. The top 40 may comprise of a desired article retention means 43 to retain the desired article 12 to the interchangeable setting 24. This desired article retention means 43 could include traditional jewel securing mechanisms or devices such as a basket, (e.g., a plurality of prongs wherein the prongs may substantially project upward so as to be able to generally grasp and secure a desired article 12), a bezel, a wire basket, and the like which are generally known to those who have ordinary skill in the art. The interchangeable setting 24 could be constructed using various methods and materials known by those with ordinary skill in the art and still be considered within the purview of the invention.

In at least one embodiment of the invention, the interchangeable setting 24 may have a plurality of setting sides 42 with at least two of those setting sides 42, which may come into contact with the angled ends 34 of the body 22, generally being angled. In at least one embodiment, the angles of the two angled setting sides 42 could be reciprocal to the respective angles of their respective angled ends 34 (e.g., the angled tips 38 or the respective angled end sides 36) that come into contact with the angled setting sides 42 when the interchangeable setting 24 is retained by the body 22.

The Setting Retaining Device

In at least one embodiment, the setting retaining device 25 could have a primary securing device 32 and a secondary securing device 44. The primary securing device 32 (which may be used in contemporaneously with the secondary securing device 44) may use the tension imparted by the body 22 either directly or indirectly (e.g., the secondary design element embodiment as discussed below) upon the interchangeable setting 24 to create a force fit between the angled setting sides 42 (of the interchangeable setting 24) and the respective angled tips 38 (or the respective angled end sides 36 for the spiral embodiment of the body 22) of the ends 34 of the body 22. The tensile force imparted by the angled ends 34 upon the respective angled setting sides 36 may impart an upward motion to the interchangeable setting 24 (if not otherwise restricted by the secondary securing device 44) whereby the tensile force has a tendency to force the interchangeable setting 24 up and out of contact with the ends 34.

The secondary securing device 44 in generally resisting this upward motion of the tensile force of the ends 34 may comprise of a set of tabs 45 and respective slots 46. In at least one version of this embodiment, the tab 45 may project outward from the interchangeable setting 24 proximate to the bottom of a respective angled setting side 42 that may come into contact with a respective angled end 34. A slot 46, in at least one version, could be an open-bottomed channel located on the bottom of a respective angled end 34. The tab 45 could reversibly engage the respective slot 46 when angled setting side 42 comes into reversible contact with the angled end 34 as the interchangeable setting 24 is reversibly retained by the body 22. In this manner, two sets of tabs 45 and slots 46, one set for each end 34 and respective angled setting side 42, could be employed by the invention as the secondary securing device 44 to substantially resist the generally upward motion imposed upon the interchangeable setting 24.

As substantially shown in FIGS. 5, 6, and 9, another embodiment of the secondary securing device 44 could have the tabs 45 and slots 46 generally located on the midsections of the angled setting sides 42 and the respective angled end sides 36 (or the angled end tips 38-not shown). In one version, the tabs 45 are located on the midsections of the angled setting sides 42 and are reversibly received by respective slots 46 located on the midsections of the respective angled end sides 36 (or the angled end tips 38). In another version, the placement of the tabs 45 and slots 46 may be reversed so that the tabs 45 are located on the midsections of the angled end sides 36 (or the angled end tips 38-not shown) and are reversibly received by respective slots 46 generally located on the midsection of the respective angled setting sides 36.

Anti-Rotation Device

Additionally, in at least one embodiment, the invention could further comprise an anti-rotation device, which could feature a protrusion 48 and receptacle 50, to prevent unwanted rotation of the interchangeable setting 24 relative to the body 22. This rotation could come about by unintended or unwanted contact of the decorative item 5 with another object such as when the decorative item is dropped and hits a surface such as a floor. In such an instance, the force of the impact could cause interchangeable setting 24 to rotate between the ends 34 and possibly disengaging the secondary securing device 44. With the disengagement of the secondary securing device 44, the angled contact between the interchangeable setting 24 and the ends 34 along with the tensile force applied by the ends 34 to the interchangeable setting 24 could cause the interchangeable setting 24 to move upward and out of contact with the body 22.

The protrusion 48 could be perpendicularly oriented (e.g., to it respective plane of the tab 45) and be substantially located at the free end of the tab 45. The protrusion 48 could be reversibly received by a receptacle 50 which is located within the slot 46. The receptacle 50 similarly could be a perpendicularly oriented to the plane of its slot 46. The reversible locking of the protrusion 48 within the receptacle 50 could help resist unwanted rotation of the interchangeable setting 24 within the angled ends 34 of the body 22.

Generally speaking, the protrusions 48 and receptacles 50 of the anti-rotation device 47 are not necessary employed in the embodiment using the midsection positioning of the secondary securing device 44 (e.g., the tabs 45 and slots 46.) Generally, the midsection positioning of the tabs 45 and slots 46 may be substantially sufficient by itself to prevent unwanted rotation of the interchangeable setting 24 within the body 22.

Secondary Design Elements

As substantially shown in FIGS. 7, 8, and 9, at least one embodiment of the invention may comprise one or more interchangeable secondary design elements 31. The secondary design element 31 may be designed to as to generally fit between and be substantially retained by the angled setting side and the angled end 34. In this manner, the secondary design element 31 may feature an element body 52 with respective element top 56, element bottom 58 and element sides 54. The top 56 could feature one or more desired article retention means 43 to retain the desired article 12 (and/or several smaller desired articles 12) to the element body 52. The desired article retention means 43 are well known to those who have ordinary skill in the art and could include but not necessarily be limited to prongs, a bezel, a wire basket and the like.

At least two of the element sides 54 could be angled. The angle of the first angled element side 54 could be substantially reciprocal (e.g. complementary) to the angle of an angled setting side 42 that comes into contact with first angled element side 54. The angle of the second angled element side 54 could be substantially reciprocal to the angle of the respective angled end side 36 (or angled tip 38) of an end 34 that may come into contact with the second angled element side 54. In at least on version of this embodiment, the angles of the two angled element sides 54 (of the interchangeable secondary design element 31) could be substantially reciprocal (complementary) to one another as could the angle of the angled end side 36 (or angled tip 38) could be to angle of the angled setting side 42.

By having angled surfaces (angled setting side 42 of interchangeable setting 24 to first angled element side 54; a second angled element side to an angled end side 36 or angled tip 38 of a body 22) which may be complementary could provide a continuation of the tensile force provided by the primary securing device 32 upon (indirectly) the interchangeable setting 24. Similarly, the interchangeable secondary design element 31 could further comprise the secondary securing device 44 to resist the upward motion (of the interchangeable secondary design element 31) that is imparted by the primary securing device 32. The secondary securing device 44 could comprise of sets of tabs 45 and respective slots 46 by the interchangeable secondary design element 31. The sets of tabs 45 and respective slots 46 by the interchangeable secondary design element 31, which could reversibly interlock with the respective sets of tabs 45 and slots 46 (e.g., secondary securing device 44) as deployed by the interchangeable setting 24 and the body 22. In this manner, the secondary securing device 44 may also be used with interchangeable secondary design element 31 to substantially resist the tension force imparted by the primary securing device 32 upon interchangeable secondary design element 31 and thereby generally preventing the upward pushing of the interchangeable secondary design element 31 out of contact with the interchangeable setting 24 and the body 22.

Additionally, the interchangeable secondary design element 31 could further incorporate use of the anti-rotation device 47 (or components thereof, such as protrusions 48 and receptacles 50) with its tabs 45 and slots 46. The protrusion(s) 48 of the interchangeable secondary design element 31 could be perpendicularly oriented to the plane of the tab 45 of the interchangeable secondary design element 31 and be substantially located at the free end of that tab 45. Similarity, the receptacle 50 of the interchangeable secondary design element 31 could be a perpendicularly oriented to the plane of the slot 46 of the interchangeable secondary design element 31.

The anti-rotation device 47 as employed by the interchangeable secondary design element 31 could interact with the anti-rotation device 47 as employed by the interchangeable setting 24 and the body 22. Therefore, the receptacle 50 of interchangeable secondary design element 31 could so orientated and placed as to generally reversibly receive the protrusion 48 of the tab 45 of the setting side 42 of the interchangeable setting 24. The projection 50 of the interchangeable secondary design element 31 could also be so orientated and be so placed as to be generally reversibly received by the receptacle 50 of the angled end 34 of the body 22. In the above manner, the anti-rotation device 47 may be applied or otherwise substantially incorporated within the interchangeable secondary design element 31 to substantially prevent the unwanted rotation of interchangeable secondary design element 31 between the angled end of the body 22 and the interchangeable setting 24.

Unwanted rotation of the interchangeable secondary design element 31 could occur, for example, when the invention is accidentally dropped and comes into an unwanted impact with the floor. The force of this impact upon the interchangeable secondary design element 31 could rotate it respective to the body 22 and the interchangeable setting 24 thus possibly disconnecting the secondary securing device 44 of the interchangeable secondary design element 31 (e.g., the removal of the protrusions 48 from their respective receptacles 50) and allowing the tensile force of the primary securing device to move the interchangeable secondary design element 31 upward and generally out of contact with the body 22 and the interchangeable setting 24. This escape of the interchangeable secondary design element 31 could also afford the undesired release of the interchangeable setting 24 from the body 22. This spontaneous disassembly of the invention could lead to the scattering and subsequent unwanted loss of various components (e.g., interchangeable secondary design element 31, interchangeable setting 24) of the invention potentially causing severe stress to the invention operator.

Key

As substantially shown in FIGS. 10-14, a key 30 may be used to exert force upon the body 22 to allow the removal, insertion and the like of the interchangeable setting(s) 24 (and any accompanying interchangeable secondary design elements 31). The key could be used to temporarily further spread apart the angled ends 34 of the body 22 (e.g., increase the size of the gap) to substantially facilitate the release (or attachment) of the interchangeable setting 24 to the body 22. In at least one embodiment, the key 30 could comprise of a key body 66, a spreader 68, and a knob 70. The key body 66 could a cylindrical tube 72 with two open tube ends, first tube end 74 and a second tube end 76, which connect a generally hollow tube interior 78 to the tube exterior 80. The first tube end 74 may also have a slit 81 extending from the first tube end 74 longitudinally along a portion of the key body 66.

The tube interior 78 may have at least two radial ridges, a first ridge 84 and a second ridge 86. The first ridge 84 may be located proximate to the midsection of the tube interior 78 while the second ridge 86 may be located proximate to the second tube end 76. In this manner, the knob 70, which may further comprise of a threaded shaft 88 projecting outward from one end of the knob 70, may be placed at the second tube end 76 so that that an end of the knob 70 may movably rest against a portion of the second ridge 86. In this position, at least a portion of the threaded shaft 88 may generally project through the tube interior 78. The conical-shaped spreader 68 with a threaded conduit 92 passing through its radial center can be placed proximate to the first tube end 74 so that the threaded conduit 92 may reversibly engage at least a portion of the otherwise unattached end of the threaded shaft 88.

The key body 66 may be so constructed from materials and methodologies known in the art so as to impart proper tension and resilience to the key body 66 for the reversibly flaring of the first tube end 74 along the slit 81. This tension and resilience could allow the entry of a conically shaped spreader 68 into at least a portion of the key interior 78 though the first tube end 74. As the conical-shaped spreader 68 is drawn into the tube interior 78, the angled sides of the spreader 68 may make contact with and push against the tube interior 78. This entry movement of the spreader 68 can induce the flaring of the first tube end 74. When the progress of the spreader 68 inward is reversed and it is generally moved outward away from the tube interior 78, general removal of the angled sides of spreader 68 from the tube interior 78 will allow resilience of the key body 30 to substantially move the first tube end 74 back to its generally unflared state.

The turning of the knob 70 (and its threaded shaft 88) may be used to move the spreader 68 relative to the tube interior 78 proximate to the first tube end 74. The turning of the knob 70 (e.g., threaded shaft 68) in one direction may withdraw at least a portion of the spreader 66 within at least a portion of the tube interior 78 to generally flare the first tube end 74. The turning of the knob 70 (e.g., threaded shaft 68) in the other direction may push at least a portion of the spreader 66 out of contact with at least a portion of the tube interior 78 to generally allow the first tube end 74 to go back to it initial state.

In at least one embodiment, a portion of the tube exterior 80 proximate to the first tube end 74 may be reversibly fitted with a split collet (or collar) 82 which is stepped to allow the proper reversible fitting of the key 30 to various bodies 22 (e.g. rings 16 whose finger-holding portions 28 have different interior diameters). The split collet 82 may further comprise of a collet split 83 which facilities the expansion of the collet 82 by the operation of the key 30. The split collet 82 could be so constructed that when it and the body 22 are being expanded by the key 30, the collet split 83 could be sufficiently wide enough to generally accommodate at least a portion of the interchangeable setting 24 (and any accompanying interchangeable secondary design elements 31) that have drop down from the body 22 during this expansion.

In operation of the invention, to allow the substantial changing out, insertion, removal and the like of the interchangeable setting 24 (and any associated interchangeable secondary design element[s] 31) relative to the body 22, an invention operator may place or fit a split collet 82 proximate to the first tube end 74. The invention operator then may fit the desired item (e.g. ring 16) on to the ring so that the stepped collet 82 makes substantial contact with the finger-holding portion 28 (e.g., interior diameter of the body 22). The collet split may be so oriented so that the collet split 83 may receive at least a portion of the interchangeable setting 22 (and any associated interchangeable secondary design element[s] 31) when the first tube end 74 is flared to expand the collet 82 and the fitted body 22. When the spreader 68 comes into contact against the first ridge 84 (to limit the movement of the spreader 68 in the key interior 78) this limitation prevents the spreader 68 from exceeding the resilience of both the body 22, split collet 82, and the key body 66 proximate to the first tube end 74.

As invention operator turns the knob 70 to flare the first tub end 74, the flaring generally expands the collet 82 (along the collet split 83) and finger-holding portion 28 to substantially further force apart the ends 34 of the fitted body 22. This action then generally deactivates the setting retaining device 25 (e.g., by operating against the tensile force provided by the ends 34 in the primary security device 32 and allowing the invention operator to substantially remove the tabs 45 from their respective slots 46 for deactivation of the secondary security device 44.) Additionally, this action may also facilitate for the deactivation of the anti-rotation device 47 by allowing invention operator to remove any protrusions 48 from contact with their respective receptacles 50.

As the setting retainer device 25 and the anti-rotation devices 47 are deactivated or otherwise disengaged, the invention operator may insert, release, exchange and the like the interchangeable setting(s) 24 (and any associated interchangeable secondary design[s] 31) relative to the body 22. In this manner, the various components of decorative items 5 can be interchanged with other such components to create new desired items 5 around an interchangeable setting 24.

Once the new decorative item 5 is assembled (or the old decorative item 5 is dissembled, and the like), the invention operator can turn the knob 70 in the other direction to move the spreader 68 generally away from the key interior 80 to reduce the flaring and substantially allow the key body 66, split collet 83, and the finger-holding portion 28 (e.g., body 22) to go back to their initial shapes. At this point, the decorative item 5 (or if the decorative item 5 has been disassembled, then the body 22) could then be removed from the key 30.

As substantially shown in FIG. 12, at least one embodiment of the key 30 could be a modified inside ring holder 200, product number #004-679 as provided, GRS Tools, 900 Overlander Road, Emporia, Kans. 66801. The inside ring holder 200 is generally used to reversibly attach a ring 16 to a mount 202 which may then be clamped in a vise (not shown) thus holding the ring 16 to allow the jeweler to work on it. The inside ring holder 200 may comprise of a mount 202, a polymer split collet 204, a metal collet 206, and a screw 208. The mount 202 may have two ends with a threaded aperture 210 at one end and a vise-holding portion 220 at the other end. The polymer split collet 204 may have split 212 and may have a conical central channel 214 whose sides are tapered (e.g., cone-shaped). The metal collet 206 may have an exterior conical shape with central channel 216. At least a portion of the metal collet 206 is generally placed into at least a portion of the conical center channel 214 of the split polymer collet 204 so that at least a portion of the tapered sides of the conical center channel 214 may come into substantial contact with at least a portion of the tapered sides of the exterior of the metal collet 206. The treaded portion of screw 208 generally passes through portions of conical central channel 214 and central channel 216 to reversibly engage threaded aperture 210 of the mount 202. As the screw 208 is tightened into the mount 202, its head may impact upon the top of the metal collet 206 generally forcing the metal collet 206 deeper into the conical central channel 214 of the polymer split collet 204. This action substantially expands the polymer split collet 204 and generally forces it apart at its split 212 in a controlled fashion. An appropriate sized polymer split collet 204 is used for a ring 16 of a specific size allowing the selected polymer split collet 204 (e.g., of an assembled inside ring holder 200) to be generally inserted into the finger-holding portion 28. As the screw is tighten, the polymer split collet 204 may be expanded against the finger-holding portion 28 of the ring 16 to allow the modified inside ring holder 200 to firmly grasp and secure the ring 16 to the inside ring holder 202. As the screw 208 is further tightened, the inside ring holder 200 applies sufficient pressure to the body 22 so as to generally further force apart the angled ends 34 and increase the gap between the angled ends 34.

The modified inside ring holder 200 has an enlarged split 212 whose increased width could be used with the decorative item 5 to facilitate the interchanging (e.g., insertion, removal) of components of the decorative item 5 by allowing at least a portion of the interchangeable setting 24 (and any associated interchangeable secondary design element 31) to drop into at least. a portion of the enlarged split 212 when the body 22 is being expanded by the modified inside ring holder 200. Further, the metal collet 206 could be also designed, when tightened, to bottom out against the mount 202 prior to exceeding the resilience limitations of the body 22. At least a portion of the portion of the interchangeable setting 24 (and any accompanying interchangeable secondary design elements 31) could fit within at least a portion of the enlarged split 212 to generally allow the invention operator to access (for the removal or insertion) of the interchangeable setting 24 and any accompanying interchangeable secondary design elements 31 from the ring 16 while the ring 16 is still being held in an expanded state by the modified inside ring holder 200.

At that time of the invention operator so desires, another interchangeable setting 24 (and any accompanying interchangeable secondary design elements 31) could be inserted into the enlarged split 212 and lifted up to the angled ends 34 for proper engagement with the finger-holding portion 28 of the ring 16. Carefully, not to pinch fingers, the invention operator may untighten the screw 208, thus allowing the finger-holding portion 28, the metal collet 206 and the polymer split collar 204 to return to their respective original sizes. This action could allow the angled ends 34 to go back to their original position to fully engage this other interchangeable setting 24 (and any accompanying interchangeable secondary design elements 31). At this point, the assembled new decorative item 5 could be slipped off the modified inside ring holder 200 allowing the invention operator if so desired to wear the new decorative item 5.

As substantially shown in FIGS. 13 and 14, the spiral-shaped ring 16 embodiments of the invention may use a spiral key 100 embodiment of the key 30 to release the interchangeable setting 24 (and any accompanying interchangeable secondary deign elements 31). The spiral key 100 may have a two-ended shaft 102 at which a cam 104 is attached at one end. The other free end may be curled or have an enlarged handle (not shown) to provide the invention operator with better gripping for turning of the spiral key 100. By inserting the cam 104 between the respective ends 34 and twisting the shaft 102, the cam 104 may move against the ends 34 to spread them apart sufficiently for the removal, insertion, exchange of the interchangeable setting 24 (and any associated interchangeable secondary designs, 31) as discussed in greater detail above to create a new decorative item 5.

The Kit-Service

The invention can be sold as a kit (not shown), the kit possibly comprising of a box with an openable lid having a generally hollow compartmented interior. The lid exterior could bear indicia generally indicating among other information, trademarks, brand names under which the kit is sold, content information including applicable ring size and the like. The compartmented interior could contain various articles such as invention operating instructions, one or more interchangeable settings 24 containing previously set desired articles 12; a plurality of bodies 22; a plurality of interchangeable secondary design elements 31; at least one key 30; and the like.

In this manner, the invention operator, upon receipt of the kit, could create various and distinct decorative items 5 with just one or so mounted desired articles 12. In addition to rings 16, it is possible that bodies 22 could be for earrings, broaches, pendants and the like. These other bodies 22 could be designed to be capable of substantially reversibly accepting interchangeable settings 24, interchangeable secondary design elements 31, and the like to allow the invention operator to create different types of pieces of jewelry 10 with a limited number of mounted desired articles (e.g., interchangeable settings 24).

The kit could be sold as part of an ongoing subscription service wherein the user or wearer of the invention could tender consideration to the service (or other suitable entity) which in turn could then supply the invention operator (e.g., on a periodic or other pre-agreed upon basis) with new designs of bodies 22, new interchangeable secondary design elements 31, as well as new interchangeable settings 24 mounting new desired articles 12. This supplying of new components for the invention could allow the wearer such desired items 5 to receive new and fashionable invention components (e.g., bodies 22, keys 30, interchangeable settings 24 with respective desired articles 12, secondary design elements 31) which the wearer could fashion, using the invention, into current and dynamic decorative items 5 with minimized cost and effort.

CONCLUSION

As discussed in greater detail above, the invention allows one unskilled in the jewelry arts to create new and different pieces of jewelry using an interchangeable setting. The invention allows the user to create new and different pieces of jewelry with minimum cost and effort. The use of a key to assemble and disassemble the jewelry further allows the jewelry to retain its removable components in a secure fashion and limits possibility of spontaneous disassembly of the decorative item.

Although the description above contains many specifications, these should not be construed as limiting the scope of the invention but as merely providing illustrations of some of the presently preferred embodiments of this invention. Thus, the scope of the invention should be determined by the appended claims and their legal equivalents rather than by the examples given.