Title:
Customizable bracelet
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A bracelet is made from a clasp and multiple linking pieces (that may be a charm, link or watch) and each of the linking pieces has a male end with a lip and a notch on its bottom side and a bar held in a female end to create a defined opening. Two linking pieces of the bracelet are interlinked to one another by inserting the notch of a first piece in the defined opening of a second piece when an insertion angle formed between the bottom sides of the two pieces is less than ninety degrees and then increasing the insertion angle to greater than ninety degrees so that the bar of the second piece is retained within the notch of the first piece and cannot be removed unless the insertion angle is decreased to less than ninety degrees. The clasp can be a one-piece clasp or a two-piece clasp, both of which will link to a female link end of a first link and a male end of a second link.



Inventors:
Tonali, Angela (Milan, IT)
Torresan, Ivano (Mussolente (VI), IT)
Application Number:
11/897894
Publication Date:
03/05/2009
Filing Date:
08/31/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
63/41
International Classes:
A44C25/00; A44C27/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
LAVINDER, JACK W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Roy L. Anderson, Esq. (Glendale, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A bracelet, comprising: a plurality of linking pieces, each of which has a male end with a lip and a notch on a bottom side and a bar held in a female end to create a defined opening; and a clasp for opening and closing the bracelet; wherein two linking pieces are interlinked to one another by inserting the notch of a first linking piece into the defined opening of a second linking piece when an insertion angle formed between the bottom sides of the first and second linking pieces is less than ninety degrees and then increasing the insertion angle to greater than ninety degrees so that the bar of the second linking piece is retained within the notch of the first linking piece and cannot be removed from said notch unless the insertion angle is decreased to less than ninety degrees; and wherein the bracelet is formed by interconnecting the plurality of linking pieces together with the clasp.

2. The bracelet of claim 1, wherein the clasp has a clasp bottom side, a clasp male end with a latching mechanism for latching and retaining the bar of one of the plurality of linking pieces and a clasp bar held in a female clasp end to create a defined clasp opening for being retained within the notch of one of the plurality of linking pieces when an angle formed between the clasp bottom side and the bottom side of said one of the plurality of linking pieces is greater than ninety degrees.

3. The bracelet of claim 1, wherein the clasp is a two piece clasp that is opened by an unclasp actuator and closed by a clasp locking mechanism and a first clasp piece has a clasp male end with a clasp lip and a clasp notch on a clasp bottom side and a clasp bar is held in a female clasp end to create a defined clasp opening in a second clasp piece.

4. The bracelet of claim 1, wherein the plurality of links includes a plurality of charms.

5. The bracelet of claim 1, wherein one of the plurality of links is a watch.

6. The bracelet of claim 1, wherein the lip and the notch of the plurality of linking pieces is not visible when the bracelet is worn about a wrist.

7. The bracelet of claim 1, wherein the plurality of linking pieces cannot be separated one from another when the bracelet is worn about a wrist when the clasp is in a closed state.

8. The bracelet of claim 1, further comprising: a second plurality of linking pieces for intermixing with the first plurality of linking pieces to form a modified bracelet.

9. The bracelet of claim 1, wherein the bracelet is sized and designed for wearing on a ring of a user.

10. The bracelet of claim 1, wherein the bracelet is sized and designed for wearing as a choker necklace on a user.

11. A bracelet linking piece, comprising: a male end with a lip and a notch on a bottom side; and a female end that holds a bar to define a defined opening; wherein two bracelet linking pieces are interlinked to one another by inserting the notch of a first linking piece in the defined opening of a second linking piece when an insertion angle formed between the bottom sides of the first and second linking pieces is less than ninety degrees and then increasing the insertion angle to greater than ninety degrees so that the bar of the second linking piece is retained within the notch of the first linking piece and cannot be removed from said notch unless the insertion angle is decreased to less than ninety degrees.

12. The bracelet link of claim 11, wherein the bracelet linking piece is comprised of a charm.

13. The bracelet link of claim 11, wherein the bracelet linking piece is comprised of a linkage piece.

14. The bracelet link of claim 11, wherein the bracelet linking piece is comprised of a watch.

15. A method for creating a bracelet, comprising: selecting a plurality of linking pieces, each of which has a male end with a lip and a notch on a bottom side and a bar held in a female end to create a defined opening; and forming the bracelet by interlinking the plurality of linking pieces together with a clasp; wherein two linking pieces are interlinked to one another by inserting the notch of a first linking piece in the defined opening of a second linking piece when an insertion angle formed between the bottom sides of the first and second linking pieces is less than ninety degrees and then increasing the insertion angle to greater than ninety degrees so that the bar of the second linking piece is retained within the notch of the first linking piece and cannot be removed from said notch unless the insertion angle is decreased to less than ninety degrees.

16. The method of claim 15, wherein the clasp has a clasp bottom side, a clasp male end with a latching mechanism for latching and retaining the bar of one of the plurality of linking pieces and a clasp bar held in a female clasp end to create a defined clasp opening for being retained within the notch of one of the plurality of linking pieces when an angle formed between the clasp bottom side and the bottom side of said one of the plurality of linking pieces is greater than ninety degrees.

17. The method of claim 15, wherein the clasp is a two piece clasp that is opened by an unclasp actuator and closed by a clasp locking mechanism and a first clasp piece has a clasp male end with a clasp lip and a clasp notch on a clasp bottom side and a clasp bar is held in a female clasp end to create a defined clasp opening in a second clasp piece.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is in the field of jewelry bracelets.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Jewelry bracelets and bracelets for watches made from chain links are old and well known in the art.

It is common and well known to make jewelry chains by interconnecting jewelry links, usually by hinges or removable pins, and it is also well known to vary the types of links used so as to create ornamental chains which have a different aesthetic look. See, for example, U.S. Pat. No. 1,787,405 to Dansereau, issued Dec. 30, 1930.

It is also known that bands, especially for watches, can be varied in length by adding or removing links to the band. See, for example, U.S. Pat. No. 2,417,289 to Bisso et al., issued Mar. 11, 1947, and U.S. Pat. No. 2,518,163, issued to Megar, Aug. 8, 1950.

The present invention discloses a jewelry bracelet in which its links are interconnected mechanically in a new, secure way that allows the links to be simply and easily connected or interconnected when the bracelet is open and not being worn but in which the linkage mechanism securely holds the links in place when the bracelet is closed and being worn and these benefits are obtained with a mechanism that allows an almost infinite variety of customization and aesthetic creativity not previously available.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is generally directed to a bracelet made of a clasp and multiple linking pieces wherein each piece has a male end with a lip and a notch on its bottom side and a bar held in a female end creates a defined opening so that two pieces are interlinked to one another by inserting the notch of the first piece in the defined opening of the second piece when an insertion angle formed between the bottom sides is less than ninety degrees and then increasing the insertion angle to greater than ninety degrees so that the bar is retained within the notch and cannot be removed unless the insertion angle is decreased to less than ninety degrees.

In a first, separate group of aspects of the present invention, a one-piece clasp is provided that has a bottom side, a clasp male end with a latching mechanism for latching and retaining the bar of a linking piece and a clasp bar held in a female clasp end to create a defined clasp opening for being retained within the notch of a second linking piece when an angle formed between the bottoms of the clasp and the second piece is greater than ninety degrees.

In another, separate group of aspects of the present invention, a two piece clasp is opened by an unclasp actuator and closed by a clasp locking mechanism. The two piece clasp is made up of a first clasp piece that has a clasp male end with a clasp lip and a notch on its bottom side and a second clasp piece has a clasp bar held in female clasp ends to create a defined clasp opening.

In still another, separate group of aspects of the present invention, the links of the bracelet can be charms or a link or a watch and additional linking pieces can be substituted and interlinked to modify and customize the bracelet. The lip and notch of the pieces are not visible when the bracelet is worn about a wrist and interconnected pieces cannot be separated one from another when the bracelet is worn about a wrist when the clasp is in a closed state.

In still another, separate group of aspects of the present invention, a bracelet can be sized and designed for wearing on a ring of a user or as a choker necklace.

Accordingly, it is a primary object of the present invention to provide a customizable necklace with an improved mechanism for interconnecting two pieces of the necklace together.

This and further objects and advantages will be apparent to those skilled in the art in connection with the drawings and the detailed description of the preferred embodiment set forth below.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a view of a preferred embodiment of a bracelet of the present invention as it is being worn on an arm.

FIG. 2 is a top view of a single charm in the bracelet shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 3-3 of FIG. 1.

FIGS. 4A-4E show how two charms from the bracelet of FIG. 1 are connected together.

FIG. 5 is a top view and FIG. 6 is a bottom view of three charms in the bracelet shown in FIG. 1 in which the middle charm is a two-piece clasp device illustrated in FIG. 7.

FIG. 8 is an especially preferred one-piece alternative clasp charm with its latch open while FIG. 8A is a top view of it connected to another charm from the bracelet of FIG. 1. FIG. 8B is a cross-sectional view taken along line 8-8 of FIG. 8.

FIG. 9 is a bottom plan view of a link that can be used to replace a charm of the bracelet shown in FIG. 1.

FIG. 10 illustrates how charms from the bracelet shown in FIG. 1 can be replaced with a watch.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention will now be discussed in connection with preferred embodiments illustrated in FIGS. 1-10.

In the Figures and the following more detailed description, numerals indicate various features of the invention, with like numerals referring to like features throughout both the drawings and the description. Although the Figures are described in greater detail below, the following is a glossary of the elements identified in the Figures.

    • 1 bracelet
    • 2 charm
    • 3 male charm end
    • 4 bar
    • 5 lip
    • 6 notch
    • 7 female charm end
    • 8 charm decorative design
    • 9 charm top
    • 10 charm bottom
    • 11 defined opening
    • 10 2-piece charm clasp device
    • 21 female connection piece of charm clasp device 20
    • 22 female clasp opening
    • 23 male connection piece of charm clasp device 20
    • 24 male clasp piece
    • 25 unclasp actuator
    • 30 1-piece charm clasp device
    • 31 latch
    • 31c stationary center portion of latch 31
    • 32 stationary end of latch 31
    • 33 hinge
    • 34 movable latch end
    • 34a moveable latch end top
    • 34b moveable latch end bottom
    • 35 hole
    • 36 ridge
    • 37 groove
    • 38 hollowed out portion of latch 31
    • 39 opening
    • 40 link
    • 43 male link end
    • 47 female link end
    • 50 watch
    • 53 male watch end
    • 57 female watch end

A bracelet 1 made from multiple charms 2 and a 2-piece charm clasp device 20 (shown in greater detail in FIG. 7) is illustrated being worn on a wrist in FIG. 1. Each charm 2 has a male charm end 3 and two female charm ends 7 (see FIG. 2). Each male charm end 3, on the charm bottom side 10, has a lip 5 and notch 6, while female charm ends 7 have a bar 4 securely held between them. The bottom side 10 is the side of the charm that will be worn facing the skin of a person wearing the bracelet and is the side of the charm that will not be visible when bracelet 1 is being worn. A male charm end 3 from a first charm is connected to two female charm ends 7 of a second charm by bar 4 of the second charm held within notch 6 of the first charm.

In order to connect two charms together, the charms must be oriented so that the charm bottoms 10 face each other and the male charm end of the first charm is above the bar of the second charm (see FIG. 4A). After lip 5 of the second charm is inserted into defined opening 11 of the first charm, bar 4 of the second charm will move into notch 5 of the first charm. The angle formed between the bottom of two charms will be substantially less than ninety degrees and the charms will be angled so bar 4 of the second charm moves into notch 6 formed in the first charm. As the two charms are moved apart from each other so that an angle formed between the two charm bottoms increases to greater than ninety degrees (see FIGS. 4C and 4E), the two charms are held locked together in place mechanically due to retention of bar 4 of the second charm within notch 6 of the first charm. It is especially preferred that if the charms are moved so that their tops 9 approach each other, charm decorative designs 8 and/or the structure of the charms themselves (which have a curvature shown in FIG. 4E) prevent the charms from reaching a release point where bar 4 of the second charm can be removed from notch 6 of the first charm. Thus, once two charms are interconnected together, the mating of the male end of one charm with the female end of another charm will not come undone unless the two charm bottoms are oriented so that their bottoms once again face each other and the angle formed between the two bottoms is less than ninety degrees so that the bar from one charm can be removed from the notch of the other charm.

When a bracelet is worn on a wrist (or ankle), and the clasp of the bracelet is closed so the bracelet is in a closed loop (as shown in FIGS. 1 and 3), if there is not much play in the bracelet relative to where it is being worn, the mechanical connection mechanism of the charms prevents the charms from coming apart. This is because the range of movement of two adjacent charms is such that a bar 4 of one charm cannot physically become disengaged from a notch 6 of another charm since it would require movement of the bottoms 10 of the two charms toward each other at an angle less than ninety degrees as shown in FIG. 4E. However, when the bracelet is being worn, this means that the two charms to be disengaged would have to be brought toward each other, thus decreasing the length of the bracelet and, if the bracelet is not very loose (relative to the length of the two charms), this can not be done, thus securing the connections of the bracelet.

To disengage a bracelet being worn without excessive slack, its clasp must be released.

To disengage the 2-piece charm clasp device 20, an unclasp actuator 25 is pressed downwardly to allow the female connection piece 21 to separate from male connection piece 23 as male clasp piece 24 is disengaged from female clasp opening 22. It should be noted that it is especially desirable, in an especially preferred embodiment, to make the 2-piece charm clasp device have the same or as close to the same ornamental and aesthetic design, look and feel as a charm 2 so that it does not visually stand out as being different from charms in bracelet 1. The male end 3 of female connection piece 21 contains a lip 5 and notch 6 which is connected to a bar 4 of a charm 2 in the same fashion as male end 3 of another charm 2 and the female charm ends 7 of male connection piece 23 contain a bar 4 which is connected to lip 5 and notch 6 of a charm 2 in the same fashion as females ends 7 of another charm 2.

Instead of using a 2-piece charm clasp device 20, bracelet 1 can also be held together by a 1-piece charm clasp device 30 (shown in FIG. 8). 1-piece charm clasp device 30 has female charm ends 7 and a bar 4 that function the same as what is found in a charm 2; however, unlike a charm 2, 1-piece charm clasp device 30 has a latch, generally designated as 31, at its male end 3. Latch 31 has a stationary end 32 connected by hinge 33 to movable latch end 34. Stationary end 32 has a hole 35 adapted for creating a releasable snap fit with ridge 36 and a groove 37 for holding a bar 4 securely in place when latch 31 is in a closed position. Movable latch end 34 has a hollowed out portion 38 to save on material costs.

An especially preferred embodiment of the present invention uses 1-piece clasp device 30 instead of 2-piece clasp device 20 because it is easier to disengage clasp device 30 and its ornamental and aesthetic appearance is substantially the same as a clasp 2. When latch 31 is in an open position, a bar 4 of a charm 2 can be placed into groove 37 by inserting movable latch end 34 into defined opening 11 formed between bar 4 and female charms ends 7 of a charm 2 and then inserting bar 4 into groove 37. Thereafter, closing movable latch end 34 by snapping it into stationary end 32, locks male end 3 of clasp device 30 to female ends 7 of a charm 2. To unlock clasp 30, a fingernail inserted into the slight opening 39 formed between movable latch end 34 and stationary center portion 31C will cause the snap-fit to unsnap and movable latch end 34 can then be opened to allow removal of the charm 2 it was holding. It is believed this unlocking mechanism is easier to use than that required in 2-piece clasp device 20.

Bracelet 1 shown in FIG. 1 uses charms with an ornamental design that is believed to be especially aesthetically pleasing that is also the subject of copyright protection and which is not part of what is claimed as a utilitarian advantage of the present invention; however, in considering this design, and the connection of clasp mechanisms as shown in FIGS. 5 and 8A, it can readily be seen that the clasp is easily disguised as simply part of the bracelet with little visual differentiation from the rest of the bracelet, thus giving the appearance of a substantially closed loop as shown in FIG. 3. This result is achieved by using male and female ends in the clasp, whether it be a 1-piece clasp device 30 or a 2-piece clasp device 20, that readily and seamlessly blend in with the overall design of bracelet 1 and its multiple charms 2 that have their own male and female ends.

The flexibility and customizability of bracelet 1 can also be enhanced by substituting one or more links 40 (see FIG. 9) or a watch 50 (see FIG. 10) for charms 2. When a link 40 is included in bracelet 1, the link, which has male link end 43 and female link ends 47, will attach to charms 2 in a fashion similar to connecting charms. In the same fashion, a watch 50 with male watch end 53 and female watch ends 57, can be connected to charms 2 or links 40. Thus, in a general sense, charms 2, links 40, and watch 50 might all be considered part of a more generic bracelet piece that is linked together by male and female ends with the interconnecting lip/notch and bar mechanism already described in which once any such two linked pieces are interconnected (except for the special case of a clasp with a differing link mechanism), the interconnections will not be disconnected unless they are oriented such that their bottoms are facing each other to allow their disengagement as already described.

Accordingly, the present invention provides an extremely versatile bracelet system with endless possibilities for variation in design. Once the clasp is released, pieces of the bracelet (whether they be charms 2, links 40, a watch 50 or something else) can readily be removed or replaced and additional charms can be added. This allows a user of the bracelet to vary the look and overall appearance of the bracelet limited only by the linking pieces owned by the user. This flexibility also leads to almost endless customization and alteration by an owner of the bracelet with excess links to choose from.

The customization of the bracelet according to the present invention can be further increased by variations in the individual pieces of the bracelet. Various designs of charms, links or watches can be mixed and matched, and there can be variations in charm design, link design and watch design. For ease of reference, the following discussion will focus on charms, but the same design factors also apply to link design or watch design.

A charm itself can be made of a precious metal, such as gold, silver, platinum or an alloy, and it can be fitted with jewels or precious stones (e.g., diamonds, rubies, etc.) or have baked on enamel (which opens the possibility of virtually unlimited designs and colors) with a variety of textures (e.g., matt and shine or incision). Such charms can be created so as to be unique, one-of-a-kind designer charms, or they can be part of a fine jewelry line. Alternatively, for a lower end line of jewelry, or to introduce younger persons and/or children to customizable bracelets according to the present invention, the charms can be made of molded plastic. And, of course, the charms can be made of different sizes, such as a smaller and a larger size, such that a bracelet is formed entirely from pieces of either the smaller or the larger size.

In view of the customization options available for a bracelet according to the present invention, the charms (and/or links and/or watches) might be sold separately or in kits, or a complete bracelet might be sold already interconnected together with a clasp piece, and special or custom charms might be sold for special occasions or through special outlets or means of distribution, or even for promotional purposes. Also, it goes without saying that the bracelet of the present invention could also be adapted for use as an anklet bracelet, instead of a wrist bracelet. Similarly, charms of the present invention might be used to form a necklace, although this use is less desirable unless it is a choker necklace since a long necklace hanging from a neck will not offer the same security against disconnection of interlinked charms as is found in a choker necklace or a wrist or anklet bracelet in which the bottoms of the pieces of the bracelet are prevented from becoming disconnected due to a generally snug fit. Finally, with small charms, they can be used to form a ring, and such a ring has been formed used five linking pieces plus a clasp.

While the invention has been described herein with reference to certain preferred embodiments, those embodiments have been presented by way of example only, and not to limit the scope of the invention. Additional embodiments and further modifications are also possible in alternative embodiments that will be obvious to those skilled in the art having the benefit of this detailed description.

Accordingly, still further changes and modifications in the actual concepts described herein can readily be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the disclosed inventions as defined by the following claims.