Title:
IRIS SHUTTER CASE FOR DISPLAYING A DECORATIVE OBJECT
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An iris shutter case is disclosed for securely housing, protecting and displaying a decorative object while providing an elegant design that adds to the aesthetic appearance of the decorative object. The iris shutter case includes a container in which a decorative object, such as a piece of jewelry, can be securely fitted, and an openable and closable iris shutter assembly that alternatively reveals and conceals a contained decorative object from view. The container houses and protects the decorative object, and resembles a disc or a sphere in preferred embodiments. The iris shutter assembly is operated by a drive mechanism to display or conceal the decorative object. In preferred embodiments, the iris shutter assembly is a leaf and pin shutter assembly, and the drive mechanism is a drive ring with protruding lug handles which rotates relative to a master ring so as to open and close the iris shutter assembly.



Inventors:
Emer, Dennis Richard (US)
Application Number:
12/182595
Publication Date:
02/04/2010
Filing Date:
07/30/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
63/3
International Classes:
A44C15/00; A44C5/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
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20100005834METHOD FOR PRODUCING PRECIOUS OR SEMI-PRECIOUS STONESJanuary, 2010Bonoli
20090056375Ezel BezelMarch, 2009Park
20080022718JEWELRY ARTICLEJanuary, 2008Pratt
20080282732Jewelry Method and ApparatusNovember, 2008Kwon
20030192345Jewelry with movable carriageOctober, 2003Brassem et al.
20050072188Necklace with interchangeable objects for entertaining and pacifying infants and young childrenApril, 2005Kirsh
20080173044BODY MODIFICATION DEVICESJuly, 2008Crockett
20020139140Scented novelty productOctober, 2002Schaab
20090301134Charm clasp for pearl necklaces and braceletsDecember, 2009Kim-araneo



Primary Examiner:
TROY, ABIGAIL E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Russ Weinzimmer (Milford, NH, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An iris shutter case for housing and displaying decorative objects, the iris shutter case comprising: a container capable of housing a decorative object within its interior; an iris shutter assembly cooperative with the container, the iris shutter assembly being openable so as to display a decorative object housed within the interior of the container, and closable so as to conceal the decorative object; and a drive mechanism capable of opening and closing the iris shutter assembly.

2. The iris shutter case of claim 1, wherein the iris shutter case is able to display a piece of jewelry.

3. The iris shutter case of claim 1, wherein the container further comprises an attachment structure connected to the interior of the container, the attachment structure being capable of firmly fixing a decorative object within the interior of the container.

4. The iris shutter case of claim 3, wherein the attachment structure is a gemstone prong setting.

5. The iris shutter case of claim 1, further comprising a front cover that includes an opening through which a decorative object located within the container can be observed when the iris shutter is open.

6. The iris shutter case of claim 5, wherein the front cover resembles one of a disc and a partial sphere.

7. The iris shutter case of claim 1, further comprising a back cover that covers an end of the container that is furthest from the iris.

8. The iris shutter case of claim 7, wherein the back cover resembles one of a disc and a partial sphere.

9. The iris shutter case of claim 1, wherein the iris shutter assembly is a leaf and pin shutter assembly.

10. The iris shutter case of claim 9, wherein the leaf and pin shutter assembly is configured so as to minimize the degree of leaf overlap at the center of the leaf and pin shutter assembly, thereby minimizing the thickness of the iris shutter assembly when it is closed.

11. The iris shutter case of claim 1, wherein the drive mechanism is manually operable.

12. The iris shutter case of claim 11, wherein the drive mechanism is a manually operable drive ring that communicates with a master ring to open and close the iris shutter assembly when the manually operable drive ring is manually rotated.

13. The iris shutter case of claim 12, wherein the manually operable drive ring includes lug handles that extend outward from the circumference of the ring so as to be easy to manipulate.

14. The iris shutter case of claim 1, further comprising a chain attachment mechanism suitable for attachment of the iris shutter case to one of a cord and a chain so as to suspend the iris shutter case from the neck of a user.

15. The iris shutter case of claim 1, further comprising a band attachment mechanism suitable for attachment of the iris shutter case to a band surrounding a limb of a user.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to apparatus for display of decorative objects, and more particularly to containers for holding and displaying decorative objects.

BACKGROUND

Ornamental items, such as pieces of jewelry, are commonly used to enhance the appearance of people and/or things. Such ornamental items often include one or more decorative objects, such as gemstones, engravings, and other striking and/or aesthetically pleasing features. Decorative objects are also sometimes displayed singly as separate ornamental items.

Traditionally, such decorative objects are meant to have a pleasing appearance by themselves, and/or to add to the overall pleasing appearance of an ornamental item to which they are attached. Therefore, it is generally desirable for such decorative objects to be displayed in a manner that is highly visible and conspicuous.

However, if a decorative object is constantly visible, the impact of the decorative object upon those accustomed to seeing it may diminish over time. Also, when a decorative object is constantly displayed without a covering or container, there is a risk that the object might become dirty, damaged, or lost.

In an attempt to avoid these problems, certain devices and methods for presenting and displaying decorative objects have been proposed in the art. Some approaches attempt to maintain decorative impact by providing for variable display of portions of a decorative object. However, these approaches do not avoid risks that decorative objects may become dirty, damaged, or lost. Other proposed approaches enable a user to fully conceal and then fully reveal a decorative object at will, thereby giving the impression of a hidden feature contained within an ornamental item. However, these approaches tend to employ conventional encasing means, such as a case with a hinged lid, which can be difficult to unclasp and open and which, when opened, can distract or even detract from the appearance of the ornamental item. A locket, for example, can be opened to reveal a gemstone or other decorative item contained therein. However, the lid can be difficult to unclasp and open, and once opened the lid changes the apparent shape and size of the locket and can tend to distract from the gemstone and/or direct attention away from the gemstone. And if a locket is incorporated into a larger ornamental item, such as a bracelet, the open lid can obscure other surrounding decorative features of the ornamental item.

SUMMARY

An iris shutter case is claimed for securely housing, protecting, and displaying a decorative object. The iris shutter case includes a container within which a decorative object such as a photograph or a gemstone can be securely fitted, and an openable and closable iris shutter assembly that reveals the decorative object for display when it is open and conceals and protects the decorative object when it is closed.

The simple but elegant design of the iris shutter case houses, protects, and provides a means of display for any decorative object or objects placed within it. Furthermore, the iris shutter is easy to operate, does not require unclasping so as to be opened, and allows the decorative contents of the case to be partially or fully revealed without any visual change in the size or shape of the case, and without any visual distraction or covering of surrounding items. In various embodiments, the iris shutter case is a locket, an ornamental pin, or a part of a bracelet.

In preferred embodiments, the iris shutter case includes a leaf and pin shutter assembly which is manually operated by a drive mechanism. In some embodiments the drive mechanism is a drive ring with lug handles, the drive ring being manually rotated so as to reveal and/or conceal a decorative object or objects contained inside the iris shutter case.

The invention is an iris shutter case for housing and displaying decorative objects, the iris shutter case including a container capable of securely housing a decorative object within its interior, an iris shutter assembly cooperative with the container, the iris shutter assembly being openable so as to display a decorative object housed within the interior of the container, and being closable so as to conceal the decorative object, and a drive mechanism capable of opening and closing the iris shutter assembly.

In preferred embodiments, the iris shutter case is able to display a piece of jewelry. In certain of these preferred embodiments, the container further includes an attachment structure connected to the interior of the container, such as a prong setting for gemstones, which is capable of allowing a decorative object to be firmly fixed to the attachment structure and thereby firmly fixed to the interior of the container.

In some preferred embodiments, the invention includes a front cover with an opening through which the decorative object can be observed when the iris shutter is open. In these and/or other preferred embodiments, the invention includes a back cover that covers the end of the container that is furthest from the iris. The front cover and/or back cover can take a variety of shapes, though in preferred embodiments at least one cover resembles a disc or a partial sphere.

In various preferred embodiments, the iris shutter assembly is a leaf and pin shutter assembly. In some of these preferred embodiments, the leaf and pin shutter assembly is configured so as to minimize the degree of leaf overlap at the center of the leaf and pin shutter assembly, thereby minimizing the thickness of the iris shutter assembly when it is closed.

In certain preferred embodiments of the invention, the drive mechanism is manually operable, and preferably includes a manually operable drive ring that communicates with a master ring so as to open and close the iris shutter assembly when the manually operable drive ring is manually rotated. In certain of these preferred embodiments, this manually operable drive ring includes lug handles that extend outwardly from the circumference of the master ring so as to be easily graspable.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1A is an oblique side view of a preferred embodiment of the invention which includes a disc-like container and four lug handles, with the iris shutter in a closed configuration;

FIG. 1B is an oblique side view of the preferred embodiment shown in FIG. 1A, with the iris shutter assembly in an open configuration so as to reveal a gemstone fixed inside of the container;

FIG. 2 is an exploded oblique side view of the preferred embodiment of FIG. 1A and FIG. 1B, showing a back cover with an attachment setting for a gemstone, a master ring plate and a drive ring, a single leaf and pin assembly representative of an entire leaf and pin shutter assembly, a shutter cover, and a front cover;

FIG. 3A is an oblique side view of the drive ring and the master ring of FIG. 2 with the drive ring rotated relative to the master ring such that the illustrated single leaf and pin assembly is in a closed position, the illustrated leaf and pin assembly being representative of the entire leaf and pin shutter assembly;

FIG. 3B is an oblique side view of the preferred embodiment shown in FIG. 3A, with the drive ring being rotated relative to the master ring such that the illustrated leaf and pin assembly is in an open position, the illustrated leaf and pin assembly being representative of the entire leaf and pin shutter assembly;

FIG. 4A is an oblique side view of a preferred embodiment of the invention which includes a spheroid-like container, three lug handles, and leaves cut short at their ends, with the iris shutter assembly shown in a closed configuration;

FIG. 4B is an oblique side view of the preferred embodiment of FIG. 4A, with the iris shutter in a partially open configuration.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

With reference to FIG. 1A and FIG. 1B, the iris shutter case 100 includes a container 102 capable of securely housing a decorative object 104 within its interior, an iris shutter assembly 106 cooperative with the container 102, and a drive mechanism capable of opening and closing the iris shutter assembly 106. The iris shutter assembly 106 is capable of being opened so as to display a decorative object 104 housed within the interior of the container, and closed so as to conceal the decorative object.

In the preferred embodiment of FIG. 1A, the container 102 is disc-like and the drive mechanism includes four lug handles 108 which protrude from openings in the container 102. The iris shutter assembly 106 is shown in the figure in a closed configuration. The container 102 further includes a disc-shaped front cover 110 and a disc-shaped back cover 112, which are fastened together via a fastening mechanism, such as interlocking adjacent edges. The front cover of the container 110 also includes a window 114.

In FIG. 1A the iris shutter assembly 106 is positioned behind a window 114 included in the front cover 110. The iris shutter assembly 106 is shown in the figure as a leaf and pin shutter assembly 106 oriented parallel to the front cover 110, which conceals the contents of the container from outside view when the leaf and pin shutter assembly 106 is in the closed configuration as shown in FIG. 1A. In the embodiment of FIG. 1A, the drive mechanism that controls the iris shutter assembly 106 is a manually operable drive ring located inside the container, the drive ring having four lug handles 108 that protrude through openings in the container 102 so as to be easily manipulated by a user of the invention.

FIG. 1B is an oblique side view of the preferred embodiment shown in FIG. 1A, with the iris shutter assembly 106 in an open configuration so as to reveal a gemstone 104 located within the container 102. In FIG. 1B, the drive ring has been rotated clockwise from its position in FIG. 1A, and the leaves of the leaf and pin shutter assembly 106 have been retracted so as to be oriented along the circumference of the window 114. With the iris shutter assembly 106 fully opened, the gemstone 102 positioned inside the container 102 is visible through the window 110 from outside the container 102.

FIG. 2 is an exploded oblique side view of the preferred embodiment shown in FIG. 1A and FIG. 1B. The back cover 112 is shown with an attachment setting 200 connected to the interior of the back cover 112. In the embodiment of FIG. 2, the attachment setting 200 is a prong setting 200 that securely holds a decorative object such as a gemstone 104. In similar embodiments, the attachment setting is a mechanism for attaching other types of decorative items, such as a photograph. The back cover 112 also has protrusions 202 along the edge farthest from the backside of the cover that interact with 202 protrusions on a front cover 110 so as to join the two covers together and thereby form a container 102.

A master ring plate 204 including a master ring 205 is fitted inside the back cover 112 and provides pinholes for a leaf and pin shutter assembly 106. A drive ring 206 is situated concentrically outside of the master ring 205, and can be rotated relative to the master ring 205 so as to expand or contract the leaf and pin shutter assembly 106 and thereby open and close the iris shutter assembly 106. So as to more clearly illustrate the operation of the leaf and pin shutter assembly 106, only a single leaf 208 from the leaf and pin shutter assembly 106 is shown in the exploded diagram. The leaf 208 includes two pins 209 for fastening the leaf to both the master ring 205 and the drive ring 206.

The drive ring 206 shown in FIG. 2 includes four lug handles 108 extending outward from the circumference of the drive ring 206. The lug handles 108 protrude outside of the container 102 and can be used to rotate the drive ring 206. When the drive ring 206 is rotated clockwise relative to the master ring 205, each leaf 208 from the leaf and pin shutter assembly 106 is rotated so as to recede away from the space of the window 114, thereby opening the leaf and pin shutter assembly 106 and revealing the decorative object 104 previously concealed behind the closed leaf and pin shutter assembly 106.

In the embodiment of FIG. 2, a shutter cover 210 is located between the leaf and pin shutter assembly 106 and the front cover 110. The shutter cover ensures that each leaf 208 from the leaf and pin shutter assembly 106 remains oriented in a single plane, all the leaves 208 remaining flat against the drive ring 206, and that the pins 209 are kept within the holes of the drive ring 206 and the master ring 208. The front cover 110 is fixed in front of the other pieces described by protrusions 202 that couple with similar protrusions 202 on the back cover 112, thereby fixing the front cover 110 to the back cover 112 and forming the container 102 that houses the attachment setting 200 and gemstone 104, the leaf and pin shutter assembly 106, the shutter cover 210, the drive ring 206, and the master ring 208.

FIG. 3A is an oblique side view of the drive ring 206 and the master ring 205 of the embodiment shown in FIG. 2, configured relative to each other such that an attached leaf and pin assembly 106 is held in a closed position. Once again, so as to more clearly illustrate the interaction between the drive and master rings 206, 204 and the pin and leaf shutter assembly 106, only one leaf 208 from the pin shutter assembly 106 is included in the figure. In the actual embodiment illustrated by FIG. 3A, a plurality of leaves 208 is included, all of which are positioned by the drive and master rings 206, 204 in a manner similar to the leaf 208 shown in FIG. 3A, with the result that the plurality of leaves 208 close together to form a complete leaf and pin shutter assembly 106 that is able to conceal from view the decorative object 104 housed within the iris shutter case.

FIG. 3B is an oblique side view of the preferred embodiment shown in FIG. 3A, with the drive ring 206 and master ring 205 configured relative to each other such that the leaf and pin shutter assembly 106 is in an open position. The drive ring 206 has been rotated clockwise from the position shown in FIG. 3A, as a result of the lug handles 108 being rotated around the center of the drive ring 206. As in FIG. 3A, a single leaf 208 is shown in the figure with a pin attaching the leaf 208 to the drive ring 206 and another pin attaching the leaf to the master ring 205, such that the leaf 208 is oriented along the circumference of the drive ring 206. For purposes of clarity, only a single leaf 208 from the leaf and pin shutter assembly 106 is shown in FIG. 3B. In the actual embodiment of FIG. 3A and FIG. 3B, a plurality of leaves is included which form a complete leaf and pin shutter assembly. When each leaf of the leaf and pin shutter assembly 106 is oriented in the manner illustrated by the leaf 208 shown in the figure, the leaf and pin shutter assembly 106 is open, thereby revealing the decorative object 104 housed within the iris shutter case 100.

FIG. 4A is an oblique side view of a preferred embodiment of the iris shutter case 400 which includes a spheroid-like container 402, three lug handles 404, and an iris shutter assembly 406 with leaves cut short at their ends. The iris shutter assembly 406 is illustrated in FIG. 4A in its closed position. The container includes partial-sphere-shaped front and back covers 408, 410 fastened together by a fastening mechanism, such as interlocking adjacent edges. The front cover also includes a window 412.

An iris shutter assembly 406 is located behind the window 412 of the front cover, the iris shutter assembly 406 of the iris shutter being oriented along the curve of the front cover 408. The iris shutter assembly 406 is shown here as a leaf and pin shutter assembly, which conceals the contents of the container 402 from outside view when the leaf and pin shutter assembly 406 is in the closed position. In FIG. 4A, the free ends of the leaves have been cut short, so as to minimize the overlap of the leaves when the leaf and pin shutter assembly 406 is in the closed position. A drive mechanism inside the container controls the iris shutter assembly 406, which in the embodiment of FIG. 4A is a manually operable drive ring with three lug handles 414 protruding through openings in the container 402, so as to be easily manipulated by a user of the invention.

FIG. 4B is an oblique side view of the preferred embodiment shown in FIG. 4A, with the leaf and pin shutter assembly 406 illustrated in a partially open configuration. In this figure, the drive ring has been rotated clockwise from its position in FIG. 4A, and the leaves from the leaf and pin shutter assembly 406 have been thereby partially retracted so as to be oriented partly towards the circumference of the window 412. With the iris shutter partially opened, the flat edges of the shorter leaves of the leaf and pin shutter assembly 406 are visible in the figure.

In the embodiment of FIG. 4A, a loop 413 is provided to allow the iris shutter case to be hung from a chain as a locket. In similar preferred embodiments the iris jewelry case includes a fastening mechanism such as a pin and is worn on clothing as a fashion accessory. In other embodiments, the iris jewelry case is attached to a bracelet, or a plurality of iris jewelry cases are connected so as to form a bracelet or necklace. Some preferred embodiments include a transparent cover located in front of the iris 406 that protects the iris and the contents of the case from becoming dirty, damaged, or lost even when the iris is open.

Other modifications and implementations will occur to those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and the scope of the invention as claimed. Accordingly, the above description is not intended to limit the invention except as indicated in the following claims.