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The study found there was growing consumer interest in wearable technology
The study found there was growing consumer interest in wearable technology

Consumer interest grows for smartwatches, smart jewellery

As more smartwatches and “smart” jewellery items enter the market, a new study has provided insight into the likelihood of wearable technology becoming a viable category within the industry.
The Jewelry Consumer Opinion Council’s (JCOC’s) latest report, Is Wearable Technology The Next Big Jewelry Category?, found that 72 per cent of respondents were aware of wearable technology, and 30 per cent of those surveyed said they were already “looking” at smartwatches.

Additionally, 53 per cent indicated interest in an earring that would work with their smartphone as a listening device and microphone.

Background reading: Google watch a game changer?

The report summarises the finds of a study conducted in January and February this year. It involved 520 respondents in the United States, 82 per cent of which were female.

Security seemed to be a major area of interest with 44 per cent of respondents indicating they were likely to purchase jewellery with secure technologies, such as those that allowed the wearer to unlock doors, cars, personal computers and mobile phones. 

Wearable technology market expands  
While smartwatches have largely dominated the wearable technology sector, some companies appear to have seen an opportunity in “smart” jewellery. 

One recent offering is a jewellery line that incorporates a small hidden waterproof bluetooth device – known as a CuffLinc. Developed by start-up company Cuff, the items have a strong focus on security, allowing the wearer to send their location and other important information to a nominated “protective circle” of family and friends in case of an emergency. The range includes necklaces and bracelets made of leather and metal.

A sneak preview of Cuff
A sneak preview of Cuff's haute style jewellery that is in the production pipeline
Another item that is blurring the line between what is and isn’t considered “jewellery” is a bluetooth-enabled ring called Fin. 

Designed to be worn on a thumb, the piece allows the wearer to control a variety of smart devices. It reportedly recognises different segments of the fingers and can convert a palm into a numeric keypad. 

As previously reported by Jeweller, a number of wearable technologies orientated towards the jewellery sector were also launched earlier this year at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. 

Items on display included: a pendant necklace from British electronics business CSR that not only connects to a smartphone but allows the wearer to customise the colour and brightness emitted from the piece to suit their mood or co-ordinate with a particular outfit; and a bracelet that incorporates a UV sensor to track sun intensity and daily sun exposure, informing its wearer what type of sunscreen to apply and when.

Continued popularity for smartwatches
Although “smart” jewellery options are starting to expand, the smartwatch category continues to become increasingly competitive. 

Amidst reports that Google will soon be releasing its own version of a smartwatch and the continued whispers surrounding Apple’s iWatch, Samsung has announced the release of two new versions of its Galaxy Gear timepiece. The news comes only months after the technology giant released its first smartwatch in September 2013. 

The Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo devices, which will be available worldwide from April this year, offer new strap colour options, a customisable home screen background, clock face and fonts as well as a variety of fitness-related features. 


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