Rapaport Magazine

Engaging Millennials

An interactive engagement ring might be just what it takes to make diamonds more desirable to a new generation of jewelry consumers.

By Amber Michelle

Momento™ Diamond engagement ring.
It’s all about technology these days as consumers compete to have the newest, coolest phones, tablets and computers. But an electronic device just doesn’t say love like a diamond, or any other piece of jewelry. Chi Huynh, owner and creative director of Galatea: Jewelry by Artist, saw the future when he created the Momento™ Diamond engagement ring, a blend of technology and traditional jewelry that will melt the heart of any romantic soul.
   “Imagine that you have a diamond engagement ring and the proposal is on the ring. And you can record the moment when you make the proposal,” says Huynh. “Then you can record your wedding vows and reception and your baby’s first words, his graduation and wedding and your grandchildren’s first words. You can listen to it over and over or look at the pictures anytime. Eventually, you can give your child the ring and pass a lifetime of stored memories on to your family.”

   You no longer have to imagine the diamond engagement ring that Huynh is describing. He has made that very piece a reality in the Momento Diamond Collection. While working on an app that had to do with wireless technology, Huynh came across Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. He realized that if he could make the NFC chip small enough, he could put it in jewelry and make the piece interactive. Twelve months later, the Momento Pearl™ Collection was born, followed by Momento Gem and Momento Diamond. Huynh has two patents pending for Momento, the first of which focuses on an app, which must be used in order for the jewelry to interact with an electronic device. The second is for a discovery he made that allows NFC to work in metal.
   The NFC chips are inserted directly into the pearl or compressed within laboratory-grown opal disks over which a gemstone is set. In the case of Momento Diamond, it is sandwiched between two very thin slices of mother-of-pearl that are topped with a layer of sapphire.
   To use Momento technology, the specially developed Galatea app must be downloaded onto an Android platform device. All of the information on the NFC chip is stored in the cloud and when the jewelry is touched to an Android device, it will play the recorded message or show the stored pictures, texts or web links. As of now the technology is available only for Android devices, but it is expected that Momento jewelry will work on Apple devices as well in the future.
   “We wanted to create beautiful, traditional jewelry that also had a hidden technological twist. We think we’ve covered all the bases,” notes Huynh.

   The first items in the Momento Collection were rings, pendants and earrings in hand-carved white or peach freshwater pearls as well as black Tahitian pearls with the NFC technology. That was expanded to a collection of colored gemstone pendants and rings. The Momento Diamond engagement rings debuted at the JCK show in Las Vegas in May 2015 and will be available for retail sale in September. The collection is expected to launch with 12 styles.
   The Momento Diamond engagement rings will be sold as semimounts and retailers will sell the diamond separately. According to Huynh, the diamonds should be set in the mounting using the same care as when setting an opal. Galatea will also provide marketing support for retailers.
   “We have received a great deal of publicity on our Momento Pearl launch and expect even more in the consumer press for Momento Diamond — the world’s first and only interactive engagement rings,” says Barbara Moss, director of marketing, Galatea: Jewelry by Artist. “We are not planning to advertise on a national level to consumers at this time. However, ad slicks are available and our traditional co-op plan is in place for a merchandise credit of 2 percent if a jeweler advertises and we approve the ad.”
   The Momento Collections not only tell the story of the life of the person wearing it, but the collection provides the retailer with an interesting story to tell the consumer when she comes into the store. It is expected that the classic design of the pearl and gemstone Momento Collections will hold enough appeal for any age group. Mothers will always want keepsakes of their children and what grandmother wouldn’t want to wear a piece of jewelry that chronicles the life of her grandchildren? The Momento Diamond engagement rings are most likely to have special appeal to customers in their twenties and thirties, as that tech-savvy age group has grown up with computers and other similar devices. They like to record every moment of their lives and share it with others and the Momento Diamond is the perfect way to do just that.

Article from the Rapaport Magazine - August 2015. To subscribe click here.

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