Innovative jewelry designers constantly look for interesting materials from which they can make jewelry. During a personal hiatus from the craft, I took to soldering small circuit boards. I discovered then that electronic components could stand in for traditional gems, and small circuit boards could stand as featured elements in jewelry designs. It was a eureka moment!
Capacitors, resistors, diodes, regulators, LEDs, transistors, and circuit boards constitute the collection of components that lend themselves to a high-tech look in jewelry. It has been known around university electronics labs that students, especially the ladies, would depart from their hands-on digital drudgery to design something creative to wear. Thus was born what was soon to be called “geek jewelry.”
Populated circuit boards that failed in function could function as a pendant when attached to earwires or a neck chain with a bale. Such simplistic designs announced the designer as a geek getting away from graduate studies for a while. The pejorative term must have inspired more inspired designs.
Those designers — soon to be electrical engineers — put some creativity into their designs by clustering or arraying the components in more intricate arrangements. This served to utilize the steely modern look of the electronic components without adding a geeky component to the lab-born jewelry designs.
It was when jewelry designers by trade noticed the high tech appeal of electronic components that they began to incorporate them into their jewelry couture. Recognizing the inherent appeal of such designs to current-day-conscious and technically oriented clientele, famous names such as Italian designer Paola Mirai, fashioned recycled electronic components as features in their creations. Techno fashion became the new nomenclature for high-tech jewelry.
In jewelry as in architecture, form follows function. Designers are shaking off old notions of gemstones for focus in jewelry and taking on technical forms to function as up-to-the-minute attractors in current designs.
Be sure to see photo examples of techno fashion jewelry. Click on numbers 1 through 5 above the illustration, top right on this page.