Smart jewellery as a trend has been bubbling under for the past three years or so and now we've reached the stage where, no matter which piece of jewellery you'd like to see smartened up, there's a couple of different options.
Startups like Ringly and Bellabeat, alongside big names such as Swarovski, Michael Kors and Kate Spade, have been quick to realise the potential of these form factors, and have created some beautiful designer jewellery that does more than just look good. With added smarts including fitness tracking, notifications and stress management, the next generation of earrings, necklaces, bracelets and rings is set to be connected.
Here are some of our favourites - most are on sale now and some of the latest launches are on pre-order with shipping later in 2017.
1. Ringly Aries
Ringly comes as an 18k gold plated ring set with a choice of emerald, pink sapphire, black onyx, moonstone or the limited edition tourmalated quartz. It comes in five different sizes and connects to both iOS or Android phones.
Then there's the range of smart bracelets, which come in two sizes and are gold-plated with a range of gemstones to choose from - howlite, purple jade, white moonstone and amazonite. The latest line in the collection is the more affordable Ringly GO series with gold plated or stainless steel finishes and leather bands.
So how does Ringly work? Four vibration patterns and five colours can be mapped to meeting alerts, calls, texts, Ubers arriving and Facebook and Twitter notifications. The idea is that you can get on with what you're doing and know at a glance if you need to pick up your phone. Plus meditation exercises will now be available through the companion app and a future version will feature NFC payments thanks to a partnership with MasterCard.
Read this: Our in-depth Ringly review
2. Michael Kors Access Thompson
We checked in with all the Michael Kors Access wearables recently and it turns out the designer has some rather fetching smart jewellery designs on sale now.
One such as the Access Thompson (above right), which alongside the Access Varick pieces (above left) adds more than a dash of glamour to a circular mother of pearl fitness tracking module. As well as activity you can track sleep and get smartphone alerts as buzzes on your jewellery clad wrist. The stainless steel Thompson bracelet is available in rose gold tone and silver tone and has pavé accents around the module and on the bracelet itself.
This unisex smart ring, Motiv, promises fitness tracking from the finger. It looks to be very smartly built - titanium, just 8mm wide, two finishes of rose gold and slate grey plus seven sizes to cater to men's and women's hands.
As for features, the real impressive thing here is that Motiv has managed to get an optical heart rate sensor into this form factor. There's also a 3-axis accelerometer for steps, distance, calories as well as sleep. Battery life is five days, the ring is waterproof up to 50m and it's worth noting this is iOS only. Look out for a Motiv review soon - you can pre-order now.
4. Kate Spade Bangle Tracker
Kate Spade's line of designer, activity tracking 'n' alerts wearables includes this Bangle Tracker. It's available in three styles, all of which feature mother of pearl, scallop detailing and a 'Seize the day' inscription. If you want something a bit preppier, there's also the Scallop Tracker which features spotty, stripy glittery and cat ears styles and a
Metro Grand hybrid watch which we have actually tested. Look out for reviews of the full collection soon.
If you're the kind of person who's got a note app on their phone filled with ramblings, gibberish and a list of stuff you'll never get round to watching on Netflix, then Senstone is the smart jewelry for you.
Senstone records voice memos and translates them into text then organises them for you in an app. It can be worn as a bracelet or necklace, and is designed to blend in about your person. The LED indicates it's recording, but other than that there are no giveaway signs that there's any technology in this at all.
We don't usually recommend Kickstarter projects, but US editor Hugh Langley tried Senstone, and it's the real deal.
6. Michael Kors Access Reade
Like Kate Spade, Michael Kors is a Fossil Group brand, so it's no surprise that we've seen this fitness tracking cuff from the designer alongside its Michael Kors Access smartwatch series. It houses the mother of pearl tracker and comes in black/gold and white/silver styles. The band is available embossed with a crocodile skin-style design or with a stitched style.
7. Fitbit Alta x Public School Axis
Fitbit's latest fashion collaboration is with New York label Public School - now, the results have divided the office and may only look good if you're a model with a minimal wardrobe. But the collection for the Fitbit Alta is definitely a different take on fitness tracker accessories with a masculine, give-no-fucks, modern look. It includes this unusual take - the Axis is a hand polished, stainless steel watch frame for Fitbit's stylish tracker. There's also some safe braided bands.
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8. Bellabeat LEAF Urban
The Bellabeat LEAF Urban features a bunch of lifestyle tracking options from a slick looking device (seen clipped onto the model's vest, above). Stress levels are monitored by the Urban, by recording the wearer's breathing patterns, and now the companion app will tell you how rested/prepared you are to deal with stress that day.
The device - like the LEAF before it - can also help women track their menstrual cycles and advise them during periods of ovulation. Step and sleep monitoring is part of the comprehensive feature package and this leaf-shaped wearable is smaller and a bit funkier than its predecessor too.
Read this: Our in-depth Bellabeat Leaf Urban review
9. Misfit Swarovski Shine
The sparkly Shine is an official partnership, with the design work done by Swarovski's in house team in France, rather than the crystals being bought in bulk and stuck on.
The Swarovski Shine features all the same tracking technology as its forefather the Misfit Shine and cheaper cousin, the Misfit Flash. That means step and activity tracking, as well as sleep monitoring, with results delivered via the Misfit smartphone app. More solar powered Swarovski Shines are in development.
10. Tory Burch x Fitbit Flex 2
Fitbit has legions of fans already and these Tory Burch cases in jewellery form are a great treat for Flex and now Flex 2 owners. The American designer has brought her signature style to these open, gold-plated pieces - necklaces and bracelets make up the range. They're certainly elegant, even if you can see the Fitbit peeping through, with metal hinged and fret bracelet styles still on sale.
Tory Burch accessories for the Fitbit Alta are due to land later in 2017, so if you've picked up Fitbit's latest fashion friendly tracker, these could be a nice upgrade.
11. Oura Ring
A smart ring with a difference, Oura is all about tracking and analysing your sleep. While not exactly dainty, it's fairly inconspicuous with three colours and sizes 6 - 13 to choose from. Plus instead of just spitting data about light and REM sleep at you, the app instead gives you a readiness score each day, based on your previous night's sleep. It works by measuring heart rate, heart rate variability and pulse amplitude through the night.
Initially a Kickstarter project, the smart ring shipped to backers and can now be ordered direct from the site. Expensive but intriguing, we'll be testing one soon.
From €329, ouraring.com
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