Jewelry takes new form through circuit board designs


A piece of jewelry integrated with a circuit board.

Historically, jewelry was made by twisting and carving metals and rocks into elaborate shapes and designs. But much more recently, a new material has been popularized for jewelry creation: computer circuit boards.

A quick search online for circuit board jewelry yields numerous results, from communities of hobbyists, to independent shop fronts recycling their old personal gear into works of art. This style of recycled jewelry takes after some of the other forms of reusing what may be considered waste to create something new and appealing.

This type of jewelry is often associated with alternative, steampunk, and techwear fashion styles, but has seen more widespread adoption due to the abundance of these resources. Almost everyone has an old piece of technology.

Cutouts of circuit boards can be used to create pendants, earrings, and many other shapes and forms. Individual electronic components can also be strung together on wire, to create more intricate patterns similar to normal wire jewelry.

Depending on the electronic device that it was taken from, circuit boards can come in many different shapes, and sizes, and can come in many different patterns, and with varying components. One of the beautiful things about this type of jewelry is that each piece is unique, and carries a different story from other pieces even cut from the same board.

One of the easiest ways to create a piece of jewelry from a circuit board is simply to drill a hole in it. This however, leaves the board exposed to the environment, and can wear over time. Most commonly, this piece of circuit board is coated with a clear resin to protect it.

While most are interested in the design of the circuit board itself, some more tech-savvy individuals have gone a step further and created working electronic devices inside of their jewelry. From simple light-up earrings to putting a full on mini computer and screen inside of a necklace or pin, the possibilities are endless.

With the ability for wireless communication also comes the ability to have jewelry controlled by your phone. This may be useful for updating a picture on a display, or showing a different colored light without having to touch the jewelry at all. These pieces of jewelry may also be more integrated into the human body; displaying lights based off of things such as heart rate, humidity levels, or temperature.

Electronic jewelry offers not only applications for fashion, but also has uses in more practical fields. For example, a bracelet that could use sensors to gather information about your health, or a ring or that could contain a chip with lifesaving medical information in case of emergencies.

This is still only the beginning, however, and as technology continues to grow smaller and smaller, it will have more applications, and will be more widely available to your average person. And for those who are interested in making jewelry, or have prior experience, try your hand at incorporating electronics into your work — you may surprise yourself!