LIGHT IT UP: Vela’s looking to light up the fine-jewelry market with a little bit of a tech spin. But instead of tracking steps or notifying the wearer of a new e-mail, the tech component in the new line of necklaces is purely for aesthetics. Each piece contains a light that can be controlled by a button on the back of the pendant.
Prices range from $265 for bohemian-inspired pendants with turquoise stones all the way to $3,685 for a 24-mm Swiss blue topaz surrounded by a corresponding pavé border. It’s subtle and Vela’s director of fashion, William Murphy, said the pieces were designed to solve an image problem — Murphy’s pals kept asking him why the jewelry they bought as gifts looked so sharp in-store, but not as good when their significant other opened it.
His answer was simple: Retailers have professional lighting to highlight a piece’s best assets. Murphy and Vela designer Lucia Perluck set out replicate the experience of buying jewelry. The lights on each piece sold on velajewelry.com shine through a mother-of-pearl or rose quartz center stone. It’s not clear just how common a problem the lack of after-purchase illumination really is. But it is clear that Murphy understands his demographic. “She’s investing in a conversation piece,” he said. “[It’s for] someone attracted to pink diamonds versus a regular diamond.”