NEW YORK — When the daughter of a friend was diagnosed with epilepsy and upset about wearing what she considered an unattractive medical identification bracelet, Julie van Hees-Aidner came up with an idea.
Van Hees-Aidner, a former publicist for jewelers Chopard, De Grisogono, Roberto Coin and Ritmo Mundo, who is afflicted with lupus, decided it was time to offer medical identification bracelets that marry function and fashion.
Van Hees-Aidner joined with James Martin, who worked with jeweler Martin Katz and is now a proprietor of an eponymous jewelry firm here, to create an eight-piece collection of bracelets named Jewels et Jim.
The bracelets feature medallions with the caduceus medical symbol on top and engraveable backs that can alert doctors and paramedics to any life-threatening issues. Their similarity to typical medical identification bracelets ends there, however. The medallions are designed in gold or silver and inlaid with mother-of-pearl, malachite, jasper, diamonds and other semiprecious or precious materials. The medallions come on a variety of interchangeable leather straps.
Jewels et Jim plans to introduce fabric straps and chain-link bracelets, as well as children’s styles. Wholesale prices for the line range from $175 to $2,500, although prices can go higher for custom orders. The collection bows at Gearys’ two watch and jewelry stores in Beverly Hills in October.
“We decided that if were going to make medical ID jewelry, it was going to have to be very beautiful,” said Martin. “We think it is an elegant, special piece of jewelry, not just a service or fashion item.”