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Title:
METHOD OF IDENTIFYING AND TRACING A GEM
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/099020
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A method of identifying and tracing a gem of a piece of jewelry is provided. The method may include identifying at least one property of the gem. The method may further include forming a body of the piece of jewelry. The method may also include marking an exposed surface of the body with the at least one property of the gem. The method may further include coupling the body to the gem.

Inventors:
MELAS YIANNI (US)
Application Number:
PCT/US2017/062208
Publication Date:
May 23, 2019
Filing Date:
November 17, 2017
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
MELAS YIANNI (US)
International Classes:
B41M5/26; A44C27/00; B44C1/00; B44C1/22
Foreign References:
US5379102A1995-01-03
US20090081425A12009-03-26
KR20130034828A2013-04-08
JP2017166005A2017-09-21
JP2016118537A2016-06-30
JP2000190697A2000-07-11
US6308891B12001-10-30
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
NOLTE, N. Alexander et al. (US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

What is claimed is:

1 . A method of identifying and tracing a gem of a piece of jewelry, comprising:

identifying at least one property of the gem;

forming a body of the piece of jewelry;

marking an exposed surface of the body with the at least one property of the gem; and

coupling the body to the gem.

2. The method of claim 1 , wherein forming the body comprises:

forming the body from a material; and

laminating the body with a first metal.

3. The method of claim 2, wherein laminating the body with the first metal comprises electroplating the material with the first metal.

4. The method of claim 2, wherein the material is a second metal and laminating the body with the first metal comprises overlaying the body with the first metal.

5. The method of claim 2, wherein marking the surface of the body comprises selectively removing a portion of the first metal from the body to expose a portion of the material.

6. The method of claim 5, wherein selectively removing the portion of the first metal from the body to expose the portion of the material comprises vaporizing the portion of the first metal with a laser.

7. The method of claim 5, wherein selectively removing the portion of the first metal from the body to expose the portion of the material comprises mechanically engraving the body to remove the portion of the first metal.

8. The method of claim 5, further comprising applying an oxidizing agent to the exposed portion of the material.

9. The method of claim 1 , wherein marking the surface of the body comprises vaporizing a portion of the surface of the body to create a recess.

10. The method of claim 9, further comprising applying a colored enamel to the recess in the surface of the body.

1 1. The method of claim 9, further comprising inlaying a metal into the recess in the surface of the body.

12. The method of claim 1 , wherein marking the surface of the body comprises mechanically engraving a recess in the surface of the body.

13. The method of claim 12, further comprising applying an enamel to the recess in the surface of the body.

14. The method of claim 12, further comprising inlaying a metal into the recess in the surface of the body.

15. The method of claim 1 , wherein the at least one property of the gem is at least one of a laboratory certificate number, a location where the gem was found, a date that the gem was found, a grade of the gem, a carat weight of the gem, a cut at the source designation, and a color code of the gem.

16. The method of claim 1 , wherein the mark protrudes from the exposed surface of the body.

17. A piece of jewelry comprising:

a gem; and a body coupled to the gem, the body having an exposed surface that is marked with at least one property of the gem.

1 8. The piece of jewelry of claim 1 7, wherein:

the body comprises a material that is electroplated with a metal.

1 9. The piece of jewelry of claim 1 7, wherein:

the body comprises a first metal that is overlaid with a second metal; and the second metal is more resistant to oxidation than the first metal.

20. The piece of jewelry of claim 17, wherein the mark protrudes from the exposed surface of the body.

21 . The piece of jewelry of claim 1 7, wherein the at least one property of the gem is at least one of a laboratory certificate number, a location where the gem was found, a date that the gem was found, a grade of the gem, a carat weight of the gem, a cut at the source designation, and a color code of the gem.

22. The method of claim 3 or claim 4, wherein marking the surface of the body comprises selectively removing a portion of the first metal from the body to expose a portion of the material.

23. The method of claim 22, wherein selectively removing the portion of the first metal from the body to expose the portion of the material comprises vaporizing the portion of the first metal with a laser.

24. The method of claim 22, wherein selectively removing the portion of the first metal from the body to expose the portion of the material comprises mechanically engraving the body to remove the portion of the first metal.

25. The method of claim 23 or claim 24, further comprising applying an oxidizing agent to the exposed portion of the material.

26. The method of any of claims 2-1 4, 16, and 22-25, wherein the at least one property of the gem is at least one of a laboratory certificate number, a location where the gem was found, a date that the gem was found, a grade of the gem, a carat weight of the gem, a cut at the source designation, and a color code of the gem.

27. The piece of jewelry of any of claims 18-20, wherein the at least one property of the gem is at least one of a laboratory certificate number, a location where the gem was found, a date that the gem was found, a grade of the gem, a carat weight of the gem, a cut at the source designation, and a color code of the gem.

Description:
Method of Identifying and Tracing a Gem

[0001] Precious gems are often used when making jewelry. A substantial portion of the cost of such jewelry may come from the gem or gems that are set in the jewelry. Accordingly, gems are often tested, inspected, or otherwise graded to determine their quality, carat weight, and other properties prior to the gem being used in a piece of jewelry , as these properties may have a large impact on the value of the gem. Gems from specific locations or gems that were found longer ago may also be more desirable or valuable than similar gems that originate from other locations or were found more recently. Additionally, knowing the origin location of a gem or the date the gem was found may increase the collectability of the gem. Further, gems that originate from certain areas may be subject to trade embargos or may be undesirable because of the methods used to obtain the gems.

[0002] Therefore, many gems are marked using a laser or engraved with an identification number that can be used to identify the gem and trace the origin location of the gem. However, gems are typically marked in a location where the mark will not be seen once the gem is set in a piece of jewelry. It may be necessary to remove the gem from the piece of jewelry to identify the gem or determine the gem's country of origin. Additionally, other types of gems cannot be marked without the gem losing at least a portion of its value or cannot be removed from a piece of jewelry without damaging the gem , the piece of jewelry it is set in, or both. Accordingly, it may not be desirable to identify or trace the origin location of a gem once the gem has been set in a piece of jewelry, thereby reducing the potential value or collectability of the piece of jewelry.

[0003] What is needed, therefore, is a way to identify a gem set in a piece of jewelry and trace the origin location of the gem without removing the gem from the piece of jewelry, damaging the gem, or damaging the piece of jewelry that the gem is set in.

[0004] Embodiments of the disclosure may provide a method of identifying and tracing a gem of a piece of jewelry. The method may include identifying at least one property of the gem. The method may further include forming a body of the piece of jewelry. The method may also include marking an exposed surface of the body with the at least one property of the gem. The method may further include coupling the body to the gem. [0005] Embodiments of the disclosure may also provide a piece of jewelry. The piece of jewelry may include a body and a gem. The body may be coupled to the gem and have an exposed surface that is marked with at least one property of the gem .

Brief Description of the Drawings

[0006] The present disclosure is best understood from the following detailed description when read with the accompanying Figures. It is emphasized that, in accordance with the standard practice in the industry, various features are not drawn to scale. In fact, the dimensions of the various features may be arbitrarily increased or reduced for clarity of discussion.

[0007] Figure 1 illustrates a cross-sectional view of an exemplary piece of jewelry, according to one or more embodiments disclosed.

[0008] Figure 2 illustrates a back view of an exemplary body, according to one or more embodiments disclosed.

[0009] Figure 3 illustrates a back view of an exemplary body, according to one or more embodiments disclosed.

[0010] Figure 4 illustrates a cross-sectional view of an exemplary piece of jewelry, according to one or more embodiments disclosed.

[0011] Figure 5 illustrates a back view of the body of Figure 4.

Detailed Description

[0012] It is to be understood that the following disclosure describes several exemplary embodiments for implementing different features, structures, or functions of the invention. Exemplary embodiments of components, arrangements, and configurations are described below to simplify the present disclosure; however, these exemplary embodiments are provided merely as examples and are not intended to limit the scope of the invention . Additionally, the present disclosure may repeat reference numerals and/or letters in the various exemplary embodiments and across the Figures provided herein. This repetition is for the purpose of simplicity and clarity and does not in itself dictate a relationship between the various exemplary embodiments and/or configurations discussed in the various Figures. Moreover, the formation of a first feature over or on a second feature in the description that follows may include embodiments in which the first and second features are formed in direct contact, and may also include embodiments in which additional features may be formed interposing the first and second features, such that the first and second features may not be in direct contact. Finally, the exemplary embodiments presented below may be combined in any combination of ways, i.e., any element from one exemplary embodiment may be used in any other exemplary embodiment, without departing from the scope of the disclosure.

[0013] Additionally, certain terms are used throughout the following description and claims to refer to particular components. As one skilled in the art will appreciate, various entities may refer to the same component by different names, and as such, the naming convention for the elements described herein is not intended to limit the scope of the invention, unless otherwise specifically defined herein. Further, the naming convention used herein is not intended to distinguish between components that differ in name but not function . Additionally, in the following discussion and in the claims, the terms "including" and "comprising" are used in an open-ended fashion, and thus should be interpreted to mean "including, but not limited to." All numerical values in this disclosure may be exact or approximate values unless otherwise specifically stated. Accordingly, various embodiments of the disclosure may deviate from the numbers, values, and ranges disclosed herein without departing from the intended scope. Furthermore, as it is used in the claims or specification, the term "or" is intended to encompass both exclusive and inclusive cases, i.e., "A or B" is intended to be synonymous with "at least one of A and B," unless otherwise expressly specified herein.

[0014] Unless otherwise specified, the term“gem” shall be construed as a precious or semi-precious stone, a crystal, a fossil, a meteorite fragment, a pearl, amber, petrified wood, ivory, glass, or any other material known in the art that may be used in a piece of jewelry.

[0015] Figure 1 illustrates a cross-sectional view of an exemplary piece of jewelry 1 00, according to one or more embodiments disclosed. The piece of jewelry 100 may be a pendant, as shown in Figure 1 , a ring, a necklace, a watch, earrings, or any other type of jewelry. The piece of jewelry 100 may include a body 102 and a gem 104. The gem 104 may be coupled directly to the body 1 02, as shown in the exemplary embodiment. In another embodiment, the body 102 may include a setting (not shown) that retains the gem 1 04. In other embodiments, the gem 1 04 and/or setting may be coupled to the body 102 through a chain or similar means (not shown), the body 1 02 may be a clasp of a chain that is coupled to the gem 104 and/or setting, or the body 102 may be coupled to a gem setting (not shown). The body 102 may be formed from a laminate of two metals, where one metal forms an outer layer 106 of the body 102 and the other metal forms an inner core 108 of the body 102. The outer layer 1 06 may be made of a metal such as gold, platinum, palladium, or another similar oxidation-resistant metal. The inner core 108 may be made of silver or another similar metal that is prone to oxidation. In another embodiment, the body 1 02 may be formed from a laminate of a ceramic inner core 108 and a metallic outer layer 106.

[0016] In one embodiment, the outer layer 1 06 may be an overlay that is bonded to a metallic inner core 108. This process may involve covering the inner core 108 with the metal that will make up the outer layer 106. Both metals may then be heated and compressed to create a bond between the two metals. As shown in Figure 1 , the entire inner core 108 may be covered with the outer layer 106. In other embodiments, only a portion of the inner core 108 may be covered with the outer layer 1 06, leaving one or more sides of the inner core 1 08 exposed. This may be accomplished by covering only a portion of the inner core 108 with the metal prior to heating and compressing the metal and the inner core 108.

[0017] Electroplating may also be used to cover the inner core 108 with the outer layer 1 06. The electroplating process involves immersing the inner core 1 08 in a solution of metal ions and passing an electric current through the solution to bond the ions with the inner core 108. The thickness of the resulting outer layer 1 06 may be controlled by varying the time that the inner core 1 08 is immersed in the solution. Similar to the overlay method described above, the solution may include ions of gold, platinum, palladium, or another similar oxidation-resistant metal. The solution may be used to plate the inner core 108 made of silver, ceramic, stainless steel, or another similar material. In some embodiments, only a portion of the inner core 108 may be plated with the metal in the solution, leaving one or more sides of the inner core 1 08 exposed. This may occur when regions of the inner core 108 that are not indented to be plated with the metal in the solution are masked prior to electroplating.

[0018] Figures 2 and 3 illustrate back views of exemplary bodies 200, 300. The bodies 200, 300 may be used in place of the body 102 illustrated in Figure 1 . The bodies 200, 300 may have markings 202 on an exposed surface 204 that detail at least one property of the gem 1 04. As shown in the exemplary embodiment, the markings 202 may detail the carat weight of the gem 1 04, the type of gem 104, the origin location of the gem 104, and/or a laboratory certificate number. The laboratory certificate number may correspond to a recorded laboratory certificate from a laboratory such as GIA®, EGL USA®, or Gubelin. The laboratory certificate may include information such as the grade, carat weight, clarity, and color of the gem 104. The markings 202 may also include a tracking number that can be entered into a website to obtain additional gem information and pictures of the gem 1 04. Although the size of the markings 202 shown in Figure 1 are uniform and easily visible, the markings 202 may vary in size. Additionally, some bodies 1 02 may have markings 202 that are not easily visible to the naked eye.

[0019] In place of or in addition to the aforementioned properties, the bodies 200, 300 may include markings 202 that detail the date the gem 104 was found, if the gem 104 is natural or has been treated, whether the gem was cut at the source (C.A.T.S.), a brand name or trademark associated with the gem, the color code of the gem 104, the name of the artisan or gem cutter, the name of the owner of the gem 104, the date the gem 104 was sold, the date the gem 104 was given as a gift, and various other properties. Further, a piece of jewelry (not shown) may include multiple gems (not shown) and, therefore, the bodies 200, 300 may include multiple sets of markings 202 that detail properties corresponding with each individual gem 104. Additionally, items such as pearl necklaces, diamond bracelets, and other pieces of jewelry (not shown) having multiple similar gems 1 04 may be marked with the combined carat weight of the gems 104, instead of the carat weight of each individual gem 104.

[0020] The markings 202 on a piece of jewelry 100 may increase the value and the collectability of the piece of jewelry 1 00. For example, the markings 202 may state that a pearl set a piece of jewelry 100 is a natural pearl from a specific location that is a certain number of years old, that a gem 104 set in a piece of jewelry 100 is part of a limited collection, that a fossil set into a piece of jewelry 100 came from a specific species of plant or animal, or that a specific jeweler or gem dealer provided a gem 104 for the piece of jewelry 100. Such markings 202 may make the piece of jewelry 1 00 more desirable, thereby increasing the value and collectability of the piece of jewelry 100.

[0021] The bodies 200, 300 may be marked by removing a portion of the outer layer 106. In one embodiment, shown in Figure 2, a portion of the outer layer 106 may be removed to create the markings 202. In another embodiment, shown in Figure 3, a portion of the outer layer 106 may be removed to outline the markings 202. The portion of the outer layer 106 may be removed by vaporizing the portion the outer layer 106 with a laser to expose the inner core 108. The inner core 108 may also be exposed by mechanically removing a portion of the outer layer 1 06 through engraving or similar means. Once the inner core 108 is exposed to the air, the inner core 108 may begin to oxidize and darken, increasing the visibility of the markings 202.

[0022] An oxidizer, such as Liver of Sulphur, may be applied to the exposed inner core 1 08 to hasten the oxidation process and further darken the markings 202 applied to the bodies 200, 300. In some embodiments, a second chemical mixture, such as a mixture of hydrochloric acid and tellurium, may be used after the initial oxidizer to turn the exposed inner core 108 black. In other embodiments, the inner core 108 may be made of stainless steel, a ceramic material, or another similar material that darkens when a laser is used to expose the inner core 108. In such cases, an oxidizer may not be necessary to darken the inner core 108.

[0023] Figures 4 and 5 illustrate an exemplary piece of jewelry 400, according to one or more embodiments disclosed. The piece of jewelry 400 may contain elements that are similar to those described above with reference to Figures 1 -3. Accordingly, like numerals indicate like elements and therefore will not be described again in detail except where material to the present embodiment.

[0024] Figure 4 illustrates a cross-sectional view of the piece of jewelry 400, according to one or more embodiments disclosed. As shown in the exemplary embodiment, the gem 1 04 may be coupled directly to a body 402 formed from a single material. In another embodiment, the body 402 may include a setting (not shown) that retains the gem 104. In other embodiments, the gem 104 and/or setting may be coupled to the body 402 through a chain or similar means (not shown), the body 402 may be a clasp of a chain that is coupled to the gem 104 and/or setting, or the body 402 may be coupled to a gem setting (not shown). In some embodiments, the body 402 may be made of gold, platinum, palladium, or silver. In other embodiments, the body 402 may be made of a ceramic material such as zirconia, stainless steel, tungsten, or any other suitable material known in the art.

[0025] As shown in Figure 5, an exposed surface 404 of the body 402 may include the markings 202 that are made by using a laser to vaporize a portion of the body 402. In at least one embodiment, the laser may darken the material in the recessed portion 406 of the body 402, creating markings 202 that are easily visible. The markings 202 may also be mechanically engraved into the body 402. Both methods may result in a recessed portion 406 of the body that that forms or outlines characters. Further, the recessed portion 406 may outline the markings 202. In some embodiments, the recessed portion 406 of the body 402 may then be filled with a colored enamel to increase the visibility of the marking. In other embodiments, the recessed portion 406 may be inlaid with a second material, such as gold, silver, platinum, palladium, or mother of pearl, or the recessed portion 406 may be polished to the same finish as the remainder of the body 402.

[0026] In other embodiments, the markings 202 may protrude from the surface of the body 402. These markings 202 may be formed by vaporizing or mechanically removing a portion of the exposed surface 404 of the body 402 to create markings 202 that protrude from the 402. In further embodiments, the markings 202 may be integrally formed with the body 402 or stamped into the body 402 to create a raised portion (not shown) on one side of the body 402 and recessed portion 406 on the other side of the body 402.

[0027] The foregoing has outlined features of several embodiments so that those skilled in the art may better understand the present disclosure. Those skilled in the art should appreciate that they may readily use the present disclosure as a basis for designing or modifying other processes and structures for carrying out the same purposes and/or achieving the same advantages of the embodiments introduced herein. Those skilled in the art should also realize that such equivalent constructions do not depart from the spirit and scope of the present disclosure, and that they may make various changes, substitutions, and alterations herein without departing from the spirit and scope of the present disclosure.