Purple by Artefact: the Smart Locket of the 21st Century

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A couple of months ago, Apple brought us the stylish smartwatch. With lots of bits & bytes underneath its sleek & elegant surface, the Apple Watch is the most personal product Apple ever made, as Tim Cook put it, “because it is the first one we designed to be worn.” And it does seem to be a stepping stone in terms of wearable tech. But with all that technology around your wrist – from internet connectivity to social feeds to fitness, wellness and serious health apps, to digital wallet functions –, offering endless opportunities of spending your time, how are you able to keep track of and focus on what really matters to you? And, if you strip it from its smartness, is the design appealing enough to make you want to wear it?

These were the two questions that led Artefact Group to create Purple – the locket of the 21st century.

Even though Apple introduced a great platform, it still doesn’t know how to provide greater meaning,” said Jennifer Darmour, design director at Artefact, in an interview for Wired. “It’s not about collecting 500 friends, but finding an experience that can enrich the core people you care about, no matter where they are.

Okay, but what does that have to do with a locket?

In this day and age of wearables, beauty and meaning tend to remain an afterthought. In the late 1800’s lockets were not only fashionable pieces of jewelry, but also bore a great “functionality”: they allowed people to carry treasured keepsakes of dear ones – remember how grandma kept grandpa’s picture locked inside a beautiful intricate locket? What Artefact’s Darmour brings to the wearable table is exactly that piece of stylish jewelry, with the exact functionality, but technologically enhanced to fit the 21st century lifestyle.

So how does it work?

Purple is a digital locket that keeps your dear ones’ photos and messages – keepsakes – close at hand. It connects wirelessly to all major social networks like Facebook and Instagram, as well as SMSs. Regardless of the number of social connections and contacts you have, Purple only shows you images and notifications from a group of people you pre-select. When you receive a new keepsake, a light will notify you. You can open the lid and browse through keepsakes, save them or send a response, with simple gestures.

The locket works with iPhones and comes with a dedicated app that enables you to manage the device settings: select people you want to receive keepsakes from, send messages, and create custom keepsakes using filters and effects.

It also comes with a ceramic charging bowl for inductive wireless charging, a lithium polymer cell battery, Silicon Labs processor, BLE support and storage space.

It is still a prototype. But when it will be available to the masses, it should be a token of remembrance, connection and meaning.

Simple yet complex…

All in all, to me, Purple is a vintage piece of jewelry that stays true to its emotional meaning. It is also a modern piece of statement jewelry that enhances personal experiences. Add to that the bits&bytes that power it, and you’ve got yourself a pretty complex item. However, the message it conveys is pretty simple: don’t forget what matters to you most and keep it close to your heart. Whenever you feel like you need a pause, just look at your Purple to disconnect from your work. It’s what will get you through any hardship in this busy life.

What do you think of this locket and its meaning? Let’s chat in the comments box below!


I’m a professional copywriter, working in IT. In love with fashion and fascinated with all things tech. My name is Emma, but you can call me Fashion Techie

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