JewelGram: Jewelry From Your Instagram Snaps

JewelGram © JewelGram
JewelGram © JewelGram

Last year I shared news about a Kickstarter project called JewelGram. The idea for the campaign was to create unique jewelry using Instagram snaps. The campaign failed to reach its funding goal but Gianpiero Riva and Michele Marzotto, the team behind the project, persisted and were finally able to launch the company later in the year. They asked me if I would like to have a go at creating my own JewelGram and the finished piece finally arrived at my house recently.

The process of creating your JewelGram is simple but a little unwieldy if you want to use an older photo. The website connects with your Instagram account and allows you to scan through your photos to select the one you want—of course this means a lot of scrolling if you’re a regular Instagrammer because there is no facility to jump to a particular date.

I chose a rare shot of my family together at Drayton Manor (rare because all three of us are in it) and chose the Inkwell pendant. The Inkwell is made of 925 silver and costs $58.30 after Italian VAT is applied—an extra cost that isn’t mentioned on the product page. JewelGram manufactures its products in Italy so I knew I’d have a fairly long wait for it to arrive.

Jewelgram Box © Sophie Brown
JewelGram Box © Sophie Brown

I placed my order and it arrived courtesy of DHL exactly three weeks later. The pendant was packed in foam but the JewelGram box itself was only made from folded cardboard and had been damaged significantly in transit; I certainly wouldn’t want to present a gift in one. The pendant itself measures a little under one inch square and came on a thin, black cord thread that I had to tie off; a clasp would have been a nice addition. While the picture was a nice size I was rather underwhelmed by the printing process. The colors were significantly different from the original image (and to my own physical prints) as if the whole image has been run through a cool blue filter before printing. The image wasn’t sharp either. It reminded me of when I would print photos onto standard printer paper a decade ago, causing the ink to bleed slightly and give fuzzy, indistinct edges. The image had also started to rub off at the top, exposing the silver underneath.

Original Instagram photo (left) and the Jewelgram Pendant (right) © Sophie Brown
Original Instagram photo (left) and the JewelGram Pendant (right) © Sophie Brown

I wasn’t sure if I was being overly picky in the way that those of us who spend a lot of time editing photos can be, so I showed the necklace to some other mums. They all loved the idea of Instagram jewelery using pictures of their kids and families but they saw the same indistinct off-color printing that I did and worried that because the image was already being scratched off, prolonged wearing would mean it would be quickly damaged. One mum also commented on the thin cord, laughingly telling me that her toddler would snap it within minutes. When I shared the cost of the necklace with them, every person agreed that they wouldn’t be interested unless these issues were resolved. One suggestion was that the printed image needed some kind of coating to protect it from scratches.

I really wanted to love these necklaces. I’d even planned to buy some as gifts this year including one for Mother’s Day later this month, but unless the printing quality can be significantly improved and the image protected from damage, then it’s hard to justify their cost. Especially when basic photo frame necklaces can be bought for no more than a few dollars and allow you to regularly switch out your photos regularly for new favorites. I’d still consider buying another piece in the future, probably the plastic Walden pendant—I’d be interested to see if the printing is any better on that material—but for now I’ll be waiting to see if I hear about an improvement.

GeekMom received this item for review purposes.

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