Zazzi jewelry aims for fashionable smartphone alerts

Fashionteq's new line of tech jewelry puts smartphone notifications on your wrist, your finger, or around your neck.

Zazzi bracelet
Can smartphone notifications be fashionable? This is a Zazzi prototype. Amanda Kooser/CNET

LAS VEGAS -- Wearable tech has given us the ability to get smartphone notifications on our bodies without having to have our phones in our hands. It's just that most of the options aren't exactly something you would want to pair with your Oscar party dress.

Fashionteq hopes its Zazzi line of smart jewelry being shown off at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show will find its way onto the bodies of fashion-minded women.

The Zazzi itself is a rectangular gadget that can be transferred between bracelet, cocktail ring, and necklace mounts. It displays varying symbols and vibrates to alert you to calls, texts, and e-mails at a distance of up to 50 feet from your phone. All the designs incorporate sedate silver or gold settings. The Zazzi itself is fairly chunky, but that fits with the look for a lot of statement jewelry pieces.

Zazzi uses an e-paper display to conserve battery. That means you get just black-and-white images. I asked if there are any plans for color displays, but that doesn't seem to be on the radar. They say the black-and-white looks more elegant, which I have to agree with. Going for flashing colors would turn this jewelry into something more like a toy and less like a piece you could wear to a fancy cocktail party if you wanted.

Fashionteq has the initial Zazzi line up for crowdfunding on Dragon Innovations. The style may not be for everyone, but it's refreshing that rhinestones and shades of hot pink were left out of the equation. A Zazzi with a cuff to wear it on come at a $169 pledge price.

Zazzi doesn't have nearly as many capabilities as your average smartwatch, but it's not meant to. I gazed into the Fashionteq display cases and could envision wearing these around.

The company will have to contend with the somewhat high price point needed to get its first creations off the ground. I hope it succeeds, because what I really want to see is the next round, the evolution of the concept.

Zazzi cocktail ring
The Zazzi cocktail ring has a chunky style. Amanda Kooser/CNET
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