2014 RFID News Roundup

Galatea Markets NFC-tagged Cultured Pearls

Jewelry maker Galatea has unveiled a cultured pearl with an embedded Near Field Communication (NFC) RFID tag that lets users create a tailored voice message that can be played by tapping the pearl against an NFC -enabled smartphone. Galatea's Momento Pearl can use NFC RFID to deliver other types of digital content as well, including images, messages and videos.

Galatea's NFC-enabled Momento Pearl
According to Chi Huynh, Galatea's founder and the inventor of Momento Pearl, the tag inside the pearl is customized in-house (Galatea buys the chip and antenna and then creates its own NFC tag), and the procedure for inserting the tag into the pearl is patent-pending. The cultured pearl does not interfere with the NFC functionality, Huynh reports.
Once the Galatea app has been downloaded onto an NFC-enabled phone or tablet, the user can record a message or upload an audio file. Tapping the pearl against an NFC-enabled mobile device causes the audio file to be played and digital material to be displayed.

Known for its hand-carved cultured Tahitian and freshwater pearls (the Momento Pearl collection features only hand-carved pearls), Galatea also owns a number of patents for its pearl and gemstone jewelry. In 2005, the company introduced the Galatea Pearl, which is cultured using a colored stone bead. After the pearl's nacre is carved away, the color can be seen below its surface.

The firm is now taking orders for the NFC-enabled pearls, for delivery to stores by Jan. 20, 2015. The Momento Pearls will be available at 1,400 retailer locations; customers can call 800-609-6888 (in the United States only) or 909-592-0877 to find a nearby dealer. According to Huyhn, Galatea plans to introduce additional NFC-enabled jewelry, including gemstones and diamonds, during the coming months.