If you're looking for a nontraditional engagement ring (or a really unique holiday gift for your loved one), a Switzerland-based start-up may have the answer. Identity Inside will make jewelry that includes a sample of your DNA, sealed beneath an embedded diamond. Robert Grass, the company's creator, previously used the "DNA fossil" technique to prevent counterfeiting in olive oil production. In a Skype interview, Grass told Refinery29 that he was prompted to use his scientific background to create these rings because he was frustrated with the lack of uniqueness in mass-market jewelry. “In the end, it’s a mass product with a perfect marketing campaign,” Grass said of traditional options. The DNA component, however, makes his jewelry truly one-of-a-kind. So far, the Identity Inside Kickstarter project has only 26 backers, but those folks have raised more than $9,000 to make the dream a reality. That's nearly halfway to the fundraising goal of $19,881, which Grass hopes to reach by December 20. Grass also explained that since he and his fellow scientists don’t have extensive backgrounds in jewelry design, he hopes that other companies will want to use Identity Inside’s technology in their own rings.
For now, there are three options for proclaiming your love with DNA. You can choose a silver ring, an automatic watch with a leather strap, or a rose-gold pendant. All of the jewelry options include real diamonds, as well as a DNA sample that could come from you or the recipient. (Or someone else, but that would be even weirder than this already is.) The Identity Inside silver ring features two diamonds — one on the inside, to seal the DNA sample, and one on the outside, for display.
So how, exactly, does the process work? Customers collect their DNA samples using saliva swabs and send them to Grass' research team in Switzerland. The scientists "fossilize" the DNA into a powdered substance and add it to the inside of the jewelry pieces before topping them off with diamonds. Interested in securing a DNA-sealed ring for yourself or your significant other this proposal season? If you contribute at least $249 to the Kickstarter campaign, you'll get an Identity Inside ring in your size as a "reward" for backing the project. Grass will send you a DNA collection kit, and his team of scientists will use your DNA saliva sample to create the ring. It might be a little creepy wearing your fiance's powdered saliva around for the rest of your life, but you'll definitely have a ring that's way different from everyone else's. Except maybe these people's. OPENER IMAGE: Photographed by Winnie Au.