Vending machine sells fine jewelry inside the Brooklyn Museum, and could be the first of many

Marla Aaron's jewelry is inside this vending machine at the Brooklyn Museum.
Marla Aaron’s jewelry is inside this vending machine at the Brooklyn Museum. Photo Credit: Anthony Lanzilote

This vending machine doesn’t spit out chips or candy bars — it drops fine jewelry.

The glitzy machine, which works with the tap of a finger and the swipe of a credit card, currently sits like a piece of art inside the Brooklyn Museum.

The gadget gives access to seven pieces by designer Marla Aaron, known for her precious locks and chains.

Moving through the vending machine’s large screen, users might select a lock (14-karat yellow gold or sterling silver) or an ear cuff, or maybe a rose gold star-shaped lock on a chain.

From there, the display changes to offer a photo with dimensions and price — which range from $100 to $1,500.

Purchase that new piece, then it descends to the machine’s suede-lined takeout port. An orange box containing a suede pouch holds the jewelry.

We spoke with Aaron about her futuristic idea, which may be the first of its kind in the city.

How are people reacting to the vending machine?

The vending machine has been in the museum since Dec. 8, so we’ve seen lots of people interact since then. I love how we’ve managed to talk to customers in this different way with products that are handmade in a workshop in New York. I think it opens a lot of interesting possibilities for other people in similar fields.

Your jewelry is sold online and in stores, but what inspired you to make a vending machine?

I went to Japan to visit one of our stores and saw all the vending machines there and became obsessed. Yes, we’ve seen vending machines for headphones and iPods, and yes, we’ve seen machines for makeup and it’s great . . . it’s a hot topic.

Why did you choose the Brooklyn Museum?

A lot of businesses wanted the machine, but I thought it was too obvious to place it in stores and hotels. Putting it in a store would be a cop out. I wanted it to be in an unexpected place.

Tell us about your jewelry.

I started my company on Instagram and we sold to consumers before were in a store. Some women collect the pieces — owning more than 25 of them.

The jewelry is locks and chains that connect together in interesting ways, and it’s precious metal. It’s based on hardware but taken to the next level, ranging in price from $80 to $30,000.

The vending machine was installed in December. I knew that every element of it would have to be perfect for this to work. The boxes are made for us in Italy and hand-foiled. The pouches are real suede. And for every experience, when you reach your hand in, it’s also lined in suede.

What is your plan moving forward? More vending machines?

I think next time I will find the right location and then build the machine. There’s so much I would do differently now, but I am looking at unexpected places. I would love to have it in the streets of New York.

The vending machine is located inside the lobby of the Brooklyn Museum at 200 Eastern Pkwy., which is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesdays through Sundays. Admission to the museum is not required. It’ll be there through Valentine’s Day.