A quick search on social media reveals a clear trend – everyone is talking about permanent jewelry. The hottest fashion trend today is sporting a gold, silver or platinum chain bracelet or anklet (sans clasp) that never comes off! On TikTok alone #permanentjewelry has generated more than 400 million views.
Welded-on bracelets and other forms of permanent jewelry are being touted as a growing, glamorous alternative to tattoos and piercings – not to mention a great opportunity to commemorate love and friendship, moments and milestones.
Consumers are lining up outside jewelry boutiques, day spas, piercing shops, and tattoo studios for the chance to wear jewelry that never comes off, reports Jonathan Young, CEO of Sunstone Engineering LLC. Based in Payson, Utah Sunstone designs and manufactures high-tech micro welding and engraving solutions for many different industries, including jewelry, for the past 16 years, with its Orion mPulse, the most popular permanent jewelry welder on the market.
The fashion lifestyle portal, The Zoe Report (TZR) hails the trend as “forever improving the lives of those who are always losing their stuff.” TZR describes the look as “a modern continuation of jewelry as second skin” and sees the sentimental aspect of the experience as the biggest indicator that this trend will have a long lifespan. “Whether you’re getting one with a romantic partner, best friend, family member, or simply to enjoy as a long-lasting addition to your wrist, these forever pieces are easy to justify and incorporate into your daily wardrobe.”
Young is finding that more first time entrepreneurs are coming to Sunstone to pursue this business and become permanent jewelry artists, selling at fairs, markets and home parties. Permanent jewelry shops are popping up in malls. Tattoo artists, estheticians, and other boutique businesses are adding the experience to their list of services, as well as jewelry retailers.
Permanent jewelry is an easy add-on service for retail jewelers to offer an engaging in-store experience that will increase foot traffic and sales, and create lasting customer relationships.
How to Get Started
You can become a permanent jewelry artist with little investment and training. “You can get started for less than $3,000 and recoup your investment after selling only 30 to 50 bracelets,” Young explains. “Charge $50, $100, $150, or more for every bracelet you sell! With a one-year warranty and exceptional customer service, there is little risk to try.”
Master metalsmiths choose an Orion pulse arc welder to save time. You can quickly resize a ring, re-tip a prong, add metal, fill porosity, or construct a work piece in a fraction of the time versus a torch. Compared to a laser welder, an Orion pulse arc welder can accomplish most of the same welds, but at a fraction of the cost. And, unlike a torch, you won’t encounter heat scaling or stress.
Using the Orion micro welder for permanent jewelry, the jeweler simply places a chain around the customer’s wrist, then welds the open link closed. The process is very safe and takes only 10 to 15 seconds. Customers can also add a charm or initial to personalize the piece.
“The Orion pulse arc welder delivers a tiny spot-weld in a very specific spot. For fine chains, the spot size is a fraction of a millimeter in diameter,” explains Andy Jensen, marketing director for Sunstone. “Due to the tiny spot size and milliseconds of time needed to complete the weld, the amount of generated heat is hardly noticeable and dissipates quickly.”
The only setting you need to worry about is power, the welder does the rest. The learning curve is not steep, Jensen assures, and with online YouTube video coaching and practicing on inexpensive stainless steel chain, a newbie can become an accomplished novice in no time.
In addition to the Orion pulse arc welder, which starts at $2,400, Sunstone provides a Permanent Jewelry Kit, which includes wire cutters, pliers, safety glasses, protective leather swatch (to place between the skin and chain when welding), stainless steel practice chain, and permanent jewelry business window decals to help promote the service.
“We have everything you need to start selling permanent jewelry, for new startups or existing stores – welders, chains, tools, and supplies,” says Jensen.
The company’s superior customer service assists clients before, during and after every sale. Its website also includes articles and links for additional information. And, Sunstone conducts a welding conference, MicroWeld, for bench jewelers to pursue further professional training.
Forging Customer Relationships
Over the last few years, brands like Catbird in New York City have catapulted welded bracelets into the spotlight with their delicate designs and in-person “zapping” – the catchy phrase the jewelry brand coined for the experience.
Catbird tested the concept at a few private events in early 2017 and officially launched its “zapping” services later that same year, CEO Leigh Plessner told TZR in August this year. The brand is averaging 85 appointments a day at its NY stores. “The response has been incredible.” She said customers are visiting New York and making “zapping” and a trip to Catbird part of their itineraries.
While permanent jewelry is spiking in popularity on platforms like TikTok, and in stores like Catbird, it’s still a service that is relatively niche, TZR reports, but certain to grow.
There are many opportunities this service can bring to help retail jewelers engage their customers in store.
Imagine hosting a permanent jewelry experience for bridal parties, or something special for brides and grooms who buy their wedding rings at your store. Picture a Sweet 16 or other milestone birthday gathering of friends; maybe a mother-daughter event for Mother’s Day or National Daughters Day; or something geared to the local university or high school graduating class.
All of these opportunities promote an in-store experience, and introduce more people to your brand, merchandise, and services.
The Orion pulse arc welder will not only be useful for countless tasks in the jewelry store, but also to provide an engaging in-store experience this holiday season and beyond in promoting permanent jewelry.
For more information about Sunstone and all of the products and services it provides, visit sunstonewelders.com.