Life & Love

Permanent Jewelry: How it Works & Is It Right For You?

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Woman welding jewelry on customer.
Permanent jewelry requires a person to attach it to your wrist via welding.
Image credit: Alee’a Ulsh-Cherry, Shutterstock

Jewelry is an accessory that has existed since ancient times and often symbolizes something much more profound than a simple fashion choice. Engagement and wedding rings are a classic example. A new jewelry trend has emerged over the last few years: permanent jewelry. Adornments, including forever bracelets, anklets, and infinity necklaces, have become extremely popular among jewelry lovers, but what exactly are they? Is permanent jewelry forever? Can anyone get it? I take a look at this growing trend to find out what it’s all about.

What is Permanent Jewelry?

Infinity jewelry is a piece that is welded or soldered together rather than a traditional clasp. Both men and women wear it, and the trend is growing. The idea started a few years ago and has taken off as an unbroken representation of permanence, commitment, and timelessness. They can be used to show romantic love, commitment to a child, or as a commitment to yourself, a symbol of self-love.

Unlike luxury pieces like diamond necklaces and rings, permanent jewelry is meant to be worn constantly and essentially becomes a part of you. Like a tattoo, a welded chain can be a steadfast reminder or symbol of something sentimental or precious to you.

Pieces are often made of gold and consist of a simple chain measured to the perfect fit and then welded closed around your wrist or ankle. Most permanent or infinity jewelry is small and simple without many extra features or parts.

The fine chain is usually welded closed but is not permanent in the same way a tattoo or piercing is. While intended to be worn for an exceptionally long time, it can be cut off or have the weld broken in a quick moment. Of course, activity level and lifestyle can cause it to break or come off. Permanent is an idea, not a literal description.

Types of Permanent Jewelry

  • Bracelets: The most common choice is forever bracelets. They are generally quite delicate and feature a simple chain. Some permanent bracelet wearers choose to add additional charms to their pieces.
  • Anklets: Anklets follow the same fashion as bracelets and tend to be simple chains with or without charms. They often cost a little more than bracelets because they need to be longer to fit around the ankle than the wrist.
  • Necklaces: Simple chain and chain-link necklaces are also becoming popular with or without charms.
  • Rings: Permanent rings are a newer concept than the other three options. They are often single-strand or chain-link rings that perfectly fit a specific finger. Permanent rings can be worn in various positions on the finger rather than the traditional snug fit below the first knuckle.
  • Earrings: Forever and endless hoops and ear links are becoming more popular, especially for people with multiple ear piercings.

Metals Used

A majority of welded chain choices use 14K or 18K gold. 18K and 14K gold is a high-quality material that does not often irritate skin or cause allergy reactions. Additionally, it is a durable material that can stand up to being worn continuously. 18K gold is the most expensive option. However, the higher quality stands out for extended wear as it is intended to last longer and be worn more than traditional pieces. You want this piece to look good over prolonged periods of time, so investing in the higher quality material makes sense. Gold options include different colors such as yellow, white, and rose.

Chains are also available in 10K gold, sterling silver, gold-filled brass, and platinum. 18K or 14K gold is predominantly the best choice for wearability, durability, and luster retention over time.

Why People Like It

There are a variety of reasons that people like and appreciate welded chains. For starters, it feels unique because the piece is created and fitted to your body specifically. It cannot fit anyone else, nor has anyone worn it before. For many, their pieces surpass being simple accessories. It represents something more significant and becomes essentially a part of them and their personal journey. For example, some parents choose to get an infinite bracelet each time they have a child.

For others, it can be a way to remember a beloved individual who has passed away or represent a commitment to oneself or a romantic relationship the way engagement and wedding rings do. Whatever the reason behind wearing it, these pieces feel very personal, which makes them appealing.

For some, it’s a matter of convenience. You will never forget your bracelet or necklace again if it is permanently welded on your wrist or neck. It’s also much harder to lose a piece of jewelry when it fits you perfectly and is permanently closed together.

For others, the welding represents eternity, something long-lasting but a safer option than a truly permanent adornment like a tattoo, piercing, or permanent makeup. While these options involve some level of body modification and, in most cases, pain, this is a pain-free process that is amazingly simple to reverse.

Getting Permanent Jewelry: The Process

The video below gives a little more detail on permanent jewelry and how it works.

Getting an infinity piece is easy and enjoyable. You will need to decide what piece you want and where on your body you want it fitted. Be sure to check ahead of time to see if your preferred jeweler takes walk-ins or requires appointments and how long the process will take.

When your appointment time comes, you will make your final selection, and then the jeweler or attendant will measure your wrist, ankle, neck, or finger appropriately. Once the jeweler reaches the perfect length and has worked out a precise fit, the jewelry will be welded together.

The welding process only takes a few minutes, and a protective barrier is placed between your skin, the jewelry, and the welding tool.

The welding process is sometimes called zapping, which can imply that it might be painful. However, it involves no pain at all. Once the weld is complete, the process is done, and the piece you’ve picked is now a long-term part of your life.

Price

Prices vary widely depending on the jeweler, material, chain type, and the piece picked. The price range can start at around $50 and go much higher to over $1,800. In many cases, prices are charged by the inch, so be sure to check on that before making your appointment.

Caring For Your Permanent Jewelry

Welded adornments must be carefully cared for to continue to look good long after being put on. The first step is to pick a durable material that is resistant to rust, tarnish, and corrosion. Once you have the piece on, you will need to clean it regularly. Using a gentle brush like a baby toothbrush, warm water, and dish soap regularly helps keep it clean.

You should avoid getting any substances on the piece, such as hairspray, lotion, perfume, makeup, paint, household cleaning products, etc. This will help prevent damage and tarnishing over time.

If you have fused silver, keep in mind that silver is prone to oxidation when it comes in contact with certain chemicals, such as pool and hot tub chemicals, household cleaning chemicals, and industrial chemicals used in manufacturing. Paint, resin, and other crafting substances also have chemicals that may not mix well with jewelry. Humidity, personal pH levels, and natural water sources like hot springs can also expedite oxidation. Silver requires regular cleaning with a silver cleaner or silver cleaning wipes.

Most retailers offer servicing and cleaning, sometimes at an additional price, which can help keep your piece in tip-top condition.

It is also important to keep in mind that the chains are usually very delicate, so it is important to avoid getting it snagged or stuck on zippers, buttons, doorknobs, hooks, and other household surfaces. If your chain does break, save as much of it as you can and go back to the jeweler to have it rewelded.

What Is This Black Line Underneath My Chain?

Some wearers start to notice a dark ring on their skin underneath their infinity pieces. This discoloration can happen due to the natural interaction of the metal with your skin, the environment, and other things like lotion, soaps, and other chemicals. In some cases, it can even be caused by sweat or hormone changes. Because this can happen, following all cleaning and care instructions that come with your specific piece is imperative.

How To Get Permanent Jewelry Removed

Getting it removed is even simpler than getting it put on. Most pieces can simply be cut off with a pair of scissors or wire cutters. You can also go back to where you had it put on or another jeweler and have the weld undone there.

Is Permanent Jewelry Safe?

Yes, it is very safe. The process is absolutely pain-free, and it can come off at any time. Additionally, unlike a piercing or tattoo, no permanent change is made to your body.

These small welded chains are generally considered very safe, but some risks come with it. The most significant risk is having a skin allergy to the metal. Most skin allergies from jewelry come from nickel, which is not recommended to be used in a fused piece. Gold can sometimes contain traces of nickel. However, the higher the karat, the less likely this is. If you have a nickel allergy, choose an 18K or 24K chain for your piece. You should also discuss this with your doctor and the jeweler beforehand.

When Isn’t Permanent Jewelry A Good Idea?

Welded pieces can become a problem in a couple of circumstances. In certain medical situations, such as MRIs or surgery, even small chains may not be allowed.

Along with some medical procedures and settings, pregnancy is another instance in which it may not be the best idea. Because a woman’s body will change, having something that restricts them, even a small bracelet, is not a good idea.

It may not be a good idea if you live a highly active lifestyle or work in specific professions. It may be a safety risk if you use your hands a lot, work on machines, with power tools, or play sports. In some cases, such as circumstances like going on carnival rides, water parks, or intense outdoor activities like rock climbing, kayaking, or boating, even tiny chains can be a safety risk as they have the potential to be snagged on essential equipment.

Another thing to keep in mind about wearing a chain, even a thin one, in the long term is that sometimes it may not be comfortable. While it may fit perfectly at first, over time, bodies can change, and the piece may no longer fit as well. An improper or changing fit can lead to discomfort when sitting, sleeping, or doing certain activities.

Permanent Jewelry Pros & Cons

ProsCons
Easy to getSmall risk of skin allergy
Pain-freeCan get caught on clothing, furniture, etc.
Removable in momentsNot truly permanent
ConvenientMay need repair
Multiple optionsNot good for highly active lifestyles
Hard to loseMay need to remove for surgery, MRI, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below, I’ve addressed some of the most frequently asked questions about permanent jewelry.

How long does permanent jewelry actually last?

Ideally, it will last a lifetime or over several decades. However, a lot will depend on the specific piece you’ve picked, your lifestyle, and how well the metal is cared for. As life progresses, there may be situations in which it needs to be removed, such as surgery or pregnancy. In that case, it is extremely easy to get it put back on later, which is a big bonus.

How do I shower with permanent jewelry?

Showering is the same as showering normally. In fact, some wearers find it to be easier than when showering with traditional bracelets or rings. Because the piece cannot come off, there is no risk that it will slip off when you’re shampooing and go down the drain. If your piece is plated or dipped, take extra special care because water can cause it to break down faster. Regardless of material or location, be sure to dry it and your skin carefully right away to ensure there’s no moisture trapped there.

Can I fly with permanent jewelry?

In most cases, yes. The TSA does not often require passengers to remove fine jewelry. However, there is always a slim chance that your piece may set off metal detectors and require additional screening, not only at airports but in other situations that require it.

Can I make my own permanent jewelry?

Theoretically, you can make your own with suitable materials and skills. At a minimum, you require a selection of high-quality jewelry chains, jump rings, charms, links, pulse arc welder or soldering equipment, a jewelry startup kit, and training. Unless you are already an experienced welder or plan to invest in training and equipment to start a business, it’s best to seek out a professional for this service.

Where To Buy Permanent Jewelry

Welded jewelry is something one needs to have put on in person, though you can shop ahead online. Check around at different Jewelers that offer this service in your area. It is also becoming a fun group activity, and many jewelers offer group rates, making it a fun idea for a birthday party, girls’ night, baby shower, or bridal activity. For many, it has also become a lucrative side gig.

Many options are local. However, a few that cover a larger area are worth noting.

Link x Lou website screenshot.
LINK x LOU® offers luxury permanent jewelry options for both men and women.

Visit Website

LINK x LOU® provides welded 14K solid gold jewelry custom-sized to fit wrists, ankles, necks, and fingers. This brand is unique and is available in over 60 cities across the United States. LINK x LOU® operates on a pop-up and private-party basis. Additionally, you can pre-order some made-to-order pieces online.

Bonded Bracelets

Bonded Bracelets screenshot.
Bonded Bracelets are a perfect option for friends, family, and lovers.

Visit Website

Bonded Bracelets was started by a group of friends who had a tough time deciding on a friendship tattoo. That discussion brought to life the idea of bonded friendship bracelets. It is a fun, exciting bonding experience that doesn’t require the commitment of a tattoo. Bonded features one-of-a-kind adornments made from 14K gold and sterling silver. The company is located in Kaysville, Utah, but is available in several locations in other states.

Is Permanent Jewelry Worth It?

Overall, I love the idea of infinity and fused jewelry. It is non-invasive, personal, and very pretty. Additionally, being able to remove it at any time lessens any risk of not liking it or being uncomfortable. It is a very personal experience that can bond you with another person or represent something incredibly significant in your life, which does not require any truly permanent body change or procedure. As someone with several tattoos and piercings, I know how lasting that commitment is. While I love all my tattoos, they need touching up over time, and not all of them look as great as they did when I first got them. So, I understand the appeal of something like a long-lasting chain.

Other Jewelry Options

If permanent bling is not your thing, that’s totally understandable. I like the idea, but I also like wearing larger pieces with more elements. If you are jewelry-obsessed like me, you might be interested in learning more about the difference between lab-grown and natural diamonds. We also cover another popular option: titanium rings and body piercing jewelry.

Do you have any permanent jewelry? How do you feel about the experience? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

Why Trust Safe Smart Living?

Danielle is a huge fan of jewelry, from simple wire-wrapped bangles to sparkly diamond baubles. She devoted several hours to researching permanent jewelry to understand what it’s all about. Danielle has spent many years as a professional researcher and is highly committed to sharing valuable information with others. She works alongside a highly talented team at Safe Smart Living, which is dedicated to bringing our readers accurate, helpful, and up-to-date information to better their lives.

Danielle DeGroot

Danielle has been a professional writer for many years, working with companies and brands all over the world. She holds a BS in Communication and Marketing from Colorado State University Global and uses her skills to help others share their voices. She has researched and covered a wide range of subjects, from eco-friendly living and burial to healthy living, technology, education, science, small business, and more. Her passion is connecting people with useful information and helping others find their voice. Prior to starting her writing career, Danielle worked in public education, where she worked to support and educate children with disabilities. She works hard to stay on top of the latest changes in safety, technology, and living, which allows her to continue researching and sharing pertinent information to better others’ lives.

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