Guide to Permanent Bracelets

Add permanent bracelets to your jewelry collection. Permanent bracelets have taken off! Easily add this fun experience to your jewelry business offerings with these tips.


What is an Infinity Bracelet?

Infinity bracelets are also called permanent bracelets because you fuse the chain together around the customer’s wrist to their exact size. There is no clasp on these bracelets! If a customer needs to take the metal off, they’ll need to snip the connection and come back in for a reconnection if they’d like. These permanent bracelets have become a great experience outing for friend groups or couples to come in and get matching jewelry sets.


Gold-filled and sterling silver infinity/permanent bracelets

Infinity bracelets create a fun stacked look as well.


What Do You Need?

To offer this experience, you’ll need to invest in a pulse arc welder.¬†This welder releases a concentrated pulse of energy to heat up the metal on the chain. It’s important to note that this tool requires the use of argon gas. Argon gas is safe and non-flammable, but very important to the strength of your weld. Welding without the gas creates a brittle weld that doesn’t bond properly. You can get argon gas from your local welding supply store.

Since these bracelets are meant to be permanent, you want to make sure you have¬†high quality chain¬†that can stand up to everyday wear without worrying about breakage or reactions on your customer’s skin. However, you also want to stick with a thinner chain to avoid overheating the metal and burning the wrist. We put together a¬†sterling silver¬†and¬†14k gold permanent jewelry starter kits to set you up with the right sized materials perfect for permanent jewelry. Wondering why we don’t have a gold-filled starter kit? That’s because we don’t recommend gold-filled for permanent jewelry. Gold-filled is a layered product, meaning there’s a layer of gold bonded to jewelers brass, and it was designed for traditional jewelry wear. Permanent jewelry exposes metal to more extreme conditions; including repeated contact with lotions, soaps, and chemicals that can induce tarnishing. Gold-filled chains will have a solder joint on every link from the production process. This spot is more susceptible to tarnish than the rest of the chain. If you get dark spots on your gold-filled chains it’s likely tarnish at the solder joint, not a defective or low-quality product. It’s because of reasons like these that we only recommend sterling silver and 14k gold. Your client will have a longer lasting bracelet with these materials.


Setting Expectations

Be sure to talk your clients through the realities of permanent jewelry. The key to a good customer service relationship is communications to set clear expectations about normal jewelry issues. Here are key concerns to cover verbally during your consultation and in your written service agreement:

1. Permanent jewelry is not recommended for people who regularly engage in activities where snags could lead to injury. Consider sports, hobbies, tool & equipment use when making this decision.

2. Point out that certain charm and link styles are more likely to catch on things. Watch for points and sharp angles that can hook fabrics, for example. Simple chains will wear the best over time.

3. Precious metals are malleable. If bracelets get caught on something and tugged, links can stretch, bend, or break altogether. Permanent bracelets are delicate by design so they are light and comfortable to wear.

4. Clarify your repair and replacement policies. Make sure customers understand when there will be additional charges.

5. If a customer needs to cut off their bracelet, they should know the best place to do so and the tools you recommend. Spell out your fee structure to re-weld or add a clasp to the bracelet.

6. Sterling silver will tarnish over time. This is a normal reality of the metal. Provide instructions to safely clean the jewelry. Or offer removal and cleaning service options through your business.

Although we don’t recommend using gold-filled for permanent jewelry, we know many people do. It’s critical you communicate to your client the risks associated with gold-filled. This means setting realistic tarnish and wear expectations and discussing how gold-filled chains are made. It’s a good idea to include this information in your written agreement as well.


How to Make a Permanent Bracelet

You’ll want to measure the chain against your customer’s wrist as close as possible without being too tight. The chain should be able to wiggle a little bit. Snip the chain. To create a more seamless look, try cutting the link of the chain to fuse together. Alternatively, you can slip a jump ring in and fuse that. Use your pulse arc welder to quickly and carefully fuse the metal together according to the welder’s instructions and safety manual.


someone welding a chain bracelet onto a persons wrist

Image Courtesy of Everlove Jewelry Co.

What You Should Know

We don’t recommend gold-filled for permanent jewelry because it is not a solid product but layered. This means over time the gold layer can wear off, exposing the brass underneath. Gold-filled is more susceptible to tarnishing than solid gold. Learn more about gold-filled by reading some of our other¬†articles.¬†You should also pay close attention to the safety warnings associated with your pulse arc welder to ensure you and your customers do not get injured. Keep in mind that although it’s possible to create a permanent necklace or anklet, by nature these may be more prone to breaking based on the location of the jewelry.

Keep in mind that with permanent daily wear, your sterling silver chain is likely to be exposed to materials that can cause tarnishing. This includes beauty products that may have sulfates (such as hairspray, shampoo, lotion, etc.), chlorine, rubber, leather and more. Make sure your customers understand that if their jewelry comes into contact with these products they should take extra care to clean their chains to avoid tarnishing. Permanent jewelry requires maintenance and will have limits on what it can stand up to.

This relates to where you store your materials and do your welding also. Be sure to protect your chains from the chemicals in hair and nail salons. Exposure to these fumes and products will cause your chains to tarnish before they’re even worn. Be sure to have a designated welding area away from any of these contaminates and be sure to store your materials in a safe place.


What Not To Use In Permanent Jewelry

Since permanent jewelry will be worn all day, every day, through all conditions it’s important to use jewelry supplies that will hold up to everyday wear. There are a few things we’d recommend avoiding when adding permanent jewelry to your collection. Pearls and stones other than diamonds or sapphires/rubies may not hold up to everyday wear. If you want to include stones in the jewelry, we’d recommend ones with a Mohs hardness of 9 or 10. Gold plated charms have a thinner layer of gold and will wear faster than solid gold or gold-filled. Enameled charms are also not recommended as they are likely to chip with constant, everyday wear. Avoid anything porous that would get too dirty and wear down. And finally, if a 24 gauge jump ring won’t fit through the chain link, switch to a chain with larger links. Do not stretch the links as this creates a weak spot that is more likely to break.


Jewelry Welding Agreements

We suggest having your customers sign an agreement understanding the risks of permanent jewelry. Overall, jewelry is not made to be worn all the time, so be sure to communicate the risks that come with this. Discoloration or tarnishing, the bracelets snapping off or getting damaged are all risks associated with wearing something all the time. Have a replacement or re-weld policy in place if this does happen, or if your customer needs to remove it themselves for any reason. It makes sure you and your customers are on the same page before welding, and there are no misunderstandings later on. You may choose to include a care card as well. This can talk about best cleaning practices, products to avoid, and more, to ensure your customers take the best care of their jewelry possible.


Source: Halstead