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It’s near impossible to scroll through social media without seeing someone wearing or getting a form of permanent jewellery. The hashtag #weldedbracelet has racked up more than 71.9 million views on TikTok, while searches for places offering the service have reportedly skyrocketed by more than 300 per cent on Google over the past year.
These dainty, everyday accessories are a trend I’ve long been admiring, and one that’s certainly going to be here for the long run, but until now, I’d have had to travel to somewhere like London or Manchester to get one. But fear not Midlands girlies, because Jemma Elizabeth has answered our collective prayers and has launched the service here in Staffordshire, operating Links by Jemma Elizabeth from her Hartshill salon. Already it’s proven to be incredibly in demand, with the first few dates of appointments selling out almost immediately with dozens of jewellery-loving babes signing up to the waitlist to be the first to know about cancellations and new dates.
My mum and I recently went to get our own permanent bracelets with Jemma, and it’s truly an addictive experience – I already want another one. In this post, I’ll talk you through what welded jewellery is, how much it costs and what the process was like so that you have everything you need to know for when you (inevitably) book in for yourself. Ready?
What is welded jewellery?
Permanent jewellery was first made popular in the form of the Cartier Love Bracelet after it launched in the late 60s, with the ‘modern handcuff’ only able to be removed with the corresponding screwdriver. But in the last decade, it’s welded jewellery that has taken the internet by storm, with specialist brands like Atelier VM and Catbird cropping up between 2014-2016 offering the unique service.
These delicate and dainty pieces are fitted perfectly to your wrist, with the ends being joined together with a micro-welder, omitting the need for clasps therefore creating a permanent, lightweight piece.
How much does it cost?
Links by Jemma Elizabeth permanent jewellery prices start at £20 for a sterling silver welded ring, while bracelets start at £45 and anklets at £55. Elsewhere, retailers like Astrid & Miyu charge between £120 and £200 for a bracelet, while The Alkemistry charge from £150 for a ring.
Jemma’s prices are super reasonable for this service, and one of the reasons is because instead of opting for expensive 18k gold, her sterling silver and gold filled chains make for a much more affordable alternative that is just as gorgeous and long-wearing, while being better quality than gold plated pieces that is prone to tarnishing.
Silver or gold?
Are you a gold girly or a silver sort of babe? This will be the first decision that you have to make. For me, I mostly wear gold jewellery day-to-day and my engagement ring is mostly gold, so it was a no-brainer to opt for the gold filled option. Meanwhile, my mum wears a mixture of silver and gold pieces, but ultimately decided to go for a silver chain for her piece.
Explaining the difference between the sterling silver and 14K gold filled, chains, Jemma said: “Sterling silver is an alloy that is made up of 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals, such as copper. It is a great option for permanent jewellery because it is durable. Sterling silver has been an industry leader for years and remains an extremely popular choice.
“14K Gold Filled is made by mechanically bonding a layer of gold to a base metal, such as brass. Suppliers specify that it is typically 100x stronger than its gold plated counterpart as it contains 100x more solid gold matter. Though not indestructible, when cared for correctly gold filled can be as durable as solid gold.”
After you’ve decided which metal you’re going for, there are then a number of different chains to choose from – some thinner than others, some with more of an open link, with a range of simple or more intricate designs. It’s not an easy decision by any means, but you can try them on to see which style you prefer, and see how they look before it gets attached. I went for quite a thick and closed style chain, while mum’s was a little more decorative in its design – both equally as stunning, though.
Picking a charm
One of the biggest appeals about permanent jewellery is that you can customise them with charms, making for endless combinations to suit every personality. Links by Jemma Elizabeth currently stocks silver and gold initials, birthstones, moons, stars, suns, lightning bolts, evil eyes and more, all of which are made, again, from sterling silver or 14K gold filled metal that will last just as long as your bracelet or anklet.
After browsing the boxes of charms, Mum finally settled on a letter T – her initial – over a very cute feather, while I couldn’t resist a little birthstone charm. However, I didn’t choose my own birthday’s gem, instead, I went for May – an emerald – to match my engagement ring!
Getting the bracelet fitted
After deciding on your chain and charm combo, Jemma will help you find the perfect fit, which is typically the size of your wrist, plus a finger space. This not only allows the jewellery to hang beautifully, but is done so from a safety point of view, too. For example, if the bracelet was too tight and you had an injury, pregnancy or were sensitive to the heat and it caused swelling, the bracelet could pose an issue. Equally, if it’s too baggy it could catch on things or snag, making it more prone to breaking. Ultimately in these circumstances it’s preferable for the jewellery to break than cause an injury, since it can always be re-welded.
After finding the correct length, a jump ring is added onto which the charm slots. It’s this jump ring that gets sealed with the micro-welder, creating a seamless and permanent accessory. To weld the bracelet, Jemma protects the skin with a piece of fabric and uses specialist equipment to precisely ‘zap’ the metal. It’s done in a fraction of a second and you often can’t even tell where the join is, it’s that small and smooth. It’s a completely safe and pain-free experience, so there’s no need to worry if the words ‘permanent’ or ‘welding’ sounded scary at first.
Looking after your welded jewellery
During our appointment, Jemma explained everything simply and clearly, from the metal choices to the length of the bracelets, and how to take care of them going forward to ensure they last as long as possible, even giving us a little aftercare card and cleaning cloth.
Whilst permanent jewellery can be very strong and last for years, it’s still not 100% indestructible so being careful is key. For example, I had my bracelet tactically placed on my non-dominant hand – as did my mum – to ensure they wouldn’t take a battering. But, just in case your weld does become compromised at any point, keep your chain safe and the team can reweld for a £10 fee.
How to book Links by Jemma Elizabeth
At the moment, Links by Jemma Elizabeth is only operating on set dates. You can book with either Jemma or Rimmelle on their website. I find the easiest way to do this is select the type of appointment you want, then search ‘next available date’. If there are no dates available, the best place to look is via their Instagram account where new dates will be announced. But believe me, they go fast so I’d get those notifications turned on if I were you, especially if you want one this side of Christmas.
I’ve already booked in for my second appointment because I’m well and truly hooked. These timeless and zero maintenance accessories are a dream to wear and go with everything, so I’m really looking forward to adding to my collection of permanent pieces.