By Andy Jensen
The fashion, jewelry, and tattoo industries are ever-changing stages for new trends. One that has recently caught fire is permanent jewelry, and people are lining up to have a chain of gold, platinum, or any type of metal permanently welded around their wrist or ankle.
The permanency begs two questions: How do you permanently attach a chain? Why would you want to?
Let’s tackle the first question. In the permanent jewelry world, an open chain link is used to connect both ends of the chain and then welded together. Unless you break or cut the chain with wire cutters, it’ll stay attached forever.
Now, for the second question: Why? For all the same reasons that drive us to be unique, daring, and bold. A permanent bracelet can remind you of love or friendship; it’s like a wedding band that never comes off.
Coco Chanel, the iconic fashionista of the 1900’s said, “In order to be irreplaceable, one must be different.” You can bet Coco would be first in line for her permanent bracelet.
The permanency is the main attraction, but there are two additional benefits to permanent jewelry. With no clasp, the jewelry will never get hung up on clothing, nor ever become inadvertently unclasped and lost. When you replace the clasp with a solid welded link, you never have to worry about losing something dear to your heart.
Demand is strong. A Tik Tok search indicated more than 161 million views, and that’s just one social media platform! Unarguably, it’s a trend that is gaining speed. The demand is there, but how do you get started?
The Secret Permanent Jewelry Tool
With an Orion pulse arc welder you can close a chain in the blink of an eye. The welder has a tiny footprint, uses a normal electrical outlet, requires little training on the part of the artist, is harmless, completes the job in a fraction of a second, and is surprisingly affordable.
The Orion pulse arc welder is a micro welder, so think tiny. Using electricity, the welder will heat, melt, and join the two ends of a link together forever. The heat is localized to a very small spot and can be touched without harm just seconds later.
How It can Work in Your Studio
The first thing that happens is your customer selects a chain. You measure out and cut the correct length, which will leave an open link on the chain. Place the chain around the customer’s wrist or ankle. Using pliers, close the ends of the link together, then touch the ends with the tip of the electrode to weld it closed.
The Business Model Explained
The entire process, from choosing the chain to closing the sale, is measured in minutes. How much can you charge for a permanent bracelet or anklet? That depends on the type of chain, but you should be able to charge $30-$150 for a bracelet. If you average only five permanent bracelets per day, you’ll generate $150 on the low end and $750 on the high end every day. That’s a significant new source of revenue and a quick return on your investment in the Orion pulse arc welder.
Watching Out for Customer Safety
When it comes to customer safety. Avoid plated finishes, such as white gold with rhodium plating, which will rub off over time. Solid metal chains are more suitable. The chain design also matters. Stick to simple designs as more complex designs will require more welding, more time, advanced skills, or all of the above. Best to keep it simple.
High karat golds, like 18 karat and above, may be too soft for a fine chain intended to be worn indefinitely. Ten karat and 14 karat alloys, on the other hand, are better options as they are less likely to tarnish and are more durable.
As the operator, you’ll be viewing the welding process through an ADL, or auto darkening lens, that protects your eyes from the light coming from the weld. Watching many welds without protection can damage your eyesight. For your customer, you may want to ask them to don a pair of UV protective lenses, and you’ll want to instruct anyone who may be watching to look away during the weld.
Your customer should choose a chain that won’t break during normal wear and tear; however, should that chain get caught in a door or in machinery, they do want the chain to break and spare them injury. One more thing: If your customer ever requires an MRI, all jewelry must be removed.
The Right Equipment
For permanent jewelry the Orion mPulse and Orion 100c will provide all the energy you need: About five joules for fine chains. Each model uses a touchscreen interface. Simply use your finger to increase or decrease energy levels.
The mPulse and 100c are available with microscope options, which is great for small chains because, quite frankly, you can’t weld what you can’t see. The optics replace the ADL and allow you to be much more accurate in placing the weld. Plus, the optics are mounted to an articulating arm, which can be swung out of the way. You can add the optics for a nominal fee.
Pulse arc welding requires argon gas. Argon is an inert gas; it’s non-flammable, non-toxic, has no smell, no color, and exists naturally in the atmosphere. The argon acts as a shielding agent during the weld, preventing messy oxidation, leaving a cleaner weld.
To make a simple business idea even more simple, Sunstone offers a permanent jewelry kit that includes everything you need to get started: Welder, gas, UV safety, pliers, leather skin barrier, and starter chain. With the kit you can offer your customers a permanent jewelry solution the same day it arrives.