There’s a growing social media trend that might give body modifications like piercings and tattoos a run for their money. Permanent jewellery is a painless form of self-expression that has grown in popularity among those looking for an accessory. Sarah Sides, the CEO and founder of Love Weld, has over a decade of experience in the jewellery market.
Sides claimed she found the origins of permanent jewellery with Hannah Keefe, a permanent jewellery maker who used a blow torch to produce permanent bangles, after working in trend and market research for one of the leading fair trade jewellery companies. One of the Sides’ inspirations, Catbird NYC, developed the word “zapping” for their permanent jewellery collection.
Fox News Digital reached out to Catbird NYC for comment. “The idea kind of consumed me. I became obsessed with this,” Sides told Fox News Digital. Bracelets are the least desirable jewellery category due to fit, according to Sides.
“As grown-ups, it was kind of taking us back to that time in middle school where you are making friendship bracelets, and you really feel like you are a part of something special.”
— Sarah Sides
“Bracelets are like shoes in that you need the right size to fit your wrist,” Sides explained. Sides saw this design as more than a trend, but rather a “brand that could stand on its own,” she said. After experimenting with early welding technology in 2019, Sides started the company in 2020 from her garage with a “Galentine’s Day” event for her close girlfriends.
“It was magic. As grown-ups, it was kind of taking us back to that time in middle school where you are making friendship bracelets, and you really feel like you are a part of something special,” Sides said.
She will then launch her first storefront in Austin in May 2021. “Permanent jewellery is all we do. I have a team of 30-plus individuals who eat, sleep and breathe welding,” Sides commented.
Sides developed and named the bracelet chains at Love Weld after people who have impacted her life, starting with her three sisters, Emily, Caroline, and Hannah. “When creating the permanent jewellery line, [we landed on something that] needs to be durable but comfortable and lightweight,” Sides noted.
“The idea is that it’s just like a second skin.”
“I see a lot of people who see this as a fun, less scary alternative to a piercing or tattoo, but still the same shared experience.”
Sides has had several clients who came in for a clasped bracelet but later returned wanting to make it permanent. Depending on the chain used, permanent jewellery is either fastened by a barely visible jump ring hidden inside the chain or is welded to itself.
Welders will utilize a stylus with a needle at one end to use electricity to melt the ring or open space together, coupled with a grounding wire to keep the spark contained. “It kind of gives you the thrill of a tattoo or piercing without the pain,” Sides noted.
Sides has seen her fair share of clients come into Love Weld with the intention of receiving a permanent bracelet after cancelling a tattoo appointment.
“I see a lot of people who see this as a fun, less scary alternative to a piercing or tattoo, but still the same shared experience,” Sides said. Permanent jewellery can be used to commemorate loved ones or to express love and friendship.
According to Fox News Digital, Alayna Sepic documented her permanent bracelet journey on TikTok after buying one with her closest friend from Brave Daughters in Boston, Massachusetts.
“I really like that you can get a 14-karat gold band because it doesn’t tarnish or stretch overtime, and it’s always on my wrist without having to worry about losing or misplacing it,” Sepic shared.