When it comes to giving a gift with meaning, jewellery is right up there for its timelessness and thoughtfulness.
Now, a wave of jewellers have taken the concept of a forever piece up a notch, with the launch of bling that is quite literally welded onto your person — also known as permanent jewellery. No clasp, and no removing without taking pliers to the chain.
It’s a trend powered by TikTok (aren’t they all?) and the “welded jewellery” tag already has more than three billion views.
While it’s gained massive traction this year, it was actually pioneered by Italian jewellery label Atelier VM, which first launched welded bracelets back in 2014. Named L’Essenziale, the appointment-only service is offered at the Atelier VM counter in Liberty London and uses a welding machine to bond 18ct yellow, rose or white gold bracelets in four thicknesses ranging from £210 - £1,300, with the option to personalise with a variety of charms including classic pearls, white diamonds, gold lettering and acrylic symbols.
“The collection was designed to celebrate a memory, moment or bond,” says Atelier VM co-founder Viola Naj Oleari. “L’Essenziale is a piece of jewellery, but it is also an experience, a gesture, a human interaction… It is a promise that connects us to someone or something, even to ourselves.”
Our post-pandemic desire for IRL experiences is what inspired Alkemistry founder Kirstie Gibbs, ex-Luxury Jewellery Buyer at Harrods, to re-launch her brand’s welding concept ‘Hive’ in September. “Our welded jewellery not only provides a gift that will last forever, but also gives people a reason to come into London and make a memory together,” she says. Alkemistry customers can choose from an 18ct gold ring, bracelet, necklace or anklet chains in three colours (yellow, white and rose) and two thicknesses for £95-£550, welded at the brand’s Covent Garden flagship.
“Technology has advanced so much in jewellery, the days of burning hot torches to melt solder are gone, bringing forth safe and heatless ways to join gold,” continues Gibbs. “This advance means we can create bespoke pieces in front of the customer’s eyes.”
And whether you plan to book in to get matching forever bracelets with your bestie, your mother or your lover, it’s a gift that facilitates a fun day out together too. "We want our stores to feel like playgrounds for jewellery lovers, so welding was an opportunity to take this to the next level,” says Connie Nam, Founder & CEO of Astrid & Miyu, who launched welding in her brand’s Notting Hill and Kings Road stores in September 2020 and has seen a “huge surge in Gen Z customers this year thanks to TikTok.”
The brand offers super-fine solid gold bracelets in either yellow or white 9k gold for £120 that can be personalised with a dainty birthstone charm for an additional £30. “What started as something predominantly gifted between friends, we’re now seeing a shift and more young couples getting the matching sets.”
Could welded bling be the new engagement ring?
3 of the best places to buy welded jewellery
£210 - £1,300
Appointments in store at Liberty London; libertylondon.com
Appointments at Alkemsitry store, 22 Floral Street, Covent Garden; thealkemistry.com
ASTRID & MIYU
£120 for chain + £30 for any charms
Appointments at the Astrid & Miyu Notting Hill and Kings Road stores; astridandmiyu.com