By definition, external beauty is fleeting, echoed by the fact that the cosmetic surgery industry is booming. Still, there are many types of body modifications and beauty procedures that are meant to be permanent, like tattoos and piercings.
Recently, another long-term fashion craze has hit the public, thanks to TikTok, as usual. We’re talking about the new trend called permanent jewelry.
Usually, they are bracelets or necklaces made of simple chain designs, attached to the wearer and then welded shut—without a clasp—so there is no way for the wearer to take it off. Below you’ll find examples of permanent jewelry by Catbird Jewelry and Itty Bitty Bling.
Permanent jewelry is the latest trend to sweep social media (Credit: @ittybittybling / Instagram)
The idea may leave some of you scratching your heads, but permanent jewelry is the next big thing in bling. Here’s everything you need to know about the permanent jewelry trend.
How did permanent jewelry become popular?
Like many fashion trends, permanent jewelry is not a new idea, as many cultures have participated in this practice for thousands of years. For example, some Kayan women in Thailand, Myanmar, and Vietnam wear golden coil necklaces that elongate the neck over time.
It has also been seen in popular culture, beginning in the 1960s with the Cartier Love bracelet, which can only be removed using a specific, tiny screwdriver.
Kayan women are known for wearing brass neck rings around their necks to make them appear longer (Credit: CappaPhoto / Shutterstock)
The permanent jewelry of today is a bit different, though. It first caught the public’s eye on TikTok, as brands like Catbird and Stone and Strand went viral for debuting delicate, golden chains that were meant to last the wearer forever.
@brittany.xavier never taking them off ✨ #momanddaughter #catbird #nyc #dailyvlog ♬ Music For a Sushi Restaurant – Harry Styles
Though the idea may not appeal to everyone, permanent jewelry has become wildly popular for a number of reasons.
First, permanent jewelry has become a wonderful way for friends to show their love for one another. In fact, Catbird refers to permanent jewelry as “the ultimate friendship bracelet” (Stone and Strand refer to them as “bond bracelets”), and many customers will come in with a close friend to get permanent jewelry together as a physical representation of their loyalty to one another.
Permanent jewelry has become a way for friends to show their bond and love for one another (Credit: @catbirdnyc / Instagram)
Permanent jewelry is also a great way to commemorate an event. Much like getting inked with a meaningful tattoo, permanent jewelry is a great way to celebrate a wedding, graduation, divorce, or other momentous occasions.
The last reason why permanent jewelry has become so popular is simple: it is the ultimate lazy accessory. There’s no need to worry about sorting through a jewelry box and untangling bracelets or necklaces to add the finishing touch to your outfit. With permanent jewelry—you’re already accessorized!
How do I get permanent jewelry?
Permanent jewelry is a bit of a novelty item, so not every jewelry store in town will be able to give you a forever bracelet.
Luckily, many jewelry stores or sellers specialize in permanent jewelry—like Catbird, Marisa Mason, or Anna Janelle Jewelry—and many will do pop-up shops in different locations if you aren’t near a store.
Permanent bracelets or necklaces have no clasps and are attached to the wearer by welding the chain (Credit: Catbird)
Be prepared to shell out a pretty penny, though. The materials used in permanent jewelry are expensive, gold being the most popular, and welding the chain shut permanently requires some expertise. Baribault Jewelers estimates that you may pay anywhere from $245 to $375 and up.
Things to consider before getting permanent jewelry
As cool as having a bracelet on your arm forever may sound, there are a few logistics issues that should be addressed. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Depending on the type of chain, permanent jewelry can be very delicate. Even though it is meant to last forever, if you aren’t careful, your permanent jewelry may only last a month or two.
Permanent jewelry is often made from thin, delicate chains (Credit: @ittybittybling / Instagram)
Luckily, if you really don’t want to wear it anymore, permanent jewelry can be snipped off with a pair of scissors.
2. If you’re a frequent flier, be aware that you may have some issues with the TSA. Though the TSA doesn’t usually ask fliers to remove fine jewelry, you may need to explain that you can’t take it off.
Frequent fliers might need to explain to TSA that they cannot remove their permanent jewelry (Credit: @ittybittybling / Instagram)
3. Permanent jewelry gets tarnished and damaged over time, likely faster than removable jewelry because it’s worn 24/7.
Gold is a very soft metal and can be scratched and bent easily, while silver tarnishes, turning into a dark brown or green color, and will need to be regularly cleaned.
Permanent jewelry, be it gold or silver, can tarnish over time (Credit: @ittybittybling / Instagram)