If your favorite necklace or bracelet already goes to work, to bed, and to the shower with you, the jewelry trend all over TikTok might be right up your alley. Because permanent jewelry is quite literally jewelry that you can’t take off. New York-based jewelry studio Catbird started the trend back in 2017. And thanks to social media, it’s taken off — with 2 billion views on TikTok alone. But there are a few things you need to know before you pick out your chain — including whether it's safe.
What is permanent jewelry?
Permanent jewelry is a necklace, anklet, or (more commonly) a bracelet that doesn’t have a typical clasp for easy removal. Instead, the ends are welded or “zapped” together — with the intention of never taking it off. Similar to tattoos, the bracelets can have a personal meaning behind them — friends or family members often get a matching set. Consider this a major upgrade from the yarn-and-bead friendship bracelets you used to make.
Is permanent jewelry safe?
Generally, yes. It only takes one-to-three painless minutes to get a permanent necklace or bracelet, and the welding tools don’t touch your skin. But one concerned TikTok doctor called out other potential hazards with permanent bracelets — like the fact that any swelling from heat, injuries, or pregnancy could make your permanent jewelry too tight.
Another thing to be mindful of: Skin allergies. Gold can contain traces of nickel. So if you have a nickel allergy (like an estimated 18% of North America does, according to the American Academy of Dermatology Association), you may want to steer clear. A reaction to nickel might include red, itchy skin, blisters, or dry patches. If you’re not sure if you have a nickel allergy, your doctor can perform a patch test to see how your skin reacts. Pro tip: The higher the karat, the less likely the gold is to contain nickel. Permanent bracelets are often made of 14 karat gold, which is enough for some people to avoid a rash. Others might need to opt for 18 or 24 karat.
But can permanent jewelry be removed?
Even though permanent jewelry sounds pretty, ahem, permanent, you don’t have to keep it forever. If you have to take it off (like if you notice a reaction to the jewelry, travel frequently or need to get an MRI), a pair of scissors can snip it right off. You can even save the chain and have it re-welded later on.
Move over, tattoos. Permanent jewelry is the new commitment symbol in town. But before you look up your closest permanent jeweler, keep your own skin sensitivities in mind — and make sure you have a pair of scissors at home.
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