Hot off the catwalks, the latest jewelry trend being offered by high-end jewelry stores in New York and Los Angeles is referred to as Infinity jewelry.
So, what is it? Infinity bracelets are silver and gold chain bracelets permanently attached to the wearer. No catches, clasps, or magnets. Smooth and seamless all the way around. The jewelry represents infinity. No beginning - no end.
Mens wrist with two infinity bracelets.
Note there are no catches or fasteners.
The bracelets are attached to the wearer and then permanently closed. They are designed to be worn all the time and never taken off. Rather like a wedding ring that you never remove, these fixed in place bracelets are the perfect gift to express love, eternal commitment, or as a lasting reminder of a lost one. A modern alternative to a traditional engagement or friendship ring.
On a practical level, the lack of a connector means there is nothing to catch on clothing or potentially break. There are no weak spots.
with a high temperature gas torch.
Traditionally silver and gold jewelry chains are closed using high-temperature solder and gas torches. With high heat and chemicals required. So how is it possible to permanently attach a chain to someone’s wrist, whilst they are actually wearing it?
The solution is the Orion Pulse arc welders available from Pepetools. These welders allow small chains to be welded in a fraction of a second, with an instant spark. No high temperature, no chemicals. Quick, safe and simple. Nothing else offers the ability to fix jewelry actually on a customer’s wrist, like this. These state-of-the-art tools allow you to offer this bespoke service in house. Customers can select their chain, have it cut to their chosen length, and fixed onto their wrist immediately, in the store. Completed in just a couple of minutes and able to walk out wearing it.
All of the Orion welders are easily capable of welding small chains. The smaller entry models offer the chance to place a welder (with LCD screen) on the countertop, for fast and easy welding.
However, the large models do offer the addition of an illuminated microscope allowing ultra-precise welding of very fine chains. Perfectly designed for exactly this type of fine work. They also offer many more features within the software allowing settings to be saved for instant recall, and faster welding with more power.
Firstly, select the chain. Sterling silver and high carat gold chains are popular. The intention is that the bracelet will be worn for many years. Avoid using chains that have plated finishes such as white gold with rhodium plating as this may require replating and refinishing after a few years. This in turn would require the chain to be cut off, repolished, and then re-attached again.
A selection of silver chains all suitable for infinity welding.
Note they all have loose open links, which will be easy to cut and weld.
Important. The chains need to be thin and preferably belcher design. This means that it can be welded easily with just one or two pulses at low power with no heat. A larger or more complex chain will require more welds and could become hot, which we want to avoid, for the comfort and safety of the customer.
Top tip: - There are now new silver alloys available such as Argentium silver, which do not tarnish the same as traditional sterling. High carat gold such as 18k or 18ct may be a little too soft for fine chains intended to be worn permanently. Yellow gold, such as European 9ct or USA 14K are ideal as they are long lasting and highly resistant to tarnish.
The wearer does not want their bracelet to break during daily use, so it needs to be strong enough to last. There is also an additional consideration here regarding safety. Should the chain ever become caught on something, such as machinery or a door handle, the chain must be thin enough to break before causing danger to the user. This is a judgment for the jeweler to make and advise the customer. The temptation from the customer may be to have a very thick and strong chain, such as a thick curb permanently attached to their wrist, but this could represent a potential hazard if it gets caught.
Having selected a suitable chain, you need to measure the customer's wrist. Ideally, it needs to be short enough that it will not fall off the wrist and be lost. But it does not want to be tight. Consider the thickness of the customer's wrist. Ensure the wrist is free to move without restriction. If the customer has a clasp bracelet already, the welded bracelet can be a little shorter as there is no need to allow for any overlap to fasten it. Use a traditional flexible tape measure.
Use a traditional tape, to measure the customers wrist.
Top tip: - use a sharpie marker to mark the link you are going to cut (and re-weld). Once reconnected it will be impossible to spot the open link. So, mark it.
Cut to length. You can just use flush cutters to snip the chain to length. But depending on the design this will mean cutting a link or two in half. A more efficient way is to ‘open’ a link. Use fine flush cutters to cut the link just at one end. Use fine needle-nose pliers or sturdy tweezers to open the link. Ensure the cut link is marked before reattaching, so you can find it again.
Top tip: cut the link on one end.
The weld will then be invisible and hidden when worn.
also there is no wastage.
Top tip: - it is important not to twist the chain. Lay it flat and straight on the countertop with no twists and ask the customer to lay their wrist on top of it. Carefully pick up each end, and without twisting it, use needle-nose pliers, or tweezers to hook the other end of the chain onto the open link and close it. Check for fit and ensure it is not twisted.
The customer's wrist needs to be laid flat underneath the welder. A pad or small towel may be nice to give a clean comfortable surface to rest on. Don’t ask customers to lay their hands and clean clothes across a dirty jewelers bench. If you are using one of the smaller welders with the LCD screen, you may need to adjust it quite high, to enable space for the wrist. The larger models with microscopes allow the welder to be swung into position and then swung out of the way when complete – a great solution.
Caution. Remember that the welding electrode is very sharp and could potentially stab the customer. Remind the customer to keep their wrist still whilst aligning the welder, or perhaps cover the tip of the electrode with a plastic cap or piece of cork, until ready to weld.
The welders create a bright flash. The jeweler is either working through an LCD screen or via the microscope (with an integrated shutter). But the customer will usually want to see this spark, as part of the experience. Whilst only a single split-second tiny flash, their eyes should ideally be protected from the flash and the UV. Provide them with UV protective safety glasses, whilst perfuming the weld. This also adds to the experience for the customer.
UV Safety glasses are recommended for the customer.
Although not necessary, you may wish to place a small square of leather or suede over the customer's wrist, under the area to be welded.
Settings will vary depending on the chain, the material, and the power of the welder. But the smaller electrode, sharpened to a fine point, with a low setting of around 5 W is usually sufficient to weld fine chains.
remember, although the chain may be wide, you are in fact only welding a single strand of a single link.
Attach the welder's crocodile clip to the chain, and using your fingers offer up the link to the electrode (standing off from the customer's skin). The mPulse uses 'touch' setting. As soon as the electrode touches the chain it will weld. The larger units allow the option of foot pedal control, which is a great bonus for fine work like this. The electrode can be placed in the precise spot, touching the chain. When you are happy with the position, advise the customer and you simply press the foot pedal to weld. This avoids any accidental firing if the customer moves and is a more accurate method of working.
Foot pedal, supplied with some of the larger welders.
Tip: - when working on fine items, it is often better to use two blasts of low power, rather than one high power blast which could simply melt the tiny link. If in doubt, practice first on a few links of the chain. You will likely find the same setting can be used for all your chains if they are all a similar size.
The larger units recharge much faster and can apply multiple welds in rapid succession. This can quickly cause heat to build up. Use single fire setting. If you need to weld several times, wait a second before firing the next one. Once completed, wait for a second and check with your fingers that the chain is not warm before releasing it onto the customer's wrist.
Welders do not use flux, like traditional soldering, so there is no cleanup. You may see a small black mark (soot), on the welded link. Simply wipe the chain with a jewelry polishing cloth and you’re all done. The weld should be invisible and the chain seamless. DONE !
The ability to permanently weld jewelry in situ on a customer's wrist in this manner is only made possible with the creation of these state-of-the-art pulse welders. Once again highlighting their incredible speed and versatility. The Orion welders allow you to offer in house services and repairs, with a speed and accuracy not previously available.
Pro tip:- The larger units such as the 150s and 250s have many features which make them ideal for this delicate work.
- The microscope allowing finer work.
- Programable settings
- Adjustable swing arm
- Foot pedal control.
The latest 200i model has all of the above features and also has a sophisticated control system designed to give the maximum weld, with minimal heat. The compact design, shows the LCD touch screen mounted on the arm. As the 2001 controls are on the arm, the main power unit could be placed under the counter and just the swing arm attached to the counter top, allowing it to be swung out when needed. But out of the way when not in use. Making a very neat solution ideal for customer facing counter top placement.
Remember too that the welder has many uses for repairs, manufacturing and customisation. allowing 'while you wait' in house services such as adjusting chains, attaching jump rings and quick repairs to precious and costume jewelry.
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