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‘Permanent’ Jewelry in Gold Is Becoming a Classic

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On a recent summer afternoon, the Percy jewelry counter on the top floor at Galeries Lafayette Champs-Élysées was busy, some shoppers inquiring about piercings, but most waiting to receive the brand’s Eternum chain, made of gold. Fragile links that are soldered – forever.

“It’s like a gem-encrusted tattoo,” said Naval Laoui, founder and owner of Percy, a Parisian brand that specializes in diamonds. “Customers love the idea of ​​having a second-skin bracelet that can be forgotten for its lightness, but remembered for its uniqueness. It is a strong symbol of the bond that connects you, which will never again be severed.”

The chains – available in 18-karat white, yellow or pink gold and with links 0.6 millimeters (0.02 in), 0.8 millimeters and 1.0 millimeters wide – can actually be cut with pliers if necessary. But Ms. Lauie, who is a frequent flier, stressed that her Eternum bracelets and rings have never caused a problem at airport security. (However, they will probably have to be removed for an MRI or surgery.)

The popularity of such “timeless” jewelry has grown over the past few years, said JB Jones, co-founder of NYC Jewelry Week.

“In 2019, we hosted a party for the start of NYC Jewelry Week and we had a guest jeweler on site doing permanent bracelets,” she wrote in an email. Catbird, a Brooklyn-based jewelry company, also recently started offering sustainable bracelets in stores. At that time, I didn’t think that this trend would become a staple of the jewelery wardrobe in 2023, but it has.”

Ms Jones said she believes such permanent jewelery has become popular, at least partly, because it is a status symbol. “Most obviously in the case of the Cartier Love bracelet,” she wrote, referring to the bangle, which comes with its own screwdriver. “But there is also an undefined human connection with jewellery: jewelery is beautiful, it feels good and it means something, often something very important to us – whether it is given by a best friend, family member or lover. gone – that’s why we sometimes don’t want to take it off.”

Since Percy introduced its version of the style in November 2021, Ms Lauie said, customers of all ages and genders have bought them. Prices for bracelets, the most popular item, range from 200 to 360 euros, or $220 to $395. “Clients,” she said, “often mention special events such as weddings, anniversaries or graduation ceremonies.”

The brand now serves Paris; London; New York; Doha, Qatar; Kuwait; and Dubai, United Arab Emirates. And it plans to open a store in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, this autumn.

When Martine de Limburg Stirum and Margaux Faure Fare met 10 years ago, they found they both shared an interest in art and have been friends ever since. Ms Stirum, 52, lives in Brussels, but her work in the contemporary art industry often brings her to Paris, where Ms Ferré, 41, owns a fashion and luxury consulting agency.

And the women were together for Ms Ferre’s wedding on Italy’s Amalfi Coast in July. Ms. Ferre said, “Martine was my maid of honor.” “We decided to take the chain as a symbol of our friendship.”

“Physically we see less of each other,” Ms. Stirum said, “but this piece of jewelry allows us to rekindle a bond through both its form and its symbolism, while being a beautiful piece of jewelry. Will allow to make from. It’s beautiful and timeless and has a minimalist feel.”

They’d made an appointment through the Percy website and, over the counter, discussed the chain’s weight, color (“white gold or yellow gold?” wondered Ms. Ferre) and how to wear it (“should it go with me”). started doing look or the other way?” he asked his friend).

In the end, the women chose the thinnest chain, with Ms. Stirum getting it made in yellow gold on her right wrist and Ms. Ferre in white gold on her left.

Percy technician, Leslie Dion, pulled the ends of selected chains from large rolls under the counter, wrapped each woman’s wrist and then cut the correct length with her pliers.

Ms. Ferre then sat down in a plush royal-blue chair next to Ms. Dion, and placed her hand under the laser beam point, facing the welding machine. The laser has low intensity, so neither the welder nor the customer need to wear safety glasses during the process.

Ms. Dion, using two pairs of tweezers to hold the ends of the chain together, pushed Ms. Ferre’s wrist at a right angle, explaining, “I have to find the two links of the chain and put them face to face.” “The laser will melt the metal and bond the links together.”

The customer doesn’t feel anything during the welding, he said, and although each process is slightly different, the process takes less than five minutes.

A professional welder working for Percy trained Ms Dion to operate the machine. “It’s not difficult,” she said, “but you need precision and confidence.”

In addition to bracelets, Percy also offers anklets for €350 – “very popular in the summer,” Ms Laoui said – and rings for €90 to €130. Diamond charms can be added to any chain configuration, starting at €200.

“The material is so delicate you almost forget it’s there,” Ms Ferre said after the welding was done. “It’s discreet and elegant, you can wear it day or night, it’s not conspicuous and it matches well with other jewelry or a watch.”

The next clients were Hani Forestier and Peter Schwab, both visiting from New York City, where she works as a freelance illustrator and he produces photo and video shoots, among other activities.

Ms Forestier, 31, said: “I’m French, but I moved to New York 10 years ago to study fine arts.”

“We met eight years ago on the dance floor at a party,” Mr. Schwab, 32, said. “It was a classic spontaneous NYC night.” Since then both are close friends.

Without any hesitation they both settled on white gold. Ms. Forestier said, “We’re finding matching ones.” He got the thinnest chain, while Mr. Schwab, 32, got the thickest (“It’s more manly,” he said).

He chose to wear it on his right wrist, as opposed to the 70s steel Rolex he always wears on his left. Ms. Forestier raised her left wrist; She said that she doesn’t often wear bracelets.

He had also booked an appointment online. “We came together in Paris for a few weeks and it’s a French brand and it’s a symbol of our friendship,” Mr Schwab said.

Ms Forestier completed her sentence: “And it is very attractive and easy to keep that symbol forever.

“If it wasn’t that brand, I wouldn’t have committed to it. You don’t really feel it; It’s so light you’ll almost forget it’s there.”

Mr. Schwab said he shared that sentiment: “I’m not at all concerned about the forever aspect.”

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