By Andy Jensen
The most important tool your permanent jewelry or permanent bracelet business needs is a permanent jewelry welder. For good or bad, there are several purchase options that range in price from USD $100 to USD $6,000, which can be confusing.
Rather than focusing on the pricing confusion, you may wish to focus on choosing the permanent jewelry welder that meets these five key features:
Let's never forget that permanent jewelry requires welding next to skin. Your customers' safety must be your number one concern. Choose a welder that has UL, ETL, CSA, and/or CE certification. UL and ETL are the safety certifications for the United States, CSA for Canada, and EU for the European Union. Your permanent jewelry welder should sport one or more of these safety certifications, as shown here. Choosing a welder without these certifications is a risk to you and your customers.
Quick, easy access to customer service may not seem that big of deal when purchasing your permanent jewelry welder. When you're in the middle of a pop-up event and something seems to be amiss, being able to make a quick call and get assistance suddenly becomes extremely important. When you think you've found the right permanent jewelry welder, make sure it's backed by local customer service with technicians who know every inch of the welder. And never confuse a salesman for a technician!
Without a permanent jewelry welder you won't be generating revenue. But, stuff happens and your business plan needs to account for the risk that your welder may stop working. Should your welder need repair, how easy will it be to get the service you need in a quick and confident manner? More importantly, if the defect is on the manufacturer, is the welder under warranty? Usually, the longer the warranty, the better the craftsmanship found in the welder. Also ask about expanded protection plans, like Sunstone's Circle Plan, which covers the welder for as long as you remain a member of the plan.
When I refer to "usability" I'm talking about ease of use, from the first time you use your permanent jewelry welder to the present. For example, the digital touchscreen interface on the Orion mPulse permanent jewelry welder, as shown here, corrals the user experience into a single energy setting, which simplifies the learning curve. I also recommend you avoid welders that were manufactured to serve a different purpose or entirely different industry. Leave the dental welders, industrial welders, and hobby welders to dental labs, industrialists, and hobbyists—you're none of them. Elevate your professionalism by elevating your choice of tools.
Experienced permanent jewelry artists know that mobility is helpful for pop-up's. Many are placing their permanent jewelry welders in a carrying case along with their inventory of chain, tools, and accessories. The smaller the welder, the less it will weigh and the easier it will be to transport from one event to the other. That said, don't sacrifice the first four key features for the last. In other words, certification, service, warranty, and usability trump welder size.
As I mentioned earlier, you'd be doing yourself a huge disfavor by choosing a permanent jewelry welder based on price alone. Look at the whole picture and lend some weight to the manufacturer. How long has the manufacturer been in business? Is the manufacturer championing the permanent jewelry business? Does the manufacturer have a vested interest in seeing your permanent jewelry business succeed? Sunstone, for example, is leveraging 18 years of micro welding experience and technology to support the permanent jewelry business.
A quick Google search will result in a list of several different welders, all which can supposedly help you close a fine gold chain. To find the best permanent jewelry welder for you, consider the welder's safety certification, customer service options, warranty, usability, size, and manufacturer's reputation. You'll quickly see a clear winner, which is most likely the same permanent jewelry welder used by more artists than any other. But I'll let you do the math.