TikTok viral brand just opened their first Toronto store in the Shangri-La hotel

Things have gotten sparkly at the Shangri-La with the opening of Vancouver-based jewelry brand Leah Alexandra’s new flagship Toronto location. The Canadian company, named after its founder Leah Belford, opened its doors earlier this month, giving shoppers a whole new meaning to finding that one, timeless piece.

You may recognize Leah Alexandra from the brand’s viral TikTok videos, highlighting the latest craze in jewelry: permanent bracelets. Best friends and jewelry fans alike chronicled their experience making their arm candy everlasting at the brand’s Spark Studio, a unique experience where buyers purchase a delicate 14-karat gold, 10-karat gold or sterling silver chain and have it permanently welded onto their wrist. Videos of the experience have garnered over 2 million views on TikTok. The process takes no longer than 15 minutes and happens right in store. Prices range from $35 – $315 and you can even personalize it by adding on pearl or sapphire details for an additional charge.

In Toronto, the Spark Studio started as a pop-up inside the hotel before becoming a mainstay – and lineups were around the block with some eager shoppers waiting hours to secure their permanent piece. Today, you’ll have to wait over eight weeks to get sparked, with appointment availability booked up until early February.

Though not quite as common in Canada, perma-bracelets have become increasingly trendy in the US, with Brooklyn-based jewelry brand Catbird popularizing the trend, “zapping” dainty gold chains on customers looking to immortalize friendships, romantic relationships or commemorate something else special.

Other brands, like LA-based HannahK, have followed suit, offering jewel-heads the chance to make their bracelets virtually impossible to lose.

In Toronto, a fellow west coast brand Melanie Auld just opened up shop this month, and the boutique features a welded bracelet experience as well.

The trend toward permanent jewelry is nothing new – in fact, it’s a classic marker of permanence. Take for example the wedding ring – worn to represent commitment and eternal love, people have been donning these for centuries and designer brands have followed suit, looking to jump on the “diamonds are forever” bandwagon. In 1969, iconic brand Cartier launched the Love Bracelet, a simple gold cuff that came with a screwdriver so you could fasten the piece to your wrist. “How far would you go for love?” the item’s slogan boldly asks. It looks like, even all these years later, people are willing to go pretty far.

At Leah Alexandra, the chains are thin and can last decades, too, but can be removed with scissors if, say, you needed an MRI one day. Perhaps it’s the understanding that the permanence is as threadbare as the chain itself that makes these so appealing – if you need it gone one day, it’s as easy as a snip.

In an ever-changing world filled with chaos, it’s no surprise people gravitate toward this mark of solidity, a sense of security that no matter what happens in your life, you have something everlasting fastened tightly to your person.

Head down to 188 University Ave. shop to see for yourself.

Article exclusive to STREETS OF TORONTO