Pandora bracelets have become immensely popular in the past few years. No surprise – there is a huge variety of designs to choose from, they can be both adorable and super chic, they are very easy to put together, and the charms come both with and without “dangles”.
These gorgeous bracelets can, however, be quite expensive, and if you stick to the real thing, are not something you would get on a whim (for most people anyway). I consider them an investment for the future, and a great heirloom to be passed down for generations. And since Pandora releases new charms every season AND retire old ones, some are already collector’s items, worth quite a bit more than when they were first released.
In light of that, it is important to look out for cheap reproductions and convincing fakes. There are lots of copies in circulation, some even with the Pandora logo. I’m not talking about companies that openly state that what they sell are Pandora compatible charms, but rather those unethical individuals who try to pass off their cheap creations as the real thing.
How do you know if it’s a real Pandora charm? Look for the marks 925 (sterling silver), 585 (gold) and the letters ALE (the intials of Pandora’s founder’s Father). Newer items (after 2007) also carry a crown symbol. Obviously always buy from a reputable seller, and if you’re shopping “in person”, hold the charm in your hand – a real Pandora bead is usually heavier than a fake one.
There are many sites that have a “build a bracelet” function, and you can assemble an entire bracelet right there on the screen. However, they may not have all the beads you want, and if that’s the case, just find the site that has the most of the beads you want, put a partial one together there and buy the remaining beads somewhere else.
I recently put together this green-brown bracelet which I love, and the price tag of $1,355.00 is not what I would call incredibly affordable, but again, if you consider it a future heirloom, it’s not that bad.
This blue one ended up at $955
And this one, with all gold charms (well, one is a silver/gold mix) landed on the gasp-inducing sum of $6,865.00 (how gorgeous it is though!)
It goes without saying that these make ideal gifts, and many sites also have wish lists where you can add your favorite charms, which others then can see and purchase for you. It may take a while to get a full bracelet this way, but it will be one filled with memories (the bead you got from Grandma on your birthday, the Christmas gift from Aunt Sadie, that gorgeous diamond Destiny charm your parents gave you for your graduation, etc.).
They also have these long leather cords (and poly cords) intended for use as necklaces, but I love them with a few beads here and there and wrapped several times around the wrist as a bracelet. It’s creates a nice “designer beach bum” look, similar to those leather wrap bracelets we have seen so much this summer, but with a personal twist, since you get to choose the beads.
Update: they just added a four-strand cord bracelet to their collection, which creates almost the look I was creating with the leather necklace before. It is designed so that the charms fit over all four cords, and you can add a few or fill the whole thing up. It ties together, so you can make it any size you want.
Putting Them Together
If you’ve ever seen one of these bracelets, you know that they have three sections, each separated by a little threaded part (to keep the beads in each section). The beads and spacers need to be added from the end of the bracelet, screwed on over each set of threads, until you get them in the position you would like them to be.
The clips are beads that are designed to go over the screw parts and hide them, and these you just clip on. I kind of wish the entire bracelet was designed that way because the only thing I’m not crazy about with these is the fact that if you want to add a bead in a specific spot among the other beads, you have to unscrew all the ones in front of where you want your new bead to go, add your new bead, and then put all the others back on again.
The classic Pandora lock mechanism can be a bit of a challenge to open (be careful if you just got a manicure!), but thankfully, there is a now a lock opener to help save your nails (and, for some of us, not having to go look for another family member to open them for you). It is really cute, a little flat silver flower (so smart of Pandora to make that a piece of jewelry in itself) and has a hole punched in it, so you can easily hang it on your purse, keychain, or use it as a pendant around your neck to keep it handy at all times.
For more on Pandora, don’t miss the Pandora Jewelry story, the Anniversary Pandora Bracelets, Pandora Charm News, Pandora charms for fall, and Authentic Pandora Charms And Bracelets vs. Pandora Style Beads posts.