Posts Tagged ‘pandora jewelry’

The Pandora Jewelry Story

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

As I mentioned in my Pandora Bracelet post, Pandora charms and bracelets have become incredibly popular over the past few years, and they are a perfect example of how a simple (good) idea can turn into a worldwide phenomenon (for another, very similar, example, see the Thomas Sabo Charm post). All it takes is determination, a bit of business savvy, and believing in your product.

The Pandora jewelry company was started in 1979 by Danish goldsmith Per Enevoldsen (and his then wife Winnie). Per’s father, Algot Enevoldsen, was also a jeweler, a silversmith who made wonderful, modernistic jewelry in the 1950s, and it is his initials (ALE) that are stamped on all authentic Pandora pieces (the hallmark has belonged to the family since 1950). You will see ALE 925 on sterling silver charms, and ALE 585 (14k) or ALE 750 (18k) on gold charms. For more, also see my Authentic Pandora Charms And Bracelets vs. Pandora Style Beads post.

Photo: Jeweller Magazine

Per and Winnie opened their first store in Copenhagen in 1979, selling Per’s designs. The Enevoldsens traveled frequently to Thailand, and in 1982, they started importing Thai jewelry and selling in their store. The business was doing very well, and as demand for their products increased, they started wholesaling more and more and outsourced part of the production of Per’s designs to Thailand.

The Enevoldsens eventually closed their store (in 1987) to focus solely on wholesale. Two Danish designers were hired – Lone Frandsen and Lisbeth Enø Larsen – and the idea for the Pandora bracelet started to form.

In 1989, Per and Winnie decided to move to Thailand and open up their own manufacturing facility. They started out with 10 employees, and invited their two in-house designers to join them to help train the local artisans. Ten years later, the first charm bracelet was born, however it didn’t quite yet have the signature look we know so well today (nor the Pandora name), but a year later, the current style Pandora bracelets were introduced in Denmark, and the rest, as they say, is history.

The company doubled its sales every year from then on, and today, Pandora jewelry is a well-recognized brand sold in more than 40 countries. The jewelry collection consists of over 1,800 designs, and there are more than 200 Pandora stores worldwide. The company is headquartered in Denmark, where the products are designed and developed, and also have two manufacturing facilities outside Bangkok where more than 1500 employees finish the products by hand.

In 2008, 60% of Pandora’s shares were sold to Axcel, a Danish private equity fund, in an effort to further strengthen and grow the brand.

Per Enevoldsen still lives in Bangkok and continues to manage the production in Thailand. He said in an interview “At no stage did I ever dream Pandora would become what it has. One of the reasons is that we have always been too busy concentrating on new designs and product quality, that the success sneaks up on you.”

Also check out my posts about the 10th anniversary Pandora Bracelets, Pandora charms for fall, recent Pandora charm news, and The Pandora Charms Spring/Summer 2012.

Investing In A Pandora Bracelet

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

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 other charms of this type, check out my Troll beads, Lovelinks, Biagi beads, Bacio, Chamilia charms, Chamilia bracelet, and Chamilia beads posts.

For more on Pandora, don’t miss the Pandora Jewelry story, the Anniversary Pandora BraceletsPandora Charm News, Pandora charms for fall, and Authentic Pandora Charms And Bracelets vs. Pandora Style Beads posts.