As promised in the last Trollbeads news post, the spring collection was just around the corner, and I’m happy to announce that it has arrived!
It’s a fun, playful and pretty collection, consisting of 15 sterling silver beads, 1 gold, 1 mixed metal, lots of glass (in pretty shades of brown/beige and white as well as bright spring colors), and 2 gemstone (ruby and smoky quartz) beads, 1 onyx gemstone bead kit, 1 new clasp, and 3 tassel beads (love the snowdrop tassel bead pictured below) .
The “fun” category includes the whimsical sterling silver cake form, tea and coffee cup beads designed by multi-talented silversmith Lone Løvschal (who also designs beautiful silver tableware, utensils, and her own line of jewelry). The playful includes two adorable baby bunny beads, and the pretty includes all the glass (in my opinion), especially the tassel beads.
This collection also introduces a new Trollbeads designer, Lars Sögaard, who designed three of the silver beads.
Here is a little collage of my favorites in this collection:
Trollbeads rounded out 2011 with the release of the World Tour Austria beads (which are of course only available in Austria and included the gorgeous Apricot Blossom glass bead) and the Maternity and Paternity beads in silver (they had previously only been available in a combined silver and gold design), and they are kicking off the new year with even more news and announcements:
Many Trollbeads to Retire
First of all, the company recently released a long list of beads that are being retired. It has been a while since the last one, so we knew it was coming, but it’s still sad to see them go. The list contains quite a few glass beads, several silver and a few gold beads. Here are some of my favorites that are going out of production:
Spring Collection and Price Increase
On the same day as the new spring collection will be released – January 27 – there will also be a price increase on some of the heavier silver beads. They’re not going up a whole lot, but still… not great news. On the upside, the teaser for the spring collection hints at flowers, animals and love-related designs – can’t wait to see it!
New Chinese Zodiac Beads
In anticipation of Chinese New Year 2012 (the year of the Dragon), a new limited edition line of Chinese zodiac charm beads have been released. There are 12 silver beads, one for each sign, and in case you don’t know what your Chinese zodiac sign is, here is a quick overview (those born between January 1st and February 4th are actually the previous year’s sign. For example, I’m born in January 1966, so even though it looks like I’m a Horse, I’m really a Snake):
Bead Design Contest
The fourth People’s bead contest just began, and the theme this year is Spirituality. You have until February 1st to upload your design (which can be a drawing or a picture of an actual bead or a model made from anything), and out of all the designs submitted, 100 will be selected as finalists. They will be showcased on Trollbeads Universe where people can vote for their favorite. One winner will be selected and announced on August 3, and will be an official Trollbeads designer (which means you receive royalties, get promotion and your winning bead in 18k gold). Past winners have been the “Ice Bear”, “Pax”, and “Rolling Waves” (which I wrote about in an earlier Trollbeads news post).
Trollbeads just announced their new winter collection which is very much inspired by the upcoming holidays.
The collection consists of:
6 new beads – a mistletoe (which comes in gold and silver), a gold bead with interlinked hearts, a silver teddy bear, a blue glass bead with cubic Zirconias, and a tiger eye glass bead
1 new clasp – sterling silver with a small 18k gold heart
Two limited edition glass bead sets, one blue, gold and white and one in red, gold and green.
The company also recently released two new additions to their Universal Uniques line – one black and one white glass bead, each set with 13 cubic Zirconias.
There is currently a contest going on, where you can win beads from the winter collection by sending postcards (real ones, not virtual). It does involve quite a bit of work: to enter, you need to register for the contest at Trollbeads Universe, you will then get a special ID number (and a lottery ticket) and the addresses of 5 other Trollbeads fans. Then, you have to go to a Trollbeads store and pick up their official Christmas cards, write a greeting and your ID on them, and send them out to the 5 people whose addresses you received when you registered. So others will be sending you cards as well, and every time you receive one, you need to log onto Trollbeads Universe and record the ID number of the person who sent you the card. This will get you additional lottery tickets. A nice idea since getting cards and letters in the mail is getting increasingly rare.
I don’t know if it’s just the part of the US where I live, but it always seems to me that Trollbeads keep a much lower profile than the other European-style bracelet brands – no flashy billboards or prime time commercials, and way fewer glossy magazine ads. That might change soon though with the recent appointment of Michael Belleveau as the new CEO of Trollbeads USA. He recently said in an interview that he plans to step up the marketing efforts, perhaps introduce Trollbeads to some of the higher-end department stores, and do co-branding with certain fashion labels.
It will be exciting to see where this goes, but in the meantime, there are several new additions to talk about:
Trollbeads recently announced their new fall collection of charms, all in appropriately somberautumn colors. There are 14 new glass beads, 7 silver, 1 gold, 1 tiger eye, and two mixed metal (and one new mixed metal clasp). One of the new silver additions is the “People’s Bead” winner this year, the “Rolling Waves”. It was designed by Denise Tong, inspired by the tsunami that hit Japan this past spring. But rather than a reminder of a disaster, it is intended to remind us to respect nature. And there also is a new upcoming release: a coin bead with the Troll beads logo on one side and an earth and heart design on the other.
Earlier this summer, a brand new line of charms were introduced: the Universal Uniques – a collection of over 100 glass beads. The new beads have a larger core, allowing them to fit not only on Trollbeads bracelets (as is the case with most of the other beads), but other brand’s snake chains as well, like Chamilia, Lovelinks, and Pandora bracelets. Devoted Trollbeads fans have had mixed reactions to this, some saying that the Trollbeads bracelet was the original and they should not modify their products to fit others; others think it’s a smart move and one that will allow for greater variety to the end user. I think both sides have good points, but ultimately, I have to agree with the pro-side. I think it’s great that those who want to stick with their “other brand” bracelet now have even more choices.
Come October, there will be two new ring sets with beads available. The “Strength, Courageand Wisdom ” sets come with either a rose ribbon or pink prism bead, and a portion of the proceeds go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. The pink prism bead is an original design by Lise Aagaard, retired in 2007, but back now for a short time.
And, coming up later this month (September 23-24), the second annual TrollbeadsFest is being held in New Bedford, MA. Highlights include an entire table of retired Trollbeads, the opportunity to see a glass bead being made, and visits from Danish jewelry designers Kim Buck and Eske Storm as well as last year’s People’s Bead winner Kristi Denning.
Time for another European bead brand: Troll beads. Troll beads are (interestingly) also from Denmark (just like Pandora and Lovelinks), where they are known as Troldekugler. The company begun in 1976 when silversmith Søren Nielsen created the first Trollbead (a silver mask to be strung on a leather necklace) in his workshop outside of Copenhagen. Søren made a few more silver beads in the same type of design and this first collection of 6 troll beads were sold by his Dad, Svend Nielsen, in his jewelry store in Copenhagen. His customers really liked them, and the Trollbeads story began.
As the charms became more and more popular, several other family members joined the business. Søren’s brother Jens was on board from the beginning. Their sister, Lise Aagaard, apprenticed with her dad in the 1980s, and her love for glass led her to learn glassblowing and develop the glass beads that the company is so famous for today. Svend (a goldsmith since 1932) is also on the design team (he makes many of the animal beads, some of my favorites), as is Isabel and Nicholas Aagaard.
Today, the company is still family owned, managed by Lise Aagaard. Lise, Søren, their brother Jens and their Dad are all still designing beads, together with a staff of other designers. Lise’s husband Peter is the company’s photographer. Per Nielsen designed a machine that can drill holes in pearls (in order to add a silver core) without cracking them. The ever-expanding collection consists of over 500 troll bead charms (the silver mask is still in production) made from sterling silver, natural pearls, 18K gold, precious stones, Italian glass and Swarovski crystals.
New products (such as the troll bead necklace and earrings) and bead releases are announced on a regular basis. Some are limited editions, and older beads are continuously retired (making them collectors’ items). They can be found all over the world (there are around 1,500 retailers) and their popularity just keeps growing.
I recently put together this Troll bead bracelet for myself, and I have to say I love how it turned out. What do you think? (to see it larger, click on it. It will open in a new tab).
How Do I Know It’s An Authentic Troll bead?
Newer beads are hallmark stamped, for example LAA 925 indicates that it is a sterling silver bead designed by Lise Aagaard. Some older beads were stamped with the designer’s name, but there are also old authentic troll beads without any stamps at all. To be on the safe side, buy from an authorized retailer. Just as with Chamilia beads, they are not allowed to sell on auction sites.