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.
One thing to be aware of is that Troll beads have smaller holes than the other European-style charms, so they will not fit on a Lovelinks, Chamilia bracelet, or Pandora bracelet (but you can put Lovelinks, Biagi beads, Chamilia charms and Pandora charms on Troll bead bracelets).
Trollbeads have a huge following all over the world, and well-deservedly so. They are high quality, uniquely designed pieces from an innovative company that really cares about its customers.