In this post, I’ll be going through the basics of Pandora’s iconic charm bracelet. Getting into Pandora can be a little confusing: i.e.,  what’s the difference between clips, spacers and charms? I’ll be covering the ins and outs of it all right here – just hit ‘Read more’ to get all the info. :)

The Basics

The traditional Pandora bracelet comes in a variety of forms, the most popular being the all sterling silver bracelet.

The Pandora silver bracelet
The Pandora silver bracelet

However, it also comes in 14 carat gold. This is obviously a very expensive option – not for the fainthearted ;)

The Pandora 14 carat gold bracelet
The Pandora 14 carat gold bracelet

If you wish to compromise, a two tone version is also offered. The bracelet chain itself is silver, but the clasp is gold.

The Pandora Two Tone Bracelet
The Pandora two tone bracelet

Pandora also offer oxidised silver bracelet and leather charm bracelets. However, I’ll do a separate post to cover the do’s and don’t’s of these kinds of bracelets – they work somewhat differently to the traditional bracelets.

The clasp

Pandora offer two different kinds of clasps for their traditional charm bracelets – the lobster clasp, or the iconic barrel clasp.

The traditional barrel clasp
The traditional barrel clasp
Pandora lobster clasp bracelet
Pandora lobster clasp bracelet

Threads and clips

One of the first things you’ll be told when you get a Pandora bracelet is, ‘Get clips.’ It can’t really be stressed enough! Clips are very important. But, let’s start from the beginning. Clips are exactly what they sound like – hinged charms that snap straight on to your bracelet. If you look at a Pandora bracelet, you will see that it is sectioned off into three sections. The two threads in the middle of the bracelet, dividing it up, are where you should attach your clips.

Clips are important for a number of reasons. They help you to keep your charms in separate sections. When building a bracelet, you should aim for an even distribution of charms in each section. If you let all your charms hang in one section alone, it places increased strain on that part of the bracelet. This can cause the links to stretch, and the bracelet to kink or even break. Using clips allows you to keep charms evenly distributed, and helps you to prevent them from bunching up.

The Pandora hinged clip
The Pandora hinged clip

Clips also prevent charms from rolling over the threads when you’re wearing the bracelet. The threads are the weakest part of the bracelet – if a charm gets stuck on a thread, or sits across it awkwardly, it can again cause your bracelet to snap.

Plus, they’re really pretty. Just get clips.

The charms!

Pandora bracelets use a threaded system wherein most of the charms screw on to the bracelet. However, you can get get unthreaded charms, which slide straight on to the chain without having to thread on. The pavé charms and openworks are good examples of these types of charms. I don’t advise that you have unthreaded charms as the last charm on your bracelet – when you open it, if you’re not careful, the charm can slide right off surprisingly quickly (unlike the threaded charms, which will have to be screwed off). Pandora offer a selection of gold, silver and two-tone charms, just like the bracelets themselves. For a full catalogue, try http://www.pandora.net.

Safety chains

Safety chains are attached either side of the clasp. The idea is that, in the unlikely event of your bracelet clasp failing, the safety chain will prevent the bracelet from just falling right off your wrist. However, I have to say that you read about far more instances of the bracelet chain itself snapping than the clasp falling open – and the safety chain won’t help in the instance of the chain breaking. Still, lots of people opt to have them, just for peace of mind. Besides, many Pandora fans love the way they look anyway.

Pandora offer two kinds of safety chain: ones that screw on, and ones that clip on. The advantage of having safety chains that clip on is that you don’t have to take all your charms off to attach the first end of it – you can just clip it straight on to the chain. However, many people opt for screw-on safety chains. Clip-on safety chains have to sit either side of the threads right by the clasp – they won’t fit over them, meaning that they inevitably have to take up two charms’ worth of bracelet real estate. ;) On the other hand, the screw-on safety chains will sit nicely on those two threads, hiding them and not taking up any room on the chain itself. Consequently, there are advantages to both kinds of safety chains.

A screw-on safety chain
A screw-on safety chain

Different regions offer a different selection of safety chain lengths. The length of the safety chain can be quite important – if it’s too short, you won’t be able to roll your bracelet over your hand to put it on. The UK offers from 4cm to 7cm, as far as I’m aware. Check with your local retailers for available safety chain lengths.

To put on a safety chain correctly, you need to put it on your bracelet swivel-end first.

how to put a safety chain on
The arrow points to the ‘swivel-end’ of the safety chain

Spacers

Spacers are much smaller than traditional charms. Once you have filled your bracelet with charms, you are likely to have some awkward small gaps on your bracelet that a charm won’t fit into – however, a little spacer will. Spacers are also useful for pulling together the design of your bracelet – adding a couple of spacers (for example, either side of a murano) can lend extra symmetry and prettiness to a design. Spacers can be threaded or unthreaded – the very small, older spacers tend to be unthreaded.

pandora spacer
An example of a Pandora spacer

115 Comments on Feature: Pandora Bracelets for Beginners

  1. Thanks dearie!! I just realised there are two types of safety chains!! So informative my dear!! :D I placed order for the two tone safety chain and thought it was a clip safety chain.. awwww :(

    • It would make sense for the safety chain to be a clip on one end and a screw end or slide on the swivel end to just slide over the threads. It would cover the threads and still be secure by the clasp. The other end being a clip would hide those screws and the charms would still be secure.

  2. My charm won’t go on my new Pandora bracelet! I can’t get it over the threads, it gets stuck. How can I make them get past the threaded part? Thanks!

  3. My safety chain twists when I put both sides on the bracelet, is that right? I have put it on the way you describe above and it is also the same one as you have pictured above

  4. I just purchased my first Pandora bracelet. I have the lobster clasp one. Would you recommend I eventually purchase a safety chain for it?

    • Hi Robin! I don’t have the lobster clasp myself, but I would recommend a safety chain if you’re filling up your bracelet, just in case. They get very expensive once they’re full and it’s probably not worth the risk. :) Hope that helps!
      Ellie

  5. One of my charms is stuck on my bracelet and after recently buying a safety chain I can’t even add it to my bracelet! Have you got any ideas on a stuck charm?

    • Hi Ffion, sorry for the delay in reply, I missed your comment! If I were you, I’d take it to a Pandora store to sort -usually if a charm is stuck, there is damage to its threading. It can be quite damaging to the bracelet to attempt to force it, and I’d let the professionals sort it. ;) Hope you manage to get it fixed, that’s such a shame!
      Ellie

  6. This was a wonderful and enlightening tutorial on Pandora bracelets, especially the minute but crucial details and caution about charms and the one about safety chains was an eyeopener.

  7. thank you so much! i got a bracelet for christmas and just got new charms for my birthday and was confused why one just slid right on, looks like it is spacer! thank you so much, i was so confused, this also taught me some things i didn’t know…im a newbie to pandora bracelets and charms! :)

  8. I have a charm that I can’t twist or screw of and its stopping me from being able to put any other charms on??:/

  9. I bought a new pandora bracelet and charms in Europe while traveling. The big he charm I purchased doesn’t have threads and won’t go on my bracelet. Am I doing something wrong? It’s like the bracelet is too big for the charm to go on.

    • You don’t need either for the Pandora bangle. It doesn’t have threads so the clips won’t stay and if the clasp were to come undone, the bangle won’t fall off your wrist :)

  10. This was extremely useful, thank you for writing this.

    I love the oxidised bracelets but much prefer the lobster claps – I have definitely seen mention of these, but people are saying they have been retired. Do you know when they were retired? I’d like to get my hands on one if possible!

  11. What size safety chain would you recommend? Got a £5 voucher for the jewel hut and can’t decide what size to get.. :S xx

    • 5cm is the standard size (and I think the only size that Pandora bother to offer in North America, too) and it tends to work well for most bracelet sizes. :) I have a 4cm chain on one of my bracelets but it’s a little more difficult to stretch it over my hand. What size are your bracelets? xx

  12. How many spacers, clips & charms are in a regular pandora bracelet? I want to get one but i dont know how many of each i should get.

    • Hi Loany, it depends on what size bracelet you have. Generally you have two clips for each bracelet (one on each separating thread) but the amount of clasps and spacers etc is kind of up to you as you fill it. Can you make it into a store to have a play around with charms and combinations to see what you might like?

    • You don’t need either for the bangle bracelet. If the bangle clasp opens accidentally, the metal memory means it won’t come off your wrist. A clip might be advisable to put on the end, just to stop any charms twisting off in the case of the bracelet accidentally coming open.
      Other than that, you don’t need clips as the bangle doesn’t have thread stations in the centre of the bracelet like the regular snake chain :)

  13. Hi, my husband just gave me my first pandora bracelet & charms as a gift for our wedding, & one of the charms fell right off & I can’t find it now, & the other charm won’t fit onto the bracelet at all :( are there different sized charms for bracelets & necklaces, could he have gotten the wrong charms to go with my bracelet? We’re not sure what the issue is. Thanks!

    • Hi there, that’s strange! :( The only thing that I can think of is that the Essence line of charms is not compatible with the regular Moments Pandora bracelet. It could be that? Do you have any pics of the bracelet and charm, that might be easiest? Sorry to hear that you are having problems!

  14. Do the regular spacers fit on the essence bracelets? I like the smaller charms and I was given the essence bracelet. I really like the spacers. I want to add spacers if I can to my essence bracelet

    • They will slide on to the Essence bracelet, but as they are designed for the larger Moments bracelet they won’t thread on or stay in place once they are there. But there’s no reason you can’t slide them on between the Essence charms to keep them in place! :)

        • The Moments bracelet is thicker, with two thread stations, while the Essence bracelet is thinner and doesn’t have threads. If you just google some pictures of each, you should be able to work it out. :)

  15. i am going to get my daughter a pandora double rope bracelet for christmas and was thinking of just getting three charms to start out. Would this be ok? Do I need clips or anything else at this point?

    • Hi Sue! Yes, that sounds lovely. With the leathers, you don’t need clips as they don’t have threads to fasten them to. You may want to add them in the future if your daughter finds the charms sliding around annoying – you can get them to stay in place by putting rubber inserts in them (Pandora offer these). But they’re certainly not necessary :)

  16. Hello! I’m extremely new to the Pandora world and have admired them from afar for a while now. I think I would only keep maybe 3 or so charms at a time on mine. I prefer simpler looks and I like the lobster clasp bracelet most. I also do not see myself ever having any muranos in my future collection. Do I still need clips? I know they really help with weight distribution and longevity of the bracelet itself, but I dont really care for any of the ones currently available :/ and would probably prefer to avoid them altogether until they make one I love. Also, I would likely not wear my bracelet every day. Any insight and expertise is greatly appreciated!

    • Hi Nicole! Even if you are using the lobster clasp bracelet, clips are advisable. One of the things they protect against is charms getting stuck on the clip stations and breaking the bracelet.
      However, as you are only going to be wearing three charms or so at a time, I suspect that you will be okay without them. :) You won’t be putting too much weight/stress on the bracelet, and you’re not using muranos, so that will probably be okay. If you do notice any stretching or kinks developing in the bracelet as you wear it, I would think again about clips. :)
      You might think about getting some silicone stoppers to separate your charms if you don’t want to use the clips. They are very unobtrusive and will help to keep your charms in place without having to use clips.
      Hope that helps Nicole! :) Let me know if you need anything else.

  17. Hello.
    BO RAM KIM.
    I love pandora.
    I want to ask you one.
    Perlenodense.com no longer authorized retailer online, isn’t it?

    • I’m not sure what their status is exactly, to be honest. They very publically lost their contract a couple of years ago, but seem to get the odd few pieces from each new collection in still. It’s still genuine Pandora, but I’m not sure how they are doing it or what their status officially is.

      • Thanks for answers.
        We obtain looking for Retired Charms.
        Retired Charms bar can not I get?

        79112 Beads Strawberry
        79113 Beads Fish
        79114 Beads Snail
        79116 Beads Dice
        79117 Beads Silver Cluster
        79121 Beads Bear
        79123 Beads Elephant
        79126 Beads Mushroom
        790313Mouse 790212
        790245Cola can 790245
        Thimble (carneol stone) 790364K
        Bubble spacer 790101
        Ribbed spacer 790102
        Ribbons Spacer 790303

        Aloha spacer 790 498
        I want to save these too
        Do you know that the phrase from?
        The Netherlands, Poland, Denmark, Belgium
        Do you know an accredited online retail site?
        Let me know

        • Ooh, you will be hard pushed to find a retailer that still has any of those charms. Most of those are long-retired. You might try http://www.perlenodense.com, which has a few retired beads, but it’s a bit of a long-shot.
          Your best bet is to join the Pandora Facebook groups, as ladies do sell the retired charms there often. Pandora’s Angels and Pandora’s Tribe are good. I don’t think you will find an official online retailer selling the charms you mention, to be honest.

  18. Thank you so much for writing this article. I am a newbie and couldn’t find any info on the Pandora website. I received a Pandora bracelet for Christmas and was clueless about the difference between charms, spacers and clasps. I got my very first Pandora bracelet this summer. I didn’t know about the safety clasps and ended up losing it after a few days. Luckily, I didn’t have any charms yet. It was still devastating losing the bracelet on its own. Now I know, thanks to you which ones to buy or add to my wish list :)

    • Hi Carmen, I’m so pleased that it was useful! Thank you very much for taking the time to let me know. If you have any questions or are wondering about anything, feel free to ask! :) I’m sorry to hear about your bracelet, that shouldn’t have happened – it is very rare for a bracelet clasp to open on its own. :(

  19. I bought two of the Murano glass fascinating Iredescence beads. I only wore them for a couple of weeks and both are already scratched. I have bought many charms ( I have six bracelets total and they are all filled) and have never had any problems with any of my beads before. I bought these in a local Hannoush jewelry store and they won’t help. This is my second attempt for help in my problem. Is there any thing that can be done to resolve this matter.

    • I’m sorry to hear about your scratched charms. :( I’d get in touch with Pandora themselves. I assume you’re in the US as you mention Hannoush – go to Pandora.net and contact them via their email :)

  20. My sister got me a Pandora multi- strand bracelet with a traditional barrel clasp more than a year ago. I thought I better do something with it and after checking it the clasp won’t close.
    I didn’t want to force close because I believe it should be quite easy to close. Please advise. Thank you

    • Sometimes they can take a little force to shut them properly, especially when they’re new. They don’t open that easily (you don’t want them to either!) and sometimes they can be a little stiff to clasp as well.
      Have you checked that the two parts are lined up properly, and that the end of the bracelet is in the proper slot in the clasp? If so, just apply pressure until it clicks. If you are really worried, take it back to a jeweller or store and get them to check it for you. :)

  21. IHave a screw on safety chain, I can get one end on, but not the clasp end, I have a fixed charm so I can’t slide the safety chain on. Ty Jacqui

  22. Once the bracelet is full what do you recommend on the end so the charms don’t just slide off? I bought a clamp but the end is to big for it.

    • You can’t really put anything actually on the end thread apart from a screw-on safety chain. :) But you can put a clip on the bracelet at the end of the chain, just before the threads by the clasp, to stop charms twisting off!

  23. Hi Mora.

    I’m really new to this stuff.
    I actually came across this page by searching something close to this question: “What are Safety Chains for Pandora?.”
    -Thanks for making a Site like this!! But I came across it myself and wasn’t told nothing beforehand.

    But I have a few questions.
    1.) On Facebook, There is a Group just called Pandora. (I think.) One of the people in it is S.F.J.
    -Do you think it’s a good group to be in?. (They should have THIS page pinned to the group for The Newest People/New Joiners/New Members though.).

    2.) Can you give me some websites to local stores in Brampton Ontario, Canada and online as well please? Thanks.

    3.) What is your username, (If you have one.) On Facebook?.

  24. Thank you so much for this tutorial and your blog! I just received my first Pandora bracelet. I have wanted a charm bracelet for awhile, so I was very excited. My husband didn’t order me any charms, so I could pick out which wants I wanted. I got online and started doing some research, leading me to your blog. I had no idea about the need for clips and safety chains. We don’t live near a Pandora dealer, so most of my purchases will be online. After reading your posts I was able to confidently select and order a safety chain and clips that will work nicely with my bracelet.

    Do you have a photo gallery of the various charms, bracelets, and clips on your blog? Or do I have to go through each post?

    I look forward to getting to more familiar with your blog, and all of the great information you provide.

  25. Hello i have a completly full bracelet i just purchased a new one with heart clasp to switch over my charms onto its snug now i know it will loosen but my question is am i damaging it by filling it right away when its brand new and stiff?

    • Hi Bailey! It depends on how tight it is. You don’t want to be putting lots of strain on the bracelet while it is still really stiff, as you do increase the risk of it snapping or becoming fragile if you catch it on something. I’d be tempted to take a few off and let it loosen up, and then add a few back on. :)

    • Hi Carol, sorry to have missed this – you can stop charms from falling off the bracelet by putting a clip at the end of it. The clip can’t roll over the threads :)

  26. Do European charms fit a bracelet purchased in US. I can’t seem to get a straight answer. I see some really cute European charms but before I purchase them I want to make sure they will fit my bracelet

    • Hi Naomi – all genuine Pandora is made in Thailand, regardless of where it is sold, so every country’s Pandora is compatible with that from another. It’s all from the same place :)

  27. Hello there. I received a Pandora bracelet as a gift, and I LOVE it! You may not be able to answer this…..
    One of the charms is “Purrfect Together”, (2 cats) no matter how I put it on the bracelet, the cats are upside down.
    Is this a normal thing????
    Thank you for all the useful info! I am a Pandora “virgin”, and I can’t wait to buy more charms, spacers, safety clasp etc….
    Call me hooked! But the upside down cats frustrated……. :(

    • My wife has the same problem with two of her charms, one is a bride and groom and one is twins, as far as i can tell it’s unstoppable, it’s just because the charms are top heavy because of the positioning of the hole….. gravity’s a bummer :/ lol

    • Hi Debby! Sorry for the late reply. It is totally a normal thing – some charms are just unevenly weighted and they flip over. It happens a lot with the animals. I have just learnt to live with it, but some people buy little silicone stoppers to put inside the charms to keep them the right way up. :)

  28. Hi, i just ordered a safety chain for my wife for yer bracelet (it’s the Love Heart Safety Chain pictured above)
    I think i’m right in saying that its a screw on chain, but can’t actually find confirmation anywhere :$
    I was just wondering wether you could confirm this for me please, if you know? :)

    • Hi Paddy! The two-tone heart safety chain is indeed a screw-on safety chain. It’s annotated in the article. :) And it’s gorgeous too, I’m sure she will love it!

  29. Hello, I am planning on getting my very first Pandora bracelet but I am debating on whether I should get the original sterling silver bracelet with a barrel clasp or the sterling silver with a heart shaped clasp. I do want to make it “Love” themed to honor my dad who’s buying it for me and to also compliment my engagement to the man of my dreams I just don’t want to over do it to make room for personality, what do you recommend?

    • Hi Madeline! I realise that this comment is old and that I missed it at the time – but I’m replying now for what it’s worth :) I think that the heart clasp bracelet is quite subtle and really very pretty – you definitely aren’t at risk of overdoing it just by choosing the heart clasp. Hope you love whichever bracelet you end up getting (or have got!).

  30. Hi,
    Before getting my (leather) pandora bracelet I had a (Silver) silverado one and a few silverado charms. I still love these charms just that the bracelet i had was too big and i wanted to change to the leather one. Anyway, most of my silverado charms fit fine on the pandora bracelet and I’ve managed to change them over, except one!!! It would fit if only i could get it over the first thread bit. I’m sure the answer is ‘you’re trying to mix and match so tough sh*t’ but I really like this charm and can’t find similar in the pandora range. Any suggestions or advice as to whether getting this charm on there is even possible. Thanks

    • Hi! I’m not really sure what to suggest. For the most part, if charms from other brands don’t fit, then they don’t fit :( Sounds like the core of that particular one is just too small. I’m not sure that there is much you can do unfortunately. :(

  31. I just purchased a silver bracelet that does not have the threads on it. Can I use clips on this bracelet to separate the charms?

    • Only if you put rubber inserts inside the clips (Pandora sell these). Otherwise they will just slide around like regular charms. Pandora also sell silicone lined clips (e.g. Shining Elegance or Pink Primrose) for use with the threadless bracelet.

    • Yes Pandora have released a new design of clip that already has a silicone centre so you don’t need to buy extra rubber inserts. These stop your charms from sliding about on the new Smooth style bracelet. Although you can use the old style clips as well by buying the rubber inserts. I paid 25p each for the rubber insert but I prefer the new style slimline clips

  32. I have a new bracelet, a friend from the UK bought it for me. It just arrived two days ago. It’s the new Moments two-tone bracelet with Pandora signature clasp. This is my second bracelet; I got a regular barrel bracelet a year ago. But this new bracelet feels stiff and there’s a part that doesn’t curve right. I don’t remember the time when my barrel bracelet was stiff so I don’t know if this is normal. Will it eventually loosen up and curve the right way? I can’t exchange it anymore because it’s been a month since it was purchased so all I have to do is hope that it would loosen up.

  33. Hello, good evening from Portugal e thank you so much for this site. You are so kind and helpfull!

    I have two Pandora bracelets that I adore. Better to say I have one complet and one in progression :)

    In my surfing online I discovered this site http://www.pandora2u.com/ and I am very surprised by the prices. They say thay are retailers and that’s why they can offer these prices. Can you tell me if this is genuine and truth? I am suspicious of the prices. Perhaps because English is not my first language I can’t understande and would appreciate your help. I don’t know if it is a scam although they use the name and the logo ‘Pandora’.

    Thank you again.

    Kind regards

    Gena

  34. I just received a Pandora bracelet with 2 spacers already on it. I can’t move them or open them to slide my charms on between them. Is that how it is supposed to be? I would like to slide a couple charms between them.

  35. New to Pandora..we have well water, can I shower/bath with them on. I use bleach when washing dishes.. Will that be a problem as well.

    • Pandora don’t advise that you shower with your jewellery on, or do any kind of washing up. Soaps and detergents can cause them to tarnish. And definitely don’t go swimming with them on either! :)

  36. Hi! I’m brand new to Pandora and getting ready to buy my first and I’m REALLY EXCITED! This may be a silly question but if I buy one that already has charms on them can you take them off and switch new ones on?

  37. I have a problem when I take my bracelet off the charms fly off do I need a clip to keep them on or am I just not meant to have the bracelet i always dreamed og luckily I found all the charms but the newest one my daughter got me for xmas it’s gonna break my heart to tell her I lost it I almost want to just give it back to her i obviously can’t take care if it. Please tell me what will keep these charms on!

  38. Hi i bought my wife a pandora for a wedding gift.i also purchased two clips but they dont fit over the ridges on the bracelet.Could you tell me why please.

  39. Hey! Thank you for the help. I’ve heard from someone that the screw ons will eventually screw itself onto the twisty parts right beside the clasp. Wouldnt it fall off? In the unlikely hood of the clasp breaking, will it still be saved if it was twisted beside the clasp? Because i know the clip ons cant get past the twisty part.

  40. Hi! I am newbie. What’s ideal measure to uae pandora bracelet? Tight or a loose one? I planning to have 2 clips, 2 droplet charms and 1 sterling grey.

    • Only if they’re silicone lined or if you put a silicone stopper underneath them :) otherwise they slide around x

  41. Newbie here! Just recently acquired 2 Pandora rings and am planning to get myself a bracelet next. Budget is tight so I must make plans carefully. Your posts are awesome – really me a lot in making decisions. Thanks for your excellent efforts. :D

  42. Hi, I am just about to get a Pandora bracelet, it’s a starter set, a Moment bracelet with 2 heart clips.
    I have a friend who has a Pandora and she said she never takes it off ever, she showers with it.
    Must we take off every day? Wouldn’t that loosen the screwed on clasp?
    Not to mention cumbersome!
    Any suggestions?

  43. hi mora, gud am, i’m new with this pandora,i bought my first bracelet with a heart lock on it.im planning to buy two clips first. Am i doing it right? thanks

  44. THANK YOU for this site. I had gotten a bracelet and two charms, couldn’t figure out why the charms didn’t fit. Found your site and learned they have to be screwed on. Problem solved, my nerves saved!

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