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 traditional Pandora bracelet comes in a variety of forms, the most popular being the all sterling silver bracelet.
However, it also comes in 14 carat gold. This is obviously a very expensive option – not for the fainthearted ;)
If you wish to compromise, a two tone version is also offered. The bracelet chain itself is silver, but the clasp is gold.
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.
Pandora offer two different kinds of clasps for their traditional charm bracelets – the lobster clasp, or the iconic barrel clasp.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.