Today’s post covers all your frequently asked questions about Pandora!
- What are clips/spacers/safety chains?
- Where do I buy Pandora?
- How do I know what size bracelet to choose?
- What is the ‘S925 ALE’ stamp on my charm?
- How do I know if my charm is a fake?
- My charm looks different to the stock picture – help!
- Why are Pandora products the same price in every store?
- Pandora products are cheaper in a different country to mine – can I order them from there instead?
- Do Pandora ever have sales?
- What is ‘gift with purchase’ (GWP)?
- Why can’t I return my Pandora item to a different store from the one I bought it from?
- What is the warranty on Pandora products?
- How can I clean my Pandora?
- Can I wear my Pandora bracelet to bed/in the shower/when I’m swimming?
- How and where are Pandora charms made?
- Where, oh where, can I buy the Pandora Disney collection if I’m not in North America?
- How do I stop my charms from spinning upside down on my bracelet?
What are clips/spacers/safety chains?
Starting out with Pandora can be confusing! Luckily for you, we have a post right here with everything that you need to know.
Where do I buy Pandora?
You can’t buy directly from Pandora themselves, unless you are in the UK, where they sell products online through their eStore. Instead, Pandora license retailers to sell their products. Retailers are ranked according to the range of stock they sell:
- Pandora Concept Stores have a complete range of all Pandora items and sell only Pandora jewellery.
- Pandora Shop in Shops usually carry all varieties of Pandora jewellery. While the store that they are in sells other kinds of jewellery, they will have a whole section of their store dedicated to the Pandora brand.
- Pandora Gold level stores sell gold Pandora jewellery as well as the silver Pandora jewellery. The shop itself will sell other brands of jewellery.
- Pandora Silver level stores sell only the sterling silver ranges of Pandora jewellery and will again sell other brands of jewellery in their shop.
Use the Pandora.net store locator to find your nearest physical store. You can buy Pandora online, but be sure to purchase from authorised online retailers. If you look in the Pandora Jewellery Facebook notes page, they have lists of authorised online retailers for each region.
How do I know what size bracelet to choose?
Check out our guide on choosing the right size bracelet for your wrist – it’s got all the information you need.
What is the ‘S925 ALE’ stamp on my charm?
Pandora stamp all their sterling silver pieces with ‘S925 ALE’. The ‘S925’ is a hallmark guaranteeing the purity of the silver – the capital ‘S’ stands for silver, and the number represents the purity of silver (it is 92.5% pure silver). The ‘ALE’ is the maker’s mark, and stands for ‘Algot Enevoldsen’, who was the father of the Pandora founder, Per Enevoldsen. If your charm was made before 2011, it will say ‘925 ALE’, without the ‘s’. This does not mean that it’s fake, just that it’s older.
If you have a 14 carat gold charm, it will be stamped ‘G585 ALE’. The ‘G’ stands for gold, and the ‘585’ for the purity of the gold – 58.5% pure gold. If you have an 18 carat gold piece, it will be stamped ‘G750’, as it is 75% pure gold.
What are ‘retired’ charms?
Pandora release new charms every year. To make way for these new charms, they stop the production of a selection of existing charms that aren’t selling too well. These charms are now known as ‘retired’ beads. The unsold charms are then returned to Pandora by most stores for melting down. However, some stores opt not to return them, and consequently you may still be able to find some retired beads at your local store. Some of these retired charms become very hard to find, and become collectors’ items.
How do I know if my charm is a fake?
Spotting Pandora fakes can be quite difficult, especially if you are not overly familiar with Pandora’s catalogue of charms. Genuine Pandora charms will always have the Pandora hallmark on it – either ‘S925 ALE’ or ‘925 ALE’ for silver charms, or ‘G585 ALE’ for gold pieces. However, some fakes are very well produced and may have these hallmarks on too – consequently this isn’t foolproof.
Check the Pandora catalogue and the retired jewellery section of Pandora.net to see if the charm is there. If the design does not appear there, then the chances are that the charm is a fake.
A more complete guide on detecting fake charms is coming soon. As a general rule, you should be very careful when buying charms from eBay especially, as there are a lot of fakes floating around.
My charm looks different to the stock picture – help!
Pandora charms are handmade, and this can lead to some variation in the individual beads. This is often the case when buying murano beads; the glass might vary slightly in size, and the painted detailing can vary quite a lot. Gemstones can also look different; genuine gemstones vary in shade, and so your amethyst might be a slightly lighter or darker one than the one pictured in the catalogue, for example. If you’re worried about it, it’s best to go and select the bead you want in store.
Why are Pandora products the same price in every store?
Pandora sets a price for each piece of jewellery in every region. Retailers are not allowed to deviate from the price that Pandora stipulates. The only exception to the rule is Denmark, where the law states that Pandora can’t limit retailers in regards to how they sell their products.
Pandora products are cheaper in a different country to mine – can I order them from there instead?
No, unfortunately not. Pandora do not permit retailers to ship outside their region. The only exception to the rule is Denmark, where the law states that Pandora can’t limit retailers in regards to how they sell their products.
Do Pandora ever have sales?
Yes – depending on what region you’re in. Sales have been introduced in certain regions, including the UK. The sale usually happens for a month or so, and includes only retired items. After the sale has ended, all items go back to their original price. As of now, the US have not had any sales.
What is ‘gift with purchase’ (GWP)?
‘Gift with purchase’ refers to when Pandora offer a free gift when you spend a certain amount of money. Pandora offer a variety of these throughout the year, although the promotions differ from region to region. Often the gifts include items such as jewellery boxes, umbrellas or key chains. A particularly popular promotion runs twice a year in the US wherein, if you spend $100, you receive a free barrel clasp silver Pandora bracelet.
Why can’t I return my Pandora item to a different store from the one I bought it from?
Pandora concept stores are all franchises. This means that they are not actually owned by Pandora, but by independent businesses. Pandora license these businesses to sell Pandora products under the Pandora brand name. Consequently, when you go into a concept store, you are not dealing with Pandora themselves, but with people who work for a company who are licensed to sell Pandora products.
This set-up can often be problematic. For example, if you buy a Pandora gift card, a lot of the time it won’t be valid in another Pandora concept store, as it won’t be owned by the same business that sold you the gift card. You also often can’t return or exchange Pandora items in stores other than the one you originally bought the item from.
What is the warranty on Pandora products?
It varies from country to country. As a rule, it should be around one year for silver products and two years for gold products. However, Pandora will not honour the warranty if you use non-Pandora products with your Pandora bracelet, as this can (apparently) damage your bracelet. Pandora also do not consider stretching of the Pandora bracelet or loss of oxidisation a manufacturing defect.
Whatever region you’re in, you should always hang on to your Pandora receipts, or keep some form of proof of purchase – the warranty won’t be valid without it.
How can I clean my Pandora?
You can get it done in store or do it yourself at home. See this post here for full details!
Can I wear my Pandora bracelet to bed/in the shower/when I’m swimming?
No. Wearing your bracelet in bed can lead to kinks and damage to the bracelet chain, while the chemicals from shampoo or chlorine can affect the colour and detailing of your bracelet and charms.
How and where are Pandora charms made?
Pandora jewellery is made in Gemopolis, Thailand. Each charm is hand-finished, and will pass through at least 20 hands before it leaves the factory! For more info, including videos of the charms being made, see my post here.
Where, oh where, can I buy the Pandora Disney collection if I’m not in North America?
This is a slightly tricky one, as official Pandora stores are not allowed to ship internationally – so you can’t buy directly from North American concept stores or retailers. You do have a few options, however. If you wish to go through official channels, the Disney Store online restocks fairly regularly with the Pandora Disney line. You should bear in mind, however, that they charge a lot for international shipping and this is not always the most economical way to go.
There are ways to get the charms unofficially, however:
- Pandora’s Tribe and Pandora’s Angels are Facebook selling pages. There are a handful of very kind ladies who are happy to help out with the Disney Pandora charms, often at no additional cost to you. The pages are well-moderated and safe places to buy. Ask around on the pages for recommendations as to who to buy from.
- Have a look online for Disney personal shopper services. These are services that charge an extra fee (usually 20%) to get you Disney items. It’s cheaper than the Disney store, and they often have access to the Disney Park exclusive line as well.
How do I stop my charms from spinning upside down on my bracelet?
It’s not the easiest thing in the world, as many charms are unevenly weighted, which makes them flip when you wear them. However, using silicone o-rings and a little ingenuity, you can keep them in place. MP reader Libby made this video to demonstrate how it’s done: