*UPDATED March 2018* 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?
- What are ‘retired’ charms?
- 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)?
- 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?
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?
Depending on your region, you should be able to shop both online and through physical stores. Most regions have an official Pandora.net online eStore, and there are often other authorised online retailers in each region as well. Physical 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.
In recent years, Pandora have introduced additional hallmarks to their charms. In 2017, the following symbols were added to some pieces to identify the factories in which they were made.
The text translates as follows:-
As part of our quality control process, we have added different symbols & hallmarks to our products to help us identify manufacturing locations. You will see the following symbols on our products.
In 2018, however, these marks have been replaced again. The chart below reveals that the symbols will be replaced with the following letters and numbers.
What are ‘retired’ charms?
Pandoraase 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. Typically Pandora runs sales on retired jewellery usually twice a year – once in the summer and once after Christmas – although this can vary according to your region. Otherwise, they either get sent back to Pandora or to outlet stores such as Bicester Village in the UK or Rue La La online in the US. 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.
I have a more complete guide on detecting fake jewellery here. 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.
For example, take a look at this enamel heart bead from the Mother’s Day 2016 collection. This is the colour according to the stock image:
However, in person, the colour varies from charm to charm. This is a picture showing three authentic examples of the same charm, all with varying depth of pink:
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. The only way of getting round this is to use a mail forwarding service, find a personal shopper from that country or to find a friend living in that country who can help you.
The Pandora Facebook pages can be a great resource in terms of making connections and friends who can help you out with country exclusives. This is how I acquire all my country exclusive beads! Pandora’s Tribe and Pandora’s Angels are two great examples of reputable Facebook selling pages that are well-moderated and generally safe places to buy. There are ways to get the charms unofficially, however:
Do Pandora ever have sales?
Yes – as of 2018, Pandora holds sales at least twice a year in most regions – although the format can vary between regions. The sales usually happen for a month or so, and includes only retired items. After the sale has ended, all items go back to their original price.
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. Sometimes sales include the jewellery itself – a popular promotion is the free bracelet event.
What is the warranty on Pandora products?
As a rule, Pandora offers a two-year warranty from date of purchase on silver and gold jewellery. it should be around one year for silver products and two years for gold products. However, items containing parts of wood, leather, glass and string items have a warranty of one year from date of purchase.
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.
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.