Today’s post is another one in my series of ‘How To’s – we’ll be learning how to identify fake Pandora charms. I’ve also included some tips for buying charms on eBay.
The first thing I’ll say is that there are some very good fakes out there, and it’s not always obvious whether something is the real deal or not. You can always take your charm into a Pandora store and get the staff there to verify your charm for you. However, if this is not feasible for you, you can always attempt to check it yourself.
I’m going to run through a list of general rules, and then give you some more specific tips on identifying real Pandora charms.
1) All genuine Pandora items are hallmarked
Silver pieces are hallmarked either ‘925 ALE’ or ‘S925 ALE’, while gold pieces are hallmarked ‘G585 ALE’. However, many counterfeiters have cottoned on to this and now include the hallmarks on their fake Pandora charms – consequently, a charm is not necessarily real even if it has the markings.
Charms made before 2011 will have the ‘925 ALE’ stamp and those made after 2011 will have the ‘S925 ALE’; consequently, if you see a charm that was retired before 2011, such as the Pandora Mushroom charm, stamped with ‘S925 ALE’, you’ll know that it’s fake.
2) Is it in the Pandora catalogue/on their website?
Check the design of the charm against those listed in the Pandora catalogue or, better still, on the website. Make sure to check both Pandora.net’s current charms section and their ‘Retired’ section for older designs that aren’t in production anymore. However, some charms are so old that they aren’t featured on the website – if your charm isn’t on the website, double check our posts on HTF charms to make sure that it isn’t listed there. If the charm’s design isn’t in any of those places, then that should ring warning bells.
For example, Pandora have never used Swarovski crystals. Charms like these are obviously fake:
3) Does it look cheap?
Compare your charm to other genuine Pandora charms that you own, or to the stock image of the charm. Does it seem comparable? Is the craftmanship as good? Some fake charms will only be silver-plated instead of sterling silver, and will feel lighter. They may also be smaller and have less defined detailing on them.
Most Pandora charms have a threaded core – this is often missed out on fake charms. However, not all Pandora charms are threaded – the pavé charms, for example, are open works. Double check if the charm you have bought is supposed to have a threaded core, or not.
Another thing to look out for on the core is its brightness. Most genuine Pandora charms have a dull core, while fakes mostly have bright cores. However, (there’s always a ‘however’!) this is again not always true. Some Pandora charms have a bright core, or used to.
For example, look at this fake charm.
This murano charm has a pattern on it that Pandora have never produced. Its core is shiny and unthreaded. It looks cheap and unrefined. It’s clearly a fake!
*UPDATED* Here is a great example of identifying a fake by looking at the closer details. A reader sent me a picture of her Beaded Beauty spacer charm, which she had concerns about. We quickly identified it as fake.
Compare it to these two genuine shots of the charm, from retailers John Greed and Gilletts:
- As you can see, the silver plaques bearing the hallmarks on the fake charm are the wrong shape. The genuine charms do not have such rounded edges.
- The lettering of the hallmarks is blurrier and less sharp on the fake charm.
- The fake charm has the wrong number of beads in the rows – look at the second row from the inside.
- The beads themselves are less well-defined on the fake charm.
4) Still not sure? Ask around!
Visit places such as the Pandora Facebook page and post a picture. People are always willing to help each other out and someone is more than likely to know whether your charm is the real deal. You’re more than welcome to ask me, as well.
Buying on eBay
…is generally a risky business. Fakes are rife on eBay, and it’s very easy to get caught out. However, there are real charms on there, and it’s possible to get a good deal. Here are some more maxims regarding purchasing charms on eBay:
- Check the seller’s feedback – is it high? As a rule, you want sellers with as close to 100% feedback as you can get. Of course, some may have reasonably high feedback and still sell fakes, as many people don’t know that they’ve received fake products and consequently give them a good review.
- Have they got a genuine image of the charm that they’re selling? If they’re using a stock photo, that should send alarm bells ringing.
- However, you can’t necessarily trust the stock picture that a seller has posted – they can easily post a picture of a genuine Pandora charm and then sell you a fake.
- Look out for sellers who advertise things like ‘Genuine/Authentic Pandora bracelet and European charms’ – they’ve not guaranteed that the charms are authentic, only the bracelet! Or sellers who advertise things like ‘murano charm in Pandora box’. Again, only the box is real Pandora! The charm you’re getting is junk.
I hope that you have found this helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them! :)