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.

pandora s925 ale

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:

fake pandora swarovski

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.

A fake Pandora murano - this design has never been produced by Pandora
A fake Pandora murano – this design has never been produced by Pandora

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.

fake beaded beauty
Fake Beaded Beauty spacer

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! :)

64 Comments on Feature: How to Tell if a Pandora Charm is a Fake

  1. busterbarks
    January 21, 2014 at 5:16 pm (3 years ago)

    Thanks for the information. I did have a question about Murano charms. Are all authentic Murano charms threaded?

    Reply
    • Mora Pandora
      January 21, 2014 at 5:23 pm (3 years ago)

      Hi there, yes, all authentic Pandora muranos have threaded cores. Hope you haven’t been caught out :(
      Ellie

      Reply
      • Trudy
        September 3, 2015 at 10:58 am (1 year ago)

        Hi there…I wonder if you can help please…just brought the pandora family pave charm and cannot find the hallmark…does anyone know where it might be…many thanks

        Reply
      • Graham
        December 25, 2015 at 8:45 am (1 year ago)

        Hi Trudy. Should be on the inside of the rim. You will need a torch and magnifying glass

        Reply
        • Mora Pandora
          December 25, 2015 at 9:37 pm (1 year ago)

          Thanks Graham!

  2. Danielle
    March 12, 2014 at 8:09 pm (3 years ago)

    Hi there,
    I’m writing because I’m about 90% sure the charm I have received is a fake. I work at Jared the galleria of jewelry here in the US so I am very familiar with pandora products. However, I have just bought the black enamel “love you” charm and the enamel has no sparkles in it. I was wondering if you knew if this was a possibility on an authentic piece? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Mora Pandora
      March 13, 2014 at 12:09 pm (3 years ago)

      Hi Danielle, I’m assuming you mean the black enamel hearts charm (790543EN22), as we have different names for charms here in the UK! I’m pretty sure that the enamel finish is meant to be ‘shimmering’, so yes, it probably should have sparkles in it. However, it’s hard to tell you for sure just from the description. If you want to send me a picture, feel free to on my Facebook page or at mora0pandora@gmail.com. :)
      Ellie

      Reply
  3. Jackie
    June 28, 2014 at 3:04 pm (3 years ago)

    I have a charm I’m really not sure about I did get it from ebay . It as all the right markings but I have a feeling about it .

    Reply
  4. poj
    July 12, 2014 at 8:05 am (3 years ago)

    Hi Ellie,
    I bought some sea glass from eBay and am uncomfortable with the hallmarking and general appearance. However with there being no sea glass in the UK it’s hard to compare. If you google sea glass images the hallmarks have the word Pandora and the S925 ALE on one side of the core. The one I have bought has Pandora Pandora on one side and S925 on the other. But my muranos from UK retailers are hall marked like that so I am confused. Maybe the online images are of fakes?? Your comments would be helpful. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Mora Pandora
      July 13, 2014 at 12:01 am (3 years ago)

      Hi! The Sea Glass muranos have the new Pandora murano core, which is much smaller than the original silver core. It has ‘Pandora S925’ on one side, and the other side blank, as you will see in the stock images online. :( The Sea Glass muranos should not have the classic core, which is where ‘Pandora’ is written on one side and the silver hallmark on the other.
      To make it clearer, I’ve uploaded a picture of my own purple Sea Glass murano, which I bought from a legitimate Pandora store when I was on holiday:
      http://morapandorablog.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/pandora-seaglass-hallmarks.jpg?w=1328
      This is how your Sea Glass murano should look, in terms of the core. I hope that helps, and that you haven’t been caught out. :)

      Reply
      • poj
        July 13, 2014 at 10:12 am (3 years ago)

        Thank you very much. Your image fits with those I’ve seen online and confirms that I have a fake! I will be returning it tomorrow for refund. Might send you some pictures beforehand that you can use to demonstrate what a fake looks like! I just wish sea glass was available in the UK :(

        Reply
        • Mora Pandora
          July 14, 2014 at 12:24 am (3 years ago)

          No problem! :) I’m sorry that you got sent a fake – there are so many about. :/ I got your email with the pictures, so thanks very much for that! They look like pretty convincing fakes, too, apart from the slip-up with the hallmark.
          It is annoying that they’re limited to the US – have you tried looking on any of the Facebook selling pages to find some?

    • Mora Pandora
      August 20, 2014 at 7:22 pm (3 years ago)

      Hi Janelle! I’ve had a look at your charm – I can’t tell you absolutely for sure without having it in my hands, but it looks perfectly legit to me. :) I’m not sure where your concerns lay with the markings, but they seem fine – they are the older hallmark ‘925 ALE’, which is how Pandora stamped their charms prior to 2011. They’re also a little worn, but you’d expect that too from an older charm. Let me know if you have any other concerns or questions! :)
      Ellie

      Reply
      • Janelle
        August 24, 2014 at 4:12 am (3 years ago)

        Thanks a lot, Ellie! I love your blog. And I appreciate your help. Thank you, thank you!

        Reply
        • Mora Pandora
          August 27, 2014 at 11:28 am (3 years ago)

          You’re welcome! ^^

  5. Debbie
    December 30, 2014 at 1:13 pm (2 years ago)

    Hi, I have purchased the Open Heart Charm (product code 790964) from Ebay. The description did say its genuine. Should this charm have the hallmark on it somewhere ?

    Reply
    • Mora Pandora
      January 1, 2015 at 11:23 pm (2 years ago)

      Hi Debbie, sorry for the delay in reply! Yes, every Pandora charm is hallmarked somewhere – no matter how small or hidden it is. :) The hallmarks on the openworks can be notoriously hard to find, however. I don’t have this particular charm, but I do have the open daisy one which is similar – it has a tiny hallmark on the inside of the rim. Have you checked there? :)
      Ellie

      Reply
      • Debbie
        January 2, 2015 at 4:29 pm (2 years ago)

        Hi Ellie, thanks for your reply. I’m struggling to find a hallmark on it given its so tiny :( Think I need a magnifying glass :)

        Debbie

        Reply
  6. Helen Layzell
    January 5, 2015 at 8:39 am (2 years ago)

    Hi, I have a pandora bangle ( gift) and charms, I am not convinced all are real, I also think the bangle may be fake, anyway of knowing, I have found stamps on most of charms except the pine cone one, but not sure where this would be. Also the bangle clasp has one inside but someone said it looked fake, anyway I could find out for sure? Many thanks

    Reply
  7. linda Warwick
    January 13, 2015 at 10:28 pm (2 years ago)

    Hi could someone tell me were the markings should be on the family silver and gold charm the round one with family holding hands and small gold harts, im not sure if mines real, also finding it hard to find the markings on the open work hart charm

    Reply
  8. Tarissa Petersen
    January 29, 2015 at 6:32 pm (2 years ago)

    Hi there i am selling a braclet that my dad got me amd it came in the pandora box and all the beads where also in pandora boxes but after wearing it a few time s i started to notice that the braclet clasp doesnt stay shut if you wear it for long periods of time …. also. One of my beads the part that says pandora 925 broke so i got suspious. I have read. Online that not all the beads have a threaded core. And some of mine dont also read online that the bracleg its self. Not all of them have the O on the clasp. And mine doesnt. I also read that not all the beads say pandora some just say 925 i need help finding out if they are fake or real please and thank u

    Reply
    • Mora Pandora
      January 30, 2015 at 9:48 pm (2 years ago)

      Hi Tarissa, I probably can best help you if send me an e-mail with some pictures! :) Feel free to send some my way at mora0pandora@gmail.com.
      Ellie

      Reply
  9. virgil debique
    January 29, 2015 at 11:22 pm (2 years ago)

    Hi, thanks for all the info. I was hoping you could help me out? I recently bought an old pandora charm bracelet. Everything looks ok, but not sure. It is stamped 925 but on the outside of the clasp not inside and there is no ALE stamp on it. It is an old bracelet and does have the threaded spacers on, but still not 100%

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Mora Pandora
      January 30, 2015 at 9:49 pm (2 years ago)

      Hi there, that’s not sounding too good unfortunately. :( All pandora items should have the ALE hallmark too and bracelets are usually stamped on the inside of the clasp. Feel free to send me a picture if you’d like me to double-check – my address is mora0pandora@gmail.com
      Ellie

      Reply
  10. Kris
    February 7, 2015 at 5:31 pm (2 years ago)

    Hi great info thanks.

    I have just sent you an email regarding a recent purchase would appreciate your your opinion.

    Reply
  11. Rochelle
    March 5, 2015 at 8:56 pm (2 years ago)

    Does anyone have a picture of the hallmarks for the sideways fish 790113?
    Ive purchased one from an online seller and while it appears to be authentic, I’d like to be sure. Thanks :D

    Reply
    • Mora Pandora
      March 6, 2015 at 10:08 pm (2 years ago)

      Hi Rochelle! I’m afraid I don’t have that one so I can’t provide my own picture – but from looking online, it looks like it should be stamped ‘925 ALE’ on one of the tail fins. You can just about see in the stock picture:
      http://www.marjoya.com/images/790113-.jpg
      I hope that helps – sorry I can’t be of more use! :)

      Reply
      • Rochelle
        March 7, 2015 at 12:33 am (2 years ago)

        Thanks that’s a much clearer picture than any I’ve been able to find. The markings on my fishy match that picture and the charm has a nice weight to it, so I’m glad that it seems to be authentic :D

        Thanks for your help!

        Reply
        • Mora Pandora
          March 7, 2015 at 11:04 pm (2 years ago)

          Oh good, you’re very welcome – glad to hear that you’ve got the real deal! :D

  12. Hannah
    March 19, 2015 at 12:26 am (2 years ago)

    Hi there, I have just bought the birds of a feather charm 791213CZN. I was just wondering if you’d know where the hallmark would be on this charm? Or even if it has one at all?
    Would pandora retailers be able to confirm if a charm is genuine or not?
    Don’t wanna get caught out :/

    Reply
  13. Hannah
    April 1, 2015 at 12:36 pm (2 years ago)

    Hi I brought a glass bead and the core looks bend an uneven could this be fake thanks

    Reply
    • Mora Pandora
      April 1, 2015 at 11:28 pm (2 years ago)

      Hi Hannah, it certainly could be but I don’t really have enough info to go on :) feel free to send me a picture if you’re unsure about it!

      Reply
  14. Lynn
    April 21, 2015 at 3:14 pm (2 years ago)

    Hi, I bought a 21 hanging charm from ebay
    Not sure it’s genuine it has s925 ale on the left side of rim
    When charm facing right way. Should it say pandora on other
    Side please. Thanks lynn

    Reply
  15. Jess taylor
    August 16, 2015 at 1:49 pm (2 years ago)

    Hello I bought Disney signature charm glow in the dark charm a Anna and tinkerbelle from a personal shopper but have noticed glitter is stuck to the core is this a sign that it’s fake???
    Thank you x

    Reply
    • Mora Pandora
      August 17, 2015 at 11:49 pm (2 years ago)

      Hi Jess, it’s a bit hard to tell what exactly your charm looks like from your description – but on my genuine Disney muranos the glitter looks like it is on the core as well. If you turn the murano sideways you can only see clear glass – no glitter. Hope that helps! Feel free to post/email some pics if you like x

      Reply
  16. P Ince
    August 22, 2015 at 7:43 pm (2 years ago)

    Hi You said that the charms never use Swarskoski crystals. Does that apply to earrings & necklaces. I thin I have been caught out on a website which you have to join.

    Reply
    • Mora Pandora
      August 22, 2015 at 9:32 pm (2 years ago)

      Some charms and jewellery have pavé detailing, but not Swarovski crystals. What website is that?

      Reply
  17. manni
    December 30, 2015 at 10:08 pm (1 year ago)

    I just ordered a Pandora Moments Silver Signature Clasp Bracelet but I can’t find the hallmark written anywhere on the bracelet, it looks real though. I contacted the seller and they said that since its a 2015 model, it has ‘Pandora’ written on the side.

    Reply
    • Mora Pandora
      January 1, 2016 at 7:09 pm (1 year ago)

      Oh right, I have not heard of them being different for 2015 – but I haven’t bought a new barrel clasp bracelet this year. The hallmark should be inside the clasp?

      Reply
      • manni
        January 2, 2016 at 8:47 pm (1 year ago)

        It doesn’t seem to be there :(

        Reply
  18. Naz
    January 26, 2016 at 9:07 am (1 year ago)

    Hi I recently brought a two tone teapot and realised the marking is on the side under the hole whereas I’ve seen the marking under the spout. Does this mean my charm is fake?

    Reply
    • Mora Pandora
      January 26, 2016 at 11:42 pm (1 year ago)

      Hi Naz, I’ve had this question from a couple of people now and the answer is that I don’t know for sure, unfortunately! With many Pandora charms, the location of the hallmarks can vary depending on when it was made and from mould to mould in the production process. Where did you buy this teapot?

      Reply
      • Naz
        January 27, 2016 at 1:29 am (1 year ago)

        I brought it from a girl selling it on Instagram. She’s had positive feedback and assured me it was authentic. I showed it to a lady on a Facebook group who’d help me and she said it was most likely a fake.

        Reply
        • Mora Pandora
          January 27, 2016 at 11:49 pm (1 year ago)

          Ah! Well, the first person who asked me got theirs from Rue La La. And the second got theirs from Perlen. Both are very reputable sites, so that suggests that there authentic teapots with hallmarks on the base. It’s a bit of a mystery though as it’s hard to find any pictures online with hallmarks anywhere other than the spout. Perhaps it’s worth asking Pandora themselves!

  19. Michelle R
    January 27, 2016 at 12:51 pm (1 year ago)

    Hi I’ve just bought a Disney 2015 charm from somebody through a Pandora Facebook site. Is this charm threaded or not? Apart from that everything else seems very legit. I tried to look online it couldn’t read anywhere about it. This one doesn’t seem to be threaded but my 2016 charm is threaded. Thanks Shell

    Reply
    • Eliza
      January 27, 2016 at 7:03 pm (1 year ago)

      I recently brought the Cinderella heart with the quote engraved from a pandora store and mine is threaded it’s also stamped with copy write symbol and disney on one side and then pandora and s925 ale on the other. Hope that helps, nothing worse than thinking something you paid for is a fake when told other wise by the seller.

      Reply
  20. Kailey
    February 25, 2016 at 12:34 am (1 year ago)

    Hi, just wondering if the retired Zebra Murano I got off eBay is fake. I’ve worn it constantly (even in the shower) for about a month or two and now the core is loose and twirls slightly and wiggles up and down slightly making me think it’s a fake. Can this happen from heavy wear? Also, I got the Disney Snow White Apple from a friend about the same time and she says she got it from an etsy shop. It looked real enough when I got it but now where the Disney copyright is it’s almost completely rubbed off and I didn’t know if that could happen too with heavy wear. Keep in mind I’ve put these charms on and then not taken them off for a month and I never take off the bracelet and shower with it one so it does get nice and wet frequently(I know, I’m terrible to my jewelry).

    Reply
  21. Kate
    March 2, 2016 at 11:46 am (12 months ago)

    Hi, hoping someone can help me! I brought two of the Murano daisy beads from different sellers on the Internet. They both have hallmarks and screw on and look authentic. The thing is that the yellow centre of the flowers sticks out on one (3D) and not on the other. Any ideas which one is fake?

    Reply
    • Mora Pandora
      April 10, 2016 at 11:01 pm (11 months ago)

      Hi Kate, I realise this is a bit old and I missed your comment first time around – the field of daisies murano should be 3D, with a yellow centre in each petal that goes through the glass if you look at it sideways. :)

      Reply
  22. Moji
    March 17, 2016 at 9:09 am (12 months ago)

    Hi Ellie, I have a buttercup charm I got from Jewel first, I did chat with customer service before purchasing on their ebay (postage and charm was cheaper than their website). It seem legit to me, but its so clean looking inside and the hallmarks are not oxidized just silver. Will send you photo to your email. Thank you.

    Reply
  23. Carol
    April 10, 2016 at 3:58 pm (11 months ago)

    hello!!! I just bought the minnie bow dangle charm from Disney, pave…can’t find Any marks on it, where should they be? Thanks so much!

    Reply
    • Mora Pandora
      April 10, 2016 at 11:04 pm (11 months ago)

      Oh I’m sorry I don’t actually have that one, so I’m not sure where they should be for that one! Maybe on the inside of it, tucked on to a rim somewhere? Get a magnifying glass that can help :)

      Reply
  24. Alice
    May 10, 2016 at 8:08 pm (10 months ago)

    Hi, I just received the eiffel tower charm for my birthday. It has all the pandora hallmarks but also has a small triangle next to the “ALE” marking. I had never seen that, is it authentic? I’d love to have your opinion on it! thank you!

    Reply
    • Mora Pandora
      May 12, 2016 at 10:59 pm (10 months ago)

      I have noticed little triangles on some of my newly bought Pandora charms, also next to the ALE marking – specifically, the new Filled with Romance heart and the older openwork Roses charms. It seems to be a new extra hallmark that Pandora are doing – although they appear on some charms, not all of them :) I’m not sure what the system is exactly!

      Reply
      • Alice
        May 18, 2016 at 8:33 pm (9 months ago)

        Oh well that is interesting! At least it is genuine, that is what matters. Thank you for your reply, and if I you ever find the explanation behind it , let me know :)

        Reply
  25. Theresa
    May 13, 2016 at 1:25 pm (10 months ago)

    Hi, I just bought a pair of charms second hand. These are a discontinued model, and at first glance they seemed authentic, but looking more closely, I’m not so sure. If I send you a photo, could you take a look?

    Reply
  26. Nicoletta
    June 24, 2016 at 4:41 pm (8 months ago)

    Hi!! First of all, your blog is fantastic and a huge help in seeing up close the charms, so thank you!
    Secondly, I’m writing to you because I just bought the Eeyore charm on ebay and I can’t tell if it’s fake or not. I had to go through ebay ’cause I live outside the US, but even if I want to keep the charm even if it’s fake, I want to leave a honest feedback on ebay.
    So, I confronted my charm with the photos you’ve posted and it has all the markings (Pandora, Disney and S 925 ALE are all on the bottom). All in all, it’s very good. The only thing that makes me suspicious is the oxidised detailing. Mine is shiner than the one in your pictures and so some details are less detailed (excuse the phrasing but English is not my native tongue). I searched other photos online, but yours were the only ones I’m sure are authentic. So, I was wondering if in your experience, since the Pandora charms are handmade, if those differences are due to that or if I have a fake on my hands.
    Thanks in advance and sorry for the long comment!

    Reply
  27. Louisa
    July 22, 2016 at 12:00 pm (7 months ago)

    Hi there i have recently brought a charm from eBay, it has all the hallmarks and a small triangle next to ALE. I contacted the seller and she said it is genuine as it was from her friend who works at Pandora. What is the reason for the triangle? I was worried it was a fake.
    Kind regards
    Louisa

    Reply
  28. Iryna
    October 25, 2016 at 7:51 pm (4 months ago)

    Hi Ellie, you mention in this article that usually Murano glass beads have oxidized core but not always. I just bought 2 retired muranos # 790656 Green with Lime hearts (I believe 2011 collection), and I bought them from an authorized retailer that is listed on pandora.net for US (www.denmarkstyle.net), both muranos have threaded core but it is nor oxidized. And there is no S mark on them, only 925 ALE. I am guessing they were released just before Pandora introduced S in front of 925.
    There is no reason to doubt that an authorized retailer would sell a fake, right?

    Reply
  29. Lizzie
    February 23, 2017 at 8:20 pm (3 days ago)

    I think I may have been had on a ‘light as a feather’ bead in Pandora rose. It is absolutely beautiful but not stamped. What do you think?

    Reply

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