Pandora’s charms are what made Pandora the great brand that we all know and love today. But also, the charms are the most counterfeited pieces for this brand, and your Pandora charm bracelet may or may not be a real piece by Pandora.
So, how can you tell if the Pandora charms are authentic? While most Pandora bracelets and jewelry will feature Pandora stamped on them, is this the case with all the Pandora charms?
This article answers your questions about the stamps on authentic Pandora charms and what you should know about the different charms by Pandora.
But first, are all Pandora charms stamped?
Before buying Pandora charms and/or charm bracelets, you should know that all the genuine Pandora jewelry have a hallmark stamp, even the charms that were made earlier than 2011. Look out for the 925 ALE stamp on the charms that were made before 2011, and for all others made after 2011, the stamp on the charms will read S925ALE.
If, on the other hand, you come across charms that were retired from the market or production prior to 2011, for example, Pandora Mushroom charms, and the charms have the S925ALE hallmark, you should know that such charms are fakes.
That said, not all Pandora charms will be hallmarked PANDORA, although the bracelet must have this stamp for authenticity purposes.
To reiterate, the most important stamp that you need to look out for in the small Pandora charms is the S925ALE or 925ALE hallmarks that represent different periods of their manufacture. The hallmark used specifies the metal that the charms are made of 92.5% pure silver alloyed with 7.5% pure copper. ALE is used to show that the charms are made by Pandora and that they are authentic. ALE is quite significant in Pandora jewelry because it is a hallmark that symbolizes the initials for the company’s founder – Algot Enevoldsen.
For bigger pieces of Pandora jewelry, the name PANDORA will be stamped on the piece alongside the S925ALE hallmark.
Some of the charms also have PANDORA stamped on them.
Tips for spotting a fake Pandora charm
- ALE Mark
As mentioned above, ALE is the initial for Pandora’s founder, and all genuine Pandora charms and jewelry options have this hallmark. This mark is always engraved after the metal’s mark, and it is the case for all Pandora charms, whether made of sterling silver (S925 ALE) or 14k gold (G585 ALE).
- Crown over the letter O
The letter O, in Pandora, will have a crown on top. Note that this mark is featured only on the pieces with barrel clasp bracelets. Note, however, that the older Pandora (charm) bracelets lack the crown – the crown over the O was introduced in 2008.
- Check the online Pandora Catalogue.
If you suspect that a Pandora charm is a fake, the next thing you should look for after confirming that it bears the 925 ALE or S925 ALE hallmark is to look it up on the Pandora website.
Browsing through the Pandora Catalogue or just the website to look for the particular design of the charm bracelet will tell you if the piece is genuine or a fake.
The best part is that Pandora features a Retired Section for their older charm designs, which leaves you with the best point of reference for charm designs by Pandora.
So, if the charm is not on the website, including the retired section, it might be a fake.
If a Pandora charm features Swarovski crystals, for example, that charm is obviously a fake. You cannot have a Pandora charm with crystals from another brand.
- Does the charm look and/or feel cheap?
If you have genuine Pandora charms, you should compare the genuine pieces with the charms you suspect could be fakes. Do they look like they have the same quality of craftsmanship? Usually, the fake charms are gold-plated, while the real charms are made of solid sterling silver. These silver-plated charms also feel quite lightweight; they could be smaller and not as detailed as genuine charms.
A threaded core is the other thing you will only see in the genuine Pandora charms, and the manufacturers of fake Pandora charms seem to always miss this. But the threaded core is not guaranteed proof because some of the genuine charms are pavé charms and don’t have the threaded core. To know what you should expect from the charm, check Pandora’s website to know exactly how the charm is supposed to look like.
The brightness of the charms is the other quality that sets apart the fake charms from the genuine ones. Charms with bright cores are fakes – genuine Pandora charms’ core is dull.
- Detailing and craftsmanship
The genuine Pandora charms are made by hand by highly skilled Pandora artisans with experience working with precious stones, precious metals, as well as colored Murano glass. Generally, the authentic Pandora charms feature highly detailed and elegant detailing and sculpting that applies to the gold and the silver pieces.
The engraved lines are crisp, well-shaped, and polished. The details on the charms can also be described as soft and flat, with no irregularities. So, if you notice any irregularities or roughness or a break in the details, that charm is probably a fake.
The charms are made of high-quality materials that will not flake or degrade after some time. And when it comes to the charms made of Murano glass beads, you’d want to carefully analyze the bead. If the glass bead looks scratched or cloudy, it’s likely a fake.
You also need to look at the gold or silver caps on the Murano beads – if these metallic caps look fake, poor quality, and without the Pandora hallmarks, they are glued. Fakes would also have the metallic elements carelessly glued on the beaded charms. And as mentioned above, the charms are fake if made of ‘Swarovski’ crystals.
Pandora charms and jewelry, in general, are considered commodities because of the use of precious metals and gemstones. So, the small charms don’t come cheap. If they are too cheap, it probably means that the charms are fakes.
Not sure if that charm is a genuine Pandora piece or not? Look out for the hallmark sign, quality of the charm and its craftsmanship, finesse in terms of the craftsmanship, price, whether it’s in the catalog, and how the charm(s) feel. Follow the tips shared above to avoid paying for fake charms.
Tiger is a fashion&jewelry lover. He is also a fashion jewelry manufacturer that help thousands of small business to grow and also do business with some big fashion jewelry brands. He is a truly metal expert and he will share some information you are looking for.