How to spot fake PANDORA jewellery

With the glut of selling platforms on the internet, from unauthorised websites and popular auction sites to local selling sites on social media, the risk of buying a piece of PANDORA jewellery which is not genuine, has never been higher. Many of these items may even be supplied in authentic packaging, which will be perfectly genuine even though the contents are not.

Many fake websites will use PANDORA logos and stock images taken from genuine sites, so always check contact information, FAQs (frequently asked questions) and Terms and Conditions. Many fake sites will be written in poor English and all official retailers are only allowed to post products within their own country.

John Greed Jewellery is an official online retailer for PANDORA, proud to offer the best quality, genuine products. When buying online, always shop with an official online retailer. If in doubt, check the authentic PANDORA website where you will find a list of official retailers. As all Official retailers within a country will have the same set prices, beware of highly discounted prices and remember that if something seems too good to be true, it usually is!

PANDORA will regularly discontinue or ‘retire’ charms which leads to a huge desirability amongst collectors for pieces that are no longer available in the retail market. With this in mind, we have put together this comprehensive guide to help our valued customers to avoid any pitfalls when buying their favourite brand.

Buying Pre-loved: Purity Marks, Maker’s Marks and Branding

All genuine PANDORA items are made from sterling silver, 14 carat gold or the unique blend of metals known as PANDORA Rose and will bear the corresponding marks for the metal purity. These are 925 for sterling silver, 585 for gold and ALE R for rose. Later pieces, manufactured after June 2011 will have S925 or G585 to bring them in line with changes in international standards. In addition to these, pieces will be marked with the initials ALE in dedication to Algot Enevoldsen, the father of one of the founders of the PANDORA company. However, be aware that if your jewellery does not appear to have these marks, it does not automatically mean it is fake. Some pieces are too small, others will have the marks on the interior of the piece and older items may have marks which have become worn and faint over time. When buying online, always ask for pictures of any visible marks – no genuine seller will be offended by such a request.

Additionally, in 2017, PANDORA introduced another QC (quality control) mark, which appears near to the S925 ALE. This new hallmark system sees the addition of small symbols, letters and numbers to their official traditional hallmark ‘ALE S925’, which allows Pandora to internally track down and determine the batch the item has originated from within their internal quality control.

Picture of hallmarks on a dangle charm vs fake hallmarks on fake family dangle charm.

The Crown over the O on barrel clasps is often taken as a sign of a genuine piece. However, do not be alarmed if this is missing as it was only introduced after 2008.

Images of new barrel clasp with crown and clasp from genuine bracelet without a crown. 

While these markings are a good indicator of the authenticity of the piece, and looking for them is the first step to take to ensure your articles are genuine, there are other things to look for if purchasing pre-loved items.

Craftsmanship, Detail and Quality

All authentic PANDORA pieces have a high level of detailing and in the case of charms it is this detail which gives them a look of having been sculpted! Lines are crisp and well defined and will be well shaped. If you are buying on the strength of photographs, be wary of stock photos. Ask for a picture of what you are actually buying or bidding on!

Image showing loop on bale which is unbroken, engraving of word Family, close up of gold detailing and hallmarks Vs fake item.

Fake items are often made using moulds so look for marks on the surface of pieces that could indicate they have been formed by casts or impressions.

Image of the reverse of the fake family charm to show casting marks.

Be vigilant when reading descriptions! PANDORA do not use Swarovski crystals in their jewellery and nor do they use plastic of any kind or glue. If you suspect that your jewellery has glued gems or if an online seller is claiming a piece contains branded Swarovski stone, simply walk away.

Many PANDORA bracelets and charms feature a unique threading system. Charms will have threading on the inside to allow them to pass securely over the ‘nodes’ which are at the ends and on the main body of these bracelets. Ask to see the inside of charms – are the threads visible? These threads are difficult to create and will add cost to the production process, so counterfeit items do not usually feature them. Be aware however, that since 2012, PANDORA has had a range of ‘openworks’ charms which do not have threading and which were designed to pass easily over the nodes. As the name implies, these charms are often ‘open’ in their design with intricate patterning. It may be hard to spot the hallmarks on this type of charm so if you have any doubt about the authenticity of such a charm, get advice from an authorised retailer or walk away. Also, be aware that if a fake charm becomes stuck on your bracelet, it can void the warranty on it.

Image of Item NC1869 to show the interior threads Vs image of fake item with no visible threads.

A PANDORA screw on safety chain has a swivel link on one end – beware of fakes which will not have this unique feature.

Image of both ends of a safety chain, clearly showing the swivel end link.

Many sellers of counterfeit items will appear to be trying to be open and honest by describing their goods as ‘Designed to fit PANDORA bracelet’, ‘Compatible with PANDORA’ or even ‘PANDORA style’. Be careful! For a fake charm, without threading, to pass over the nodes of a genuine bracelet, the inside of the charm will have had to be enlarged. The piece will be clumsy and lack the fine detail of an authentic piece. If you do come across a fake charm with threads, be careful that the charm does not become cross threaded when travelling across the nodes, as this could severely damage your bracelet.

Appearance and Weight

Trust your instinct. Does the piece look cheap? Is the silver too bright? – PANDORA has many oxidised charms and the interior of barrel clasps are NEVER highly polished. Does it feel light in your hand? – gold and silver are substantial metals so a piece of jewellery made from either should feel reasonably weighty in your palm. A piece that is as light as a feather may be a counterfeit.  

Genuine vs Fake

Examples of what to look for in a genuine PANDORA piece include sharp detail and clear hallmarks. In this image, the genuine charm can be seen on the left-hand side and the fake item on the right.

We hope this helps. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask

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Love Jenny & Team JG x