The last ten years have seen the popularity of bead and charm bracelets in the jewellery market increase enormously, with the corresponding rise of international brands such as Pandora, Trollbeads, and Chamilia amongst a host of competitors, imitators and fakers. As a jewellery photographer, I am lucky enough to photograph Pandora products for one of the larger Pandora retailers and storeowners.
The example here features silver, Murano glass and pearl.
Charm bracelets have been around for a very long time, and even Trollbeads made its first beads in 1976, launching the “bead on bracelet” concept some years later – the Trollbeads blog gives an interesting insight into the origins of the three Danish brands Trollbeads, Pandora and Lovelinks. Chamilia, like Storywheels, is a US company. So what has led to the rise of premium brands to the extent that many prestige high street jewellers carry one of the brands and in Pandora’s case, now have 469 of their own stores in prime retail locations throughout the UK?
Well, the successful brands have premium quality products, using materials that include sterling silver, 14 carat gold, Murano glass beads, swarowski crystal, semiprecious stones and in some cases precious gemstones. Their marketing includes high quality advertising, video and photography by specialist jewellery photographers. Marketing and pricing has positioned them as premium fashion brands. It has allowed them to appeal to a more affluent market and also, arguably, to a customer segment who may previously have considered charm bracelets as a cheaper, less serious and perhaps younger option. Like other fashion brands, new collections and lines are launched every season. And its not just about bracelets anymore. Pandora also offers rings, necklaces, earrings and watches.
A common theme is that a personalised bracelet can tell a story, or maybe the whole story, of your life. And of course, the ability to buy separate branded beads and charms as gifts, with the certainty that they will both fit and ‘fit in’, is a benefit for the gift buyer, the bracelet owner, the retailer and the brand.