I’m on vacation and I decide to swing into a small independent Dollar Store that I’ve never been in just to see what they had to offer.
I was blown away!
The store was quite busy, but one particular counter was bustling: The Jewelry Counter.
There were 8 ladies (picture a mad swarm) all huddled around 3 huge displays of…
Pandora Bracelet Beads
I was shocked. A sign on the counter said “Beads $1 Each“. Pandora Beads for just $1.00? It sure looked like it.
From where I stood I could see every color of bead you could imagine. Metal Beads, Spacers, Clips, Dangles, they even had the Bracelets themselves… How can they do it?
Surely a Dollar Store isn’t a real Authorized Pandora Dealer…
On the counter were examples of bracelets with different Pandora Themes. A Love Bracelet with Hearts, Pink Beads and ones that say LOVE. A Black and White Themed Bracelet (one of the most popular themes there is). A Blue Themed Bracelet that was quite stunning (photograph at the bottom of the post). One in Red… One in Green… They even had Wood Beads!
I had to Learn more!
After about 40 minutes, half the ladies bought their 80 Beads ($80) and left happy, smiling and laughing… I finally get up to the counter.
I ask the sales lady if these were real Pandora Beads. She laughs “NO! Are you kidding? The real Pandora Beads sell for $30 and up… These are Pandora-Like. Pandora-Style. Some customers call them Pand-Dollars, but they will all fit on the Pandora Charm Bracelet. A lot of people will mix them together (so much for the warranty) and no one will know the difference.”
Ahhhhh, so they are…
Knock-Offs, Look-A-Likes, Replicas!
The Beads are not official, but they do look great. I will say right here that the store never did have any signs posted that said “Pandora Beads“, or even just “Pandora“. They didn’t have to, that’s what you automatically think of when you see these styles of beads.
In fact, when I see any of the competitors beads, I always think of Pandora. Pandora started this whole craze and that’s what people associate with (It’s like Kleenex is still called Kleenex no matter what brand you have).
I feel relieved that these weren’t the real Pandora Beads or Pandora Bracelets. But it sure was an eye opener. These fakes are selling like hot cakes. Women are going gaga over them and buying them like they’re going out of style.
From a distance (and even close up), you’d never really know the difference. The ladies had them on their arms and they looked real to me. But then again, if you think in all honesty, that you could get a REAL Pandora Bead for just a buck, then you’ve got another thing coming.
Pandora Beads are Expensive
Pandora Charm Beads really are expensive. And some beads are VERY expensive and can run into the hundreds. If you sell Pandora Beads (the real Authentic Pandora Beads from an Authorized Pandora Dealer), you will never get a discount on them unless it’s part of an actual Pandora Promotion or Program. That way they don’t tarnish their image and don’t cut their own throats. But with the amount of money they charge for each and every bead, it’s no wonder that these cheap knock-offs are selling like crazy. Who wants to pay $40 for one single bead? An entire bracelet full of Beads could easily run you $700 and up.
Let’s take a closer look at these cheap beads…
Cheap Charm Beads
I find out that the beads vary in what they are made of. Some are made of plastic, some metal, some glass, some clay and some are even made out of wood. The details are great, they definitely would fool most. Usually when you see cheap knock-offs, they would run you $3, $5, $7 and up (depending on which store is selling them). So seeing them for $1 is unheard of.
Here are some pictures of the colored beads…
Photographing the beads (I bought for this post) makes all the flaws more obvious. Keep in mind these pictures are 50x the size of what the actual bead is. To the naked eye, and on the arm, you really wouldn’t notice the slight imperfections. Even Pandora Beads don’t hold up well when photographed and enlarged this size.
The glass work on these cheap beads is not perfect. The paint job’s not perfect. Even the roundness isn’t perfectly round. I noticed some of the beads varied in thickness and width. Some had uneven edges and uneven black inlay. But what else can you expect? It’s just a buck!
The Caps come off!
I picked up one bead and the cap fell off (just like the $13 ones that my friend bought on eBay). The sales lady says “Oh, don’t worry about that, just put a drop of super glue on the cap and it’ll be good to go“.
I kept saying to myself, they’re not real, they don’t say they are real, they’re not stamped Pandora. They’re not even stamped 925 ALE like the real ones are. They are as fake as fake can be.
They have cute Metal Beads
They have wonderful Dangle Beads
They have cool hand-painted Wood Beads
Plus Tons of Other Assorted Beads
Plus, they even have Clips!
You could buy an entire bracelet full of beads for just $23! That’s insane to even think about. Less than the price of ONE Pandora Bead you could get an entire finished bracelet.
The lady tells me that anyone who buys a bead from them knows they are fake. It’s a cheap fake bead for a dollar. You get what you pay for.
I have no problem with this. There is no fraud involved. It’s not like they’re trying to deceive the public. If you buy cheap beads and fully understand they are fakes, then who cares? No worries! Buy them, enjoy them.
It’s the places that are trying to fool you into thinking these are “authentic” that is where the problem begins. The issue of fraud is serious and I would imagine if you looked hard enough you could find fake beads on the market that are actually stamped “Pandora“. You have to be careful when places say they are “Authentic” and they are cheaper than the real beads. If there’s ever a question as to the authenticity, DON’T BUY IT!
Are these fake Bracelets and Beads right for you? Only you can decide. Read more in my Post: Fake Pandora Beads!
Compare FAKE to REAL Pandora!
Not too bad eh? It looks fun and colorful to me. If you don’t have $1000 to blow on a real Pandora Bracelet, or if you’re just buying a child one or a teen one, then it’s a great deal. Why break the bank? Plus, you won’t feel bad if they break it or lose it.
Buy the cheapy and no one will be the wiser.
The market is so saturated with beads and bead bracelets now. Every Jewelry Store has their own exclusive designer line of Beads, Bracelets, Themes and Catalogs. With so many Beads and so many Bracelets, it’s impossible to tell any of them apart…
Price is the selling point!
The one big difference that I can see is price. Pandora still charges more than any other Charm Bracelet Company out there. Is Pandora cutting off their own foot? Possibly!
With today’s economy and with so many different knock-offs and fakes, it’s incredible to me that Pandora still raises their prices. Still making it harder for people to afford them. Plus, Pandora has cut way back on their Promotions and Give-a-ways in the last year or so. The prices continue to soar…
I feel like they are pushing away their own customers (like these ladies at the counter) into all the other alternative stores to buy the replicas. And if no one knows it’s fake until you tell them, then everybody is happy.
Sure, some Pandora Enthusiasts and Jewelers will be able to spot the difference in a second, but most won’t, and most won’t care.
Price does matter!
When people are buying cheap beads for a dollar a piece, I think I see the writing on the wall…
Can you afford Pandora?
These cheap beads aren’t perfect (But then again, neither is Pandora). Many will wear down, break, lose their shine and tarnish, plus they don’t thread on the bracelet like the real Pandora Beads do (that’s Pandora’s special Patent), but after all, it’s just a buck.
One day everyone will own a bracelet, and then one day…
No one will want one!
How long can Pandora keep their lead when everywhere you look there’s another knock-off bead?
Only time will tell!