Originally from Copenhagen in Denmark, PANDORA had fairly humble beginnings, starting as a small, local jeweller in 1982. Thirty years later, after expanding dramatically and becoming a leading brand sold in over 65 countries, PANDORA owes much of its success to the company’s iconic charm bracelet. Launched in 2000 and initially only sold in Denmark, it was an instant hit. By 2004 the company had begun selling in the United States, Germany and Australia, with their charm bracelets coming to represent the brand as a whole.
PANDORA claims the charm bracelet was created to celebrate the 'unforgettable' moments in a woman's life, with each charm symbolising a memorable point in their lives. Through adding new charms, women are able to create a piece of jewellery that is representative of their personalities and experiences while combining it with PANDORA’s matching earrings and necklaces.
But the charm bracelet is far from a new concept. In fact, charms can be traced as far back as the Neolithic era, when unusual items such as stones or pieces of wood were collected and carried with the view that they protected the wearer from evil spirits. Similarly, there is proof that the Egyptians made charm bracelets and necklaces using gems and pieces of metal, again as a means of protection and examples have been found in excavated tombs.
Perhaps surprisingly, wearing charm bracelets for aesthetic reasons did not develop until the Victorian era. Queen Victoria herself was known for her love of bracelets decorated with beads and other miniature items and they became a popular accessory amongst the Victorian gentry.
But charm bracelets as we know them today did not take off until the 1950s and 60s, when it became a tradition to give them to young women on special birthdays such as their 16th or 21st. During this era, many women collected charms, adding to their bracelets as a means of expressing significant changes in their lives. Each new charm represented an important event, such as their wedding day or the birth of their first child. In a sense, the mid 20th century paved the way for charm bracelets to become a record of the wearer’s personal history.
While charm bracelets had started to dwindle in popularity over the latter half of the 20th century, PANDORA has successfully modernised this historic concept with their combination of interchangeable decorative beads and themed charms. Through their versatility, charm bracelets are once again a way for women to wear jewellery that is at once unique and inherently personal.