This week we have Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and then head into Cyber Monday all for the express purpose of starting shopping. Before you start shopping for bracelet charms you need to realize that there are at least four major companies that make charms and bracelets and many people collect just one brand. Hopefully the guide below will help you out.
Pandora is the most widely known charm bracelet maker and is also perhaps the most expensive in the US. Their best charms are the silver with gold charms (shown above) and the murano glass charms. Pandora charms are cute and commemorate birthdays, weddings, and events of everyday life. This company has had a little trouble sculpting animals, i.e. the cat looks like a bunny, but they are improving that area and the hedgehog and penguin are really cute.
Troll Beads are probably the next largest brand in consumer recognition. Their charms have similar themes to Pandora and their animals are just a little better. The glass beads from Troll are very pretty and their “amber” glass beads are beautiful. Their best collection seems to be the “Pearl, Stone and Glass” charms sculpted with very distinctive artists’ designs.
Chamilia has pretty much the same offering in sterling silver charms as the others with one MAJOR exception. Chamilia apparently has the Disney license and therefore is the only company that can make charms depicting Disney characters. From Pooh and Tigger to the Cindarella Castle and Jiminy Cricket, the characters that not just kids love are available in charm form. For the most part these are well done, although the Fairy Godmother looks a little like Darth Vader. The icing on the Disney cake is the colorful glass beads with the Mickey ears in black. Chamilia has the absolutely most beautiful murano glass bead collection with a wide charm selection.
Kay Jewelers is a new player in the charm game with their “Charmed Memories” collection. Knowing that Kay is a huge chain and has tons of advertising, these could well be the premier charms of the future. Kay Jewelers seems to be the best for sterling silver animals, which are a little cartoonish but at least recognizable. Their bat charm and monkey charm are the best of all the companies in sterling silver.
It seems that all of these beads fit on their competitors’ bracelets, although the companies, Pandora especially, would rather you didn’t mix them. However, if your Pandora charm is stuck on your Kay bracelet, my guess would be that neither will fix it.