I suppose I should have created a beginner’s guide to Trollbeads first when I began my new addiction, but being new to the Trollbeads Universe myself, I was still piecing everything together. However, since I’ve literally thrown myself into this awesome brand, I’ve learned a thing or two and hope that this article can be informative to all you ladies thinking about taking (or taken) the plunge to Trollbeads.
Trollbeads was actually the originator of the modern charm bracelet concept – started in 1976 by Søren Nielsen and Lise Aagaard (brother and sister), Trollbeads pioneered modular bracelet jewelry by stringing charms onto the bracelet instead of the traditional charms that hung off the bracelet. Trollbeads’ charms primarily focused on silver and gold in the beginning. It was only in 2001 that glass beads were introduced to the line and they took off from there. In my opinion, this brand’s glasswork is head above shoulders of their competitors. There are two types of glass beads (all made of Murano glass exported from Italy): ones that are produced in large quantities called production beads and ones that are aptly named uniques (or One of A Kind, OOAK) because they are one off experiments in color or pattern coordination. Production beads enjoy a regular place in the Trollbeads catalog, whereas the uniques are unlisted and available at the larger retailers. These production beads and classic uniques are “small cored” meaning that they do not fit on Pandora bracelets due to their threading system. However, recently in the summer of 2011, Trollbeads announced that they would begin adding “Universal Uniques” to the collection; these UUs, as they are generally referred to, are uniques that have been made with a larger diameter silver core allowing these to fit onto almost any bracelet brand (Pandora included). While many Trollbead purists have denounced these UUs, it does allow customers to mix and match their jewelry…if you’re into that sort of thing ;).
Now taking a couple steps back, as I do love to go on and on about Trollbeads’ glass, the brand offers a unique experience in that they allow you to interchange every part of the bracelet, using a lock and chain system. That’s something to consider when you purchase your first bracelet, is how to pick out the size. Trollbeads come in the same sizes as Pandora, except I actually go up a size with Trollbeads because of how many glass beads I have on my bracelets, my normal size for Pandora would be too tight to allow this. Therefore, I wear a 19 cm total bracelet – the lock is usually 2 cm (unless you’re using the big flower or fish double lock, then it’s a tad longer) so you would add that to the size of the chain you need, so for me, I’d need a 17 cm chain. Usually I just tell the retailer what size my complete bracelet is and they send me the right length. It should be noted that because of the fishtail design of the bracelet, stretching is not an issue. Even though not all Trollbeads fit on Pandora bracelets, all Pandora fits on the Trollbeads bracelet making it the more flexible choice to combine brands.
As for charms, Trollbeads comes in silver, two-tone, and gold, but the gold is 18K which makes the prices significantly higher than Pandora’s two-tone gold. There are certainly a few favorite two-tone charms that I see are very popular, including the two-tone daisy, happy universe, maternity and paternity, and strawberry, but the costs of the all gold charms is so prohibitive that I haven’t seen anyone buy those. The silver charms are definitely more quirky than Pandora’s, with a baroque feel to these beads and most are not what you would call mainstream, they are also generally bigger in size. Although, that’s partly why I like the Trollbeads silver is because they’re more imposing and ornate than my Pandora.
While Trollbeads do offer safety chains, I find that because I have to grasp the lock to unclip the bracelet, there is little chance of dropping the bracelet so I have actually not purchased one of these. The lock itself is so secure that I can’t imagine how it could be opened by accident. While Trollbeads do not require clips, they do offer silicone stoppers. I do have a couple of these, but haven’t found that I need to use them since the beads don’t get caught on any threads (see the video).
Trollbeads offers about 3 releases per year, spring, autumn, and the holidays, with a smattering of limited edition releases in between. However, since Trollbeads is constantly making new uniques, you definitely don’t get bored with this brand (nor will your wallet get a break!) with all the selection available. It’s a never-ending bead hunt. My biggest criticism with Trollbeads is their distribution system; it is almost impossible for me to see these beads in person. Trollbeads is offered mainly by boutique independent retailers, and while I would love to support my local business, the stores near me (all about 30 minutes away) carry a limited selection of the production beads and none of the uniques. I’m usually forced to search out these beauties on the Internet; but it is nice that most of the high level stores have a great online presence. Unlike Pandora, Trollbeads have lifted their restriction on international shipping, so now charms can be ordered and shipped all over the world. Similar to Pandora, Trollbeads retailers are ranked in tiers based on the amount they sell, inventory that they carry, and how many beads they can order: silver > gold > platinum > diamond. I think this is the weakest part of the Trollbeads business and what prevents them from getting more customers in the US.
I hope this video demonstration answers any other questions you have about Trollbeads, but if not, please feel free to Contact Us. 🙂