I can’t believe that it’s been almost a year since Pandora launched their latest concept, the Essence Collection. I’ve spent enough time wearing and testing out the products that I thought I could finally give an in-depth review of their bracelets. Currently, there are 4 types of chains available – the traditional thin snake chain, two-tone bracelet, beaded bracelet, and fabric string. Also, with the Winter 2014 Collection the brand will be introducing an Essence necklace which is a longer chain in the same style as their regular bracelet.
The Essence Collection came out last November and has garnered mixed feedback from fans. Some love the elegant aesthetic and the meaning behind the beads while others were disappointed that it was not compatible with the original Pandora charm bracelets. I was a fan of the concept with beads that didn’t move on the bracelet but was more ambivalent about the attached characteristics of the designs. While that hasn’t changed, I have decided that I’m thoroughly enjoying the look of my bracelets and even getting some charms that don’t necessarily represent my personality (*cough*Patience*cough*).
Turning to the bracelets themselves, within the first few months a design flaw became apparent with the original clasps. The bracelet ends are pointed and made to thread the beads like a needle, which for some customers meant that their bracelets would unexpectedly unhook and potentially be lost. I’ve never had that happen personally but there were various reports on Facebook which lead to a change in the clasp design over the summer. Now if you compare the old clasps with the new clasps, you can see that there’s an extra curve that holds the bracelet end and the ends themselves have also been rounded out. If you have one of the original bracelets, check with your local store to see if they’ll exchange it for one of the newer ones.
Again, I’ve not had any problems with my traditional snake chains and I find that the beads still move around a bit but the hold is pretty good. Pandora released another silver bracelet style over the summer and with some difficulty, I waited until the Essence Fall 2014 Collection came out to pick one up. This beaded chain reminded people of the keychains or dogtag chains, but in person it is looks delicate and elegant. It’s much more flexible than the snake chain and I love stacking it with my other Essence bracelets. The beads also hold on rather well but I find that it’s just a shade more difficult to thread charms on because of the blunted tip and loose chain.
I also indulged in the double wrap black fabric string bracelet with my Pandora cruise rebate voucher and purchased a couple of the zodiac Essence beads. The clasp and end are the same as for the other bracelets and the string is actually sturdier than I expected. I believe there’s a wax coating on it and it’s different from the other fabric strings that the brand offers. I haven’t had any problems with the durability of this bracelet yet but I’ve only been wearing it for a few months.
The most recent addition to my Essence collection is the two-tone bracelet which was released early for the September bracelet promotion. This was fabulous timing and I spent enough to get one for free. It is the same as the regular silver bracelet, and the gold clasp is designed with the new more secure hook. I can’t wait to build up this bracelet with the other two-tone Essence beads!
This is a rather lengthy review but it was a lot of information to get through, so I hope it’s been helpful. Unfortunately, Pandora does not have a safety chain option for the Essence bracelets, but the Thomas Sabo Karma Beads safety chains are compatible if you’re looking for one that fits. What do you think of the Essence line? Have you gotten a bracelet or two?