Jeweller Pandora takes fight to counterfeiters

Pandora Charm BraceletDanish jewellery company Pandora has chalked up a victory in its long-running war against criminals who illegally copy its products.

A police operation in Dorset in the UK discovered three people selling counterfeit Pandora beads through a number of different online marketplace accounts.

An investigation revealed the three individuals had made around £47,000 selling beads, claimed to be genuine Pandora items that had in fact been sourced from China. The Danish company produces all of its charm bracelet products from facilities in Thailand. In each case, fines of a few hundred pounds and a victim surcharge penalty were levied on those charged.

While the penalties were relatively modest, the judgement is an important symbolic victory for Pandora as it strives to protect its customers from knock-off products.

In some respects, Pandora has become a victim of its own success. In operation since the early 1980s it listed on the stock exchange in 2010 on the back of healthy sales growth. The economic downturn had an almost immediate impact on the company however with sales stalling as consumer spending power dipped, creating a fertile environment for counterfeiting.

Since 2012, Pandora's revenues have rocketed on the back of a major brand awareness campaign, new product launches and a push into new geographic markets and, with increasing brand visibility, counterfeiting is showing no sign of abating.

To combat counterfeiting, the company uses a series of distinctive characteristics to help customers identify genuine Pandora products. For example, Pandora charms and accessories are stamped with the initials "ALE" after Algot Enevoldsen, the father of the company's founder, Per Enevoldsen. However many imitators will now include the ALE mark so it is not a reliable indicator of counterfeiting. Other indicators include the sterling silver (S925) and gold (G585 or G750) markings.

Pandora pieces are handmade and so will have crisp lines in the details and the sculpts will be expertly shaped and well-polished while counterfeit pieces may be ‘flat’ or feel ‘soft’ in comparison. Of course, the actual quality of the piece can be quite difficult to determine if it is being bought online so Pandora recommends purchasing only from an authorised distributor.

Jon Le-Bon /

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