Fashion and Beauty Director Julia McEwen travelled to Thailand with Pandora to learn how this brand makes its jewellery.
In 1982, Pandora was a small shop in Copenhagen, Denmark, with two employees and one goal: to create high-quality jewellery at an affordable price.
Fast-forward to 2016, where the company is a jewellery powerhouse with 16,700 employees, stores in more than 100 countries and $3.2 billion in sales last year alone. Chief creative officer Stephen Fairchild says there's a simple explanation for Pandora's wise-reaching appeal: Its iconic charm bracelets tap into customers' desire for personal expression. "It's an emotional jewellery brand; there is literally something for every woman," he says.
Julia visited Pandora's facilities in Gemopolis, Bangkok's jewellery district. Making a Murano-glass charm takes a steady hand.
Those famous bracelets are also accessible when it comes to price point—mostly because Danish goldsmith and founder Pers Enevoldsen moved the company's manufacturing arm to Thailand in 1989. The country's location between China and India means close proximity to resources such as silver and gemstones. As well, 96 percent of the gold grains Pandora uses are recycled material (the rest comes from certified conflict-free mines.)
But for Pandora, easy access doesn't trump ethics, and the company has prioritized workers' rights since its inception. At the Bangkok facility, the emphasis is on training and supporting the 11,000 employees, including free transport to work, pension funds and biannual retreats.
High-quality, unique, guilt-free jewellery that won't set us a mortgage payment is something we can wholeheartedly get behind.
Here are our Pandora picks.