questionswhere can i get the best deal on pandora charms?

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If you want charms for the bracelet t a reasonable price and don't care about them being Pandora branded, you can get them for a couple of bucks and free shipping on EBay. Quite a wide selection. I buy these sometimes to put over glass beads to create slider bracelets with a similar concept as Pandora, but the bracelets are colorful. Oops, I see you want the brand name. With that I can't help you, as EBay is still a good resource but you can never be sure of the authenticity. Brand names have never been important to me, I just like what I like.

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I only trust buying Pandora from a few places. Online I sometimes buy from Rue La La, who has Pandora sales every couple months and you can get items at great prices. I will buy from www.pandoratowson.com which is ran by a very reputable jewerly store near the area I live (they have free shipping/no sales tax but unfortunately no sale prices) and I will by directly from their flagship jewelry store, Smyth. There is actually a Pandora outlet in Delaware that I go to about once a year that has good mark downs and is real Pandora retail store. And the only other place I buy it from is a real Pandora retail store that you find in the mall.

I have read many warnings about buying Pandora elsewhere because it is so easy to fake. So I stick to my small group of places and that makes me feel as confident as possible that I'm not buying junk. Good luck in your search and congrats to your wife!!

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@moondrake: The biggest thing I'm looking for is real silver. She is very sensitive to a lot of metals. I don't know how to tell if those on ebay are genuine or not. I had the same trouble on Amazon and other sites...

EDIT: The graduation Owl is perfect!

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@lmensor: I like the site. I can at least see tons of charms even if I find them else where. They are more expensive than I thought. We'll have to really thank dear aunt cindy!

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@nmchapma: The stuff I have gotten from EBay claiming to be sterling silver plate certainly appears to be genuine. You can see the difference in the color and reflectiveness and it feels a little different. It's probably very thin silver plate and might rub off easily, but I think EBay vendors are being honest in that regard. The reputation system on EBay is a powerful force for seller truthfullness.

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@pinchecat: Its good to see you again. You've been gone far too long :-)

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I'll agree with @lmensor on this one. Unless you are a near expert, it is going to be very hard to tell the difference between a good Pandora fake and a real Pandora charm. You really want genuine Pandora (as in: you don't want a knock off, regardless of how good it may look.) As such, I'd stay away from Ebay sellers and stick with authorized Pandora retailers.

Things like this: Pandora jewelry, high end watches, purses, and the like are difficult to find real deals on. The retail chain is controlled, and any "deal" is likely to be a fake.

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One of my sisters is a brand whore. She prefers designer everything. She has a Pandora bracelet and a few real Pandora beads for it, but for Christmas last year I got her a bunch of non-Pandora branded charms and she can't tell the difference and doesn't care that they aren't the brand name. Now that she's had a "taste" of them, she actually buys them on her own since they're so affordable and allow her to have so many more designs/combinations on her bracelet. If you really want a recognizable brand, Swarovski makes their own line of beads for Pandora bracelets called BeCharmed:

http://www.beadaholique.com/c-60935-pandora-style-beads.aspx

http://www.artbeads.com/becharmed-collection.html

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@thewronggrape: "Now that she's had a "taste" of them, she actually buys them on her own since they're so affordable and allow her to have so many more designs/combinations on her bracelet."

You've missed the point. It's not about brand, That's not what I'm trying to accomplish with this piece. If it were, I'd jump on those amazon and ebay beads. It isn't a fashion piece to change with the seasons or outfits. She has plenty of that. I'm trying to keep this one sentimental and I need beads that will last until she's 100 years old. One (or a few) bead at a time for special occasions. I just didn't realize these beads were that expensive and couldn't find anywhere that put them on sale. The swarovski is nice, I'll consider them too.

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@nmchapma: If you just want to ensure you get a really high quality bead, it doesn't have to be the Pandora brand. There are other reputable manufacturers that make their own charms/beads that will fit the Pandora bracelet such as Swarovski mentioned above and Kay Jewelers make their own too:

http://www.kay.com/en/kaystore/charmed-memories%C2%AE/1000820000/100063/1/0/0/0/100063.100066.100082

And there's Lassero: http://www.artbeads.com/lassero-silver-beads.html

Much of high price for Pandora beads is also to offset all the marketing/branding that they do. It doesn't have to be made by Pandora to be a quality, lasting piece. Just stick to precious metals such as sterling silver or gold filled, Murano glass, Austrian crystal, or gemstone. I would avoid eBay and international sellers though—you never know if that sterling silver charm is really sterling silver.

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i'd stay away from ebay regardless of the pictures and how 'real' they look. Many sellers sell fakes and use stock pictures so of course they look real. Many steal others' pictures. You can't bring a bead you bought on ebay into a pandora store for authentication - they just don't do that.
It's a nice gesture for you to get her the charm and very sweet of you to be concerned about it being genuine :) good luck.