The creation and crafting of every piece of Pandora jewellery is a carefully orchestrated journey. It involves a special collaboration between skilled designers and craftspeople from the Pandora Global Office and our state-of-the-art crafting facilities in Thailand. With 10 annual collections, Pandora has a unique opportunity to capitalize on global trends in a way that few other jewellery companies can. However, it also requires that each collection is carried by a strong creative idea guided by Pandora’s core design language to expanding and carry our brand to the next level.
We all have so much power within, and jewellery is a wonderful way to express that power for the world to see.
1 Creative Process
Pandora's Design Process consists of six steps that transform ideas into real, tangible prototypes. The first step is the Analytical Process, where trends are identified, consumers deliver feedback and the local market needs are evaluated. The second step is the Creative Process; in this step the design department conceptualizes their ideas by creating mood boards. It is this step where the collection's development, including the direction and expression, begin to unfold. Next, the drawings and illustrations are created during the Sketching Process. During this phase, details are constantly being added, changed and removed.
Drawing inspiration from an age that transformed the role of women, the essence of the Renaissance is reimagined for a new generation of women to reflect their creativity and personality.
Designing Pandora Reflexions. Francesco Terzo & A. Filippo Ficarelli, VP Creative Directors, Pandora
Our two VP designers behind the scenes, preparing for the Pandora Reflexions model photo shoot.
2 Design & Sample Development
After Sketching comes the Pre-Production Process. In this stage, production facilities are engaged to ensure they can transform all of the new ideas into protoypes. After the first few prototypes are created, there are sometimes revisions to the original to ensure the proportions or perspectives are just right. The revision stage is called the Drawing Deadline. The entire collection’s prototypes are created at this stage. Based on the initial drawings, a 3D/ CAD computer model is created and, once approved, the drawings and model are used for creating a jewellery master. The final stage of the design process is called Product Board, where the final designs are selected by regional representatives to be included in the collection.
The final product (Pandora Reflexions shown) undergoes hundreds of changes and adjustments before the design is finalised.
3 Rubber Mould Cutting
Next, we create a rubber mould by pressing several layers of rubber around the jewellery master and then vulcanising the form in a special machine called a vulcaniser. This chemical process, named after the Roman god of fire, Vulcan, converts natural rubber into a more durable material through the use of sulphur. The jewellery master is then cut away, leaving behind a rubber mould with an identical hollow impression.
4 Wax Model
The rubber mould is injected with molten wax – two metal plates are pressed on either side of the mould to prevent the wax from floating out – which hardens into exact copies of the original jewellery master. The wax model rests to cool for a few minutes before removing from the rubber mould. Each rubber mould is very efficient; it can be reused up to 2,000 times.
The wax model is cleaned and attached to a wax tree with a burner, adding more wax models until the tree is full.
6 Burnout Ovens
The wax trees are then placed into metal cylinders to create plaster moulds. The cylinders are filled with liquid gypsum and heated in a burnout oven for several hours, baking the gypsum into a hard plaster and melting and evaporating the wax. The process leaves chambers in the plaster shaped as the jewellery master.
The plaster moulds then go into a casting machine and silver or gold alloy is poured. The metal alloy melts down into the forms, replicating the jewellery master
When the plaster casts have cooled down, the metal trees are removed from inside and cleaned to remove any residue.
The jewellery forms are cut from the tree. Any surplus metal is refined and reused.
To prepare the metal for further adornment and refinement by our goldsmiths or stone setters, a rough polish is applied to smooth out uneven areas.
11 In-Line Quality Control
There are many quality control checkpoints during our crafting process, depending on the crafting facility. The first check usually performed during this step.
12 Assembling, Soldering & Stone Setting
Pandora’s skilled goldsmiths adorn and detail our jewellery designs using a variety of crafting techniques. Different elements are assembled and soldered to create the finished masterpieces. Design details including fitting clasps on bracelets and necklaces, soldering bails on dangles, adding metal cores inside glass and stone charms, or silicone grips inside clips, and creating adorable movable features on Pandora Friends charms are done during this step. Stones are set, either by hand or in the wax model, using many classic settings which secure and showcase their beauty.
13 Polishing & Tumbling
Every piece of jewellery is polished beautifully before the most important quality control check. The jewellery is placed in a special tumbler machine to smoothen and buff the surface before ultrasonic cleaning removes any residue.
This step creates different surface effects on metals, such as high shine, satin effects and diamond pointing, to create a spectacular texture that is both matte and brilliant without using stones. This technique originated in the 17th century and was updated in the last century, and utilizes a diamond-pointed tool to prick the surface of the metal to create the effect.
15 Oxidation & Plating
In this step, special finishes are added to select high-quality metals to create different tones and contrasts. Finishes include oxidisation, e-coating (electric coating) and plating on metals, such as 18k gold-plated sterling silver (Pandora Shine), our 14k rose gold-plated unique metal blend (Pandora Rose), and rhodium-plated sterling silver. Please read the “Metal Plating” chapter for more information.
16 Enamelling & Gluing
Enamelling is a decoration often used on Pandora jewellery. Colours are mixed in-house and the glossy, hardwearing enamel is applied to the jewellery by hand using a thin needle, or by hand-painting it for shaded enamel effects. Freshwater cultured pearls and lacquered artificial pearls are also set by hand, carefully glued onto traditional peg settings. These processes always take place after polishing and tumbling.
17 Final Quality Control
All pieces of jewellery go through a vigorous quality control process, and here we give the final approval that the specific product embodies Pandora's strict quality standards.
18 Packing & Shipping
The final step is packing the hand-finished Pandora jewellery and shipping it around the world, ready for women to wear, style and cherish.