Pandora bracelets for my nieces, or ...?
December 10, 2012 8:51 AM   Subscribe

Silver Pandora bracelets for teen nieces: Great idea, or old fogie fail? The girls are 14 and 16, in the US. Would this be something cool for them, or is there a new hotness along these lines that would more appreciated? (I'm working from thousands of miles, a different continent – and quite a few decades – away!)

I'm looking at this or this in 7.5 or 8 inches... not quite sure about the sizing, either, so let me know if that seems wrong. (They are tallish and athletic, and I think the 14 year old is even taller than her older sister.)
posted by taz to Shopping (32 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
As a not-teenage girl (mid-20s girl), I'm going with fail. I feel like these bracelets are something that the older generation has always thought that teenagers liked, and teenagers never liked.
posted by DoubleLune at 8:54 AM on December 10, 2012 [9 favorites]

I think it really depends on what part of the country they live in, if Pandora bracelets are cool for teens or super old fogie. For example, my two nieces that live in Appalachia love love love theirs and all their classmates have them, but my boyfriend's goddaughter who lives in Boca Raton thinks they're for old ladies.
posted by banannafish at 8:54 AM on December 10, 2012 [5 favorites]

My FIL got one for my daughter a couple years ago (she was 16 at the time) and she never wore it, mainly because it only had one bead on it. I think Pandoras and their ilk create pressure for people to run out and buy more beads/charms, which seems like a bit of a shackle.

My D does wear a silver locket we bought her several years ago.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 9:02 AM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I think for the most part this is an older-lady trend.

I know a few women in their early twenties who are really into silver Alex and Ani bangles. I am not young or trendy enough to know for sure that they're the current thing or already old and busted, but they're definitely younger and cooler than Pandora.
posted by Metroid Baby at 9:05 AM on December 10, 2012 [9 favorites]

My mother-in-law got me one of these a few years ago. I felt bad, because she handpicked all the charms and it was really very thoughtful in a way but I have never worn it because I think it's very tacky looking and not to my tastes at all. I still have it, because it's the thought that counts, but yeah.

For the money I would have preferred an ereader, or an amazon gift certificate.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:08 AM on December 10, 2012 [4 favorites]

I agree it feels like an older, like I am in my late 20s and wouldn't wear a Pandora bracelet (I did know a couple of early to mid-20s girls who did wear them and were really into them at a UK office job, but they were really square and the rest of the office was kind of baffled). I don't think jewelry is a bad gift for teen girls, but get them something more self-contained.
posted by SoftRain at 9:12 AM on December 10, 2012

I think the pandora bracelets do trend to older women who have disposable income who can buy the added beads.
I think a simple Tiffany jewelry or tiffany inspired design would be better. Wouldn't look out of place in a few years.
posted by tipsyBumblebee at 9:15 AM on December 10, 2012

For teens, I would absolutely skip it, unless you're totally sure they'd want one. I agree that Tiffany is probably better; they do a lot of reasonably priced necklaces (~$100-$150).
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:26 AM on December 10, 2012 [4 favorites]

It would be pretty easy, and probably less expensive, to send them a spool of beading wire, some clasps, a crimper tool, a few crimping beads, and some interesting beads from the place you're living -- then they could make a necklace or bracelet for themselves that would actually be more unique and probably more attractive. Throw in a book or a local class and they're set for years! If they end up finding it fun, you can send them other interesting beads in the future.

Beading isn't that expensive, and I bet you could find some really interesting beads and findings in Athens, situated as you are on the Mediterranean!
posted by amtho at 9:30 AM on December 10, 2012

They are pretty popular where I live, even among the teens. Much better than the clangy charm bracelets. Agree that you have to supply with charms.... As an alternative, what about a pearl necklace? With real sized pearls.... Dont do the mini ones. Nice jewelry stores will accommodate. Start with 3 and add one every year, other family members can pitch in as well. In 5-10 years, they will have a lovely strand, that's a nice gift.
posted by pearlybob at 9:42 AM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Get them something from Dogeared Jewelry instead. Way more hip, way more understated, and much longer lasting style-wise. Plus if you are willing to spend $$, they can even design their own jewelry there!
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 9:46 AM on December 10, 2012

It really depends on your nieces. I'm only a few years older than the oldest one and I remember there was a brief time when a lot of girls got similar bracelets like that. It stopped pretty quickly because no one bought more charms, though. Personally, it would have been a nice thought but I wouldn't have worn it. Jewelry as a teenager, is really based on what is popular at that very moment with your peers and less on quality or anything else.

Can you ask their parents for suggestions? I know my mom told my relatives stuff like that I was much more likely to wear earrings than bracelets or liked clothes from X store or something.
posted by raeka at 9:50 AM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Pandora offer a range of leather braclets and necklaces a which I honestly think would be more appropriate for teenages than the standard silver braclets. They have leather bracelets of various styles and colours as well as a leather lariat that can be used as a bracelet or a necklace in all sorts of fun ways and they also sell simple leather necklaces.

My 13 year old neice has a HUGE collection of beads and bracelets as her Danish Grandparents started sending her them when she was a baby and they first came out over there and her collection has grown like crazy over the years. She wears 3 or so beads on a simple leather necklace every day and has great fun matching the beads to her mood and clothes. Side note I am not a teen but a mad fan of Pandora thanks to my niece and wear various of their leather bracelets with beads on as my every day jewelry.

The good news too is if you go the leather bracelet or lariat they look good with only a few beads on so you can wear them from the get go without them looking empty, a silver bracelet with only a bead or 2 on can look a little sad.
posted by wwax at 10:05 AM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Etsy has gift certificates now. They could pick out something they really want and show you on Skype!

Buying jewelry for teenage girls is kind of a disaster unless you 100% know they currently want it, or it's something SO classic that it doesn't matter, and they'll hold onto it for later.

As a tomboy in combat pants, I still look back at the moment someone gave me a pearl necklace for Christmas. I thought it was such a criticism of me, my personality, and my style. There was a -8000% chance I would wear a pearl necklace and that remains true to this day. Now I have a bit of perspective to be able to see it as a well-meaning gift from a bit of an old-fashioned relative, but yeah, at the time, it actually kind of hurt my feelings. Crazy, but true.
posted by barnone at 10:14 AM on December 10, 2012 [10 favorites]

Best answer: Daughter got one of these as a teen from her Granny and has never worn it. A complete waste.
I'd agree with the Etsy gift certificates!
posted by Wilder at 10:50 AM on December 10, 2012

Pandora is almost completely out of fashion here in the Northeast, with the young and old alike. The proliferation of fake beads pretty much ruined it.

Alex + Ani is the "new thing" - inexpensive and pretty, but rapidly reaching saturation point. I'd give it until summer before the knock-offs are everywhere, another two years before no-one ever wears them again.

I'd find a funky gift and jewelry boutique locally, someone independent rather than part of a chain or franchise, and find something by a local artist in your price range.
posted by Slap*Happy at 11:07 AM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Etsy gift certificates really are the move. Styles vary so much; even between Boston and New York, there are things that are all the rage in Eldest Goddaughter's school that are utterly passé in Namesake's school. And vice-versa.

(I am not so much a fan of Etsy as a business, but the other crafters' collective online storefronts take a little more work to use, so I would do Etsy for the girls' convenience.)
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:08 AM on December 10, 2012

Do you know anything about their hobbies or like/dislikes? If they really like science, for example, you could get them something like this.

Or if they live near a major metropolitan area, you could get them something made out of old subway tokens, like this.

Buying stuff for teenagers isn't always a disaster. You just have to know a little bit about the individual person and avoid just buying things that you think they would like because they're a teenage girl.

(Not a teenage girl, but I used to be).
posted by topoisomerase at 11:46 AM on December 10, 2012

Pandoras are, basically, a marketing scam. You buy the bracelet, then the recipient is on the hook ($$$) to add charms so the thing doesn't look empty and silly on their wrists. I can't see a teenage girl wanting to be anywhere near a Pandora.

Skip it. And, honestly, I would not try to get anything jewelry or accessory-ish for a teenage girl. Not unless you have solid inside information that they absolutely, definitely, want a particular thing.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:08 PM on December 10, 2012 [3 favorites]

If they're likely to be into ThinkGeek type things, maybe they'd like the ThinkGeek Euro Bracelet.
posted by thylacinthine at 2:37 PM on December 10, 2012

I am not a teenager but I am as immature as one (I'm 30). I wear earrings every day; a different pair to match my outfit. I like big, dangly, colorful ones. My boyfriend's parents, who see me every month, have tried to buy me jewelry for every holiday and birthday for the past 6 years. They have succeeded in picking out something I would wear zero times. Jewelry is extremely personal for some people. The thought and cost of a Pandora bracelet absolutely show you care about your nieces, and I think that's awesome! I just think that amount of money could go further if they got to pick something out themselves. I think some people find gift certificates impersonal, but I honestly only ever wear things I picked out myself and a gift of jewelry is a waste of money.

ANYWAY sorry to sound all doom and gloom! I agree with the Etsy gift certificate idea because they have everything from elegant & classic to funky & trendy. Even a niece who'd love a Pandora bracelet could find something on there! And even now as an old lady, I can't imagine finding much I'd want in a traditional jewelry store. And when I see Pandora bracelets, I assume they're a romantic gift. It'd be kind of like your aunt buying you a diamond ring. Like..thanks? I guess?

If you want to make it feel more thoughtful, maybe you could find some cool Etsy shops and email your nieces five to ten ideas of what you like? If they pick one of the ones you suggested, you'll be an even cooler auntie.
posted by masquesoporfavor at 3:22 PM on December 10, 2012

Etsy gift cards would really be perfect!
posted by belau at 5:15 PM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh man, if you fill a Pandora bracelet with charms it ends up being $500-700??? Please consider etsy... would be awesome for your nieces!
posted by belau at 5:31 PM on December 10, 2012

Lots of teenage girls like Tiffany bracelets and necklaces, most specifically the Return to Tiffany collection. Lots of variety in the collection. Etsy is great, too, especially a gift certificate.
posted by percor at 5:31 PM on December 10, 2012

Definite no on the Pandora bracelets. The best way I'm aware of to spot what's trendy is to check out Pinterest and Etsy. Do a search for "jewelry" or "bracelet" and go through a lot of the results. You'll start to see trends emerging.
posted by MexicanYenta at 5:33 PM on December 10, 2012

I am going to say no to the Pandora bracelets. They fall out of use quickly because you have to continuously buy charms. When I was 13ish, the trend was Italian charm bracelets, which is basically the same thing as Pandora but different design. I got one for my birthday and I wore it maybe three times and stopped.

Tiffany is a good choice. If you want something more personal, you can get engraving on some of the pieces at Tiffany's, or you can check Sarah Chloe out. It's a bit more expensive but when I was younger, I got an engraved bracelet like this and I still have and cherish it. It's personal and really pretty!
posted by cyml at 5:51 PM on December 10, 2012

No, no, no to Pandora, for all the reasons already given. (Also, I really dislike it, but that's just me.)

I'm not so convinced about etsy gift certificates, because I'm weird about the non-personal aspect of gift certs (not to mention the 'knowing exactly how much I spent' aspect). And Tiffany seems like it'd be quite a bit more expensive than what you were looking at from the Pandora range.

I think you should ask their mom to subtly pump them for preferences. If that's not practical, I'd go for somthing from Santos Wish, myself (sorry, can't google it for you atm). I'd think a teenage girl would love one of their beaded bracelets in her favourite color.
posted by Salamander at 7:39 PM on December 10, 2012

Response by poster: Okay.... here's what I'm leaning toward now, based on your responses: a charm enhancer necklace from Tiffany for each of them, and an Etsy gift certificate to pick out some charms or beads to put on them. Aside from traditional charms, I think just about any bead or bangle could be adapted to work on the necklace by using a jump ring, or a bead holder, for example (which if I do this, maybe I'll send along, too). Maybe this is too complicated, though... hm.
posted by taz at 10:54 AM on December 11, 2012

Tiffany's definitely a better choice than Pandora, but it still locks your nieces into charm jewellery. Are you sure they're into that? A lot of people find charms fussy or old-fashioned.

I would echo the advice of others to ask their parents what they'd like. It may feel like it makes the present less special, but something your nieces will love and wear has got to be the best present of all.
posted by Georgina at 3:47 AM on December 12, 2012

Honestly, anything charm equals anything else charm. If you want to score with these girls, your best bet is to order jewelry or a gift card from Forever 21. That store is universally popular with typical teenage girls. However if your nieces are artsy or hipster or nerdy or whatever, then you'll still bust. Definitely check with their parents and ask where the girls like to shop.
posted by DoubleLune at 9:05 AM on December 12, 2012

Response by poster: You guys, I got a gift certificate to Etsy. I feel like it's sort of a cop-out, but not as bad as spending silly money on stuff they might just not be into at all.

Thank you so much for all your help!
posted by taz at 12:16 PM on January 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

They're at the age where that FEELS very special -- because they know you can't possibly know their taste! It felt special that my aunts recognized they didn't know enough about my (peculiar) taste but wanted me to get something that made me happy, and they entrusted me to do so. It didn't feel at ALL like a cop out. Actually, it felt MORE like a cop out when they bought something they assumed a "young teenaged girl" would like but wasn't at all my they didn't even think for 1 second about it.

All of which is to say - I know it might feel like a cop out to you, but ask them to show off what they got on Skype! Then you could even get something from the same place or similar for an upcoming birthday or something.

Anyway, you're a good Auntie for even caring :-)
posted by barnone at 10:36 AM on January 11, 2013

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