So why Thailand?
Pandora opened their first factory here back in 1989. Now it’s the hub of their production with over 10,400 people working here in several factories in the cutely named ‘Gemopolis’ (or ‘Gem City’) located just a short bus ride outside of bustling Bangkok. They prefer to keep the production in one place so they know exactly where every last stone comes from and how it’s created. Last year 91 million pieces of jewellery were made here and shipped to over 90 countries around the world – quite an operation!
But wait, is Thailand where all the materials come from?
Well the materials to make the jewellery are sourced from all over the world, but interestingly enough, 90% of the gold and 99% of the silver used in their jewellery is recycled. Meaning only a very small percentage is mined. And everything they use is sourced in a conflict free and environmentally friendly way – even down to the shopping bags and jewellery boxes.
A jewellery factory. Did you like..die?
This is definitely a bling zone. Pandora still use diamonds and gemstones in their jewellery, but more and more these days they use man-made stones – mainly because they’re fully traceable, more affordable and have less imperfections. I was very surprised at how many different processes go into making just one charm that hangs off a bracelet – design, prototype, mould, casting, detail, quality control – it’s a major operation to get that hanging off your wrist.
Did you get to make your own bling?
Well, I did, and let’s just say I realised these guys definitely put the ‘master’ into master craftsmen. One of the first things we did when we arrived in Gem City was to try and make our own charm using Murano glass – let’s just say mine wouldn’t have got very far down quality control. They were very nice about my terrible efforts and smiled sweetly, but I had no idea how massively intricate and skilled this work is. Respect.
So one last question – did you bring back any presents?
I knew that was all you were after.