Just as DSLR camera owners tend to succumb to a lens acquisition
frenzy, Pandora charm bracelet owners also have a similar propensity in
acquiring new charms with which to fill up their bracelets. But Pandora
charms are not that cheap, especially in Malaysia, where prices are get
as much as twice the prices in the US or UK. So some experimentation
with cheaper options may be inevitable at some point.
Enter Soufeel, which promises Pandora-compatible charms at a fraction
of Pandora’s price. My mantra in life has always been “If it’s too good
to be true, it probably isn’t,” so I approached Soufeel with a lot of
caution. I mean, when I mentioned how their prices are at a fraction of
Pandora’s, I meant, like, only about a third of what Pandora charms
cost. As in, I can buy three (3!) Soufeel charms for the same price I’d
pay for a single Pandora charm.
Secondly, I’ve been browsing the internet for reviews but have not
been able to find anything detailed or critical enough. But the good
quality pictures, the professional-looking website, the
cheaper-than-Pandora prices, and the promise of 925 sterling silver and
free shipping (for purchases above $50) eventually drew me in. After
all, Soufeel does have a 365-day return guarantee so I thought to
myself, “Why not? I can always return it if I’m not satisfied.”
So I made my online purchase and got my first surprise: the credit card charge is to a Hong Kong-based company.
Then the waiting began. I waited. And waited. And waited. Twice, I
chatted with Soufeel’s customer service personnel to inquire about my
order. The first chat did not go too well — the customer service rep
named Stella did not seem to know English that well. She wasn’t much
help — she just kept saying that my order is on the way and that the
delay is probably caused by the Christmas rush…which really did not make
sense because I made my purchase in early November. Warning bells
started going off in my head but I decided to give them the benefit of
the doubt and wait for just a few more days.
Exactly a month after my online purchase, I attempted another online
chat and had a better experience with this girl named Claire. Claire
managed to bring up the tracking status of my order and I saw that my
parcel was, at long last, already in KLIA Customs. It took another 2
days for my order to finally reach me. That was the second surprise.
Free shipping, which Soufeel’s website claims takes “10-20 business
days”, really takes at least 20 business days…or about an entire month
from the day I placed my order to the day when I finally had the package
in my hands.
The third surprise? The package definitely came from China. (But then
again, even iPhones are made in China, even if they’re designed in
Cupertino. Just sayin’…)
So how do I find the charms? Surprisingly, the charms look quite good to the naked eye and do not disappoint appearance-wise.
This is the white ‘Spot and Swirl’ charm.
It looks very similar to Pandora’s….(gasp!)…. ‘Spot and Swirl’ charm
(although I’ve seen other sites that refer to it as ‘Primrose Path’ so
I’m not sure which one is which).
This is Soufeel’s ‘G-Pattern Clip’…
…which resembles very eerily Pandora’s ‘Elemental Flow’ clip.
clip was a bit tight initially. By tight, I mean, it would not seem to
close over the thread part of my Pandora bracelet. And it was ‘stuck’ at
the position where I clipped it on my bracelet. But after a few days
use, it loosened up a bit and I could use it just like any of my Pandora
Soufeel threw in this free ‘Thank You’ charm, probably because I
bought it sometime around Thanksgiving. Anyway, if you look closely, you
can see it stamped with ’925′, as in, you know, 925 silver, which is
supposed to be the highest quality silver, also known as sterling
Can you spot the Soufeel charms with my genuine Pandora bracelet and genuine Pandora charms?
The charms came in a black cardboard box
with a black paper sleeve. The cardboard box looks reasonably acceptable
and does not look cheap. But, of course, it is not as posh as Pandora’s
faux leather boxes IF you are lucky enough to
get one with your purchase. (In Malaysia, Pandora shops would give a
box but in the US, online purchase of Pandora charms from Bloomingdale’s
do not come with any boxes.)
The box also came with a black ‘velvet’ cushion and a black sponge as
buffer. They also threw in a small polishing cloth — very similar to
those small pieces of cloth that the optical shop gives you when you buy
eyeglasses — which somehow seemed to make the silver charms gleam after
a few quick rubs (not shown in photo).
I was supposed to receive a pair of crystal earrings as a free gift
with my purchases but, instead, they (mistakenly? purposely?) threw in
this Murano glass charm.
It looks pretty decent but, unfortunately, it does not match the
theme of my Pandora bracelets. I do have Murano charms but only the big
faceted ones (i.e. ‘Fascinating Pink’, ‘Fascinating Teal’, ‘Fascinating
White’). So if my sister-in-law doesn’t mind accepting this from me as a
gift, she will become its new rightful owner because, despite Soufeel’s
365-return policy, I feel that it would be too much of a hassle to have
this one tiny item sent back and replaced.
The charms were packed inside separate plastic bags inside the same box.
And for the curious ones, this is how the package looked like as it
was sent through Chinese post. (Told ya the thing came from China!)
So far, I am quite satisfied with the quality of the charms. In fact,
I already placed a second order so that I can have a second ‘Spot and
Swirl’ charm for some symmetry in my bracelet. And since I already know
what to expect this time regarding the actual delivery time, I would not
be fretting as much as I did with the first order.
Would I recommend Soufeel? If you don’t care about the brand, yes, I
would. I find the quality and workmanship of my selected charms to be
quite good (to date — knock on wood!) and the prices to be very
reasonable. But if you are the type of person who would not feel right
to use charms other than from Pandora, then just stick to what makes you
feel comfortable. But just so you know, Pandora Malaysia stores offer
free polishing for the entire lifetime of your bracelet and they do not
really care if you have non-Pandora charms in your bracelet. Besides,
from the sheer number of charms that Pandora has churned from its
inception until present day, I doubt if the normal Pandora employee
would be able to remember all the original designs.
P.S. In the past, I’ve also tried Lovelinks charms from Australia —
the pearl dangling charm inside the red box in the pic below — and I’m
pleased to report that the charms are still in excellent condition to