Trollbeads came into being in 1976 when a young silversmith, Søren Nielsen fashioned the first ever handcrafted Troll bead from silver. Named “The Mask” because it had six faces, each with a different expression. The beads soon gained popularity after being sold in a small jewelers shop owned by Nielsen’s father, and soon requests were being made for the beads to be sold in various styles, shapes and colours.
The beads were later sold in the jewellery shop owned by Svend Nielsen, Søren’s father, and a longstanding and highly successful family business was born. Trollbeads eventually became so popular that Lise Aagaard, Søren Nielsen’s sister in charge of distribution and export, began exporting Trollbeads overseas so that they could be enjoyed by wearers across the world.
Soon after, Troll beads became widely available in a wide range of materials including gold, precious and semi precious stone and pearls, as well as Italian glass. As a nod to the traditional charm bracelet, many purchase “themed” beads on a starter chain which provide the wearer with a reminder of an achievement made, a chance for celebration or simply to remind the wearer of a fond memory. They can also be used to refer to a passion the wearer might have, as many beads are available covering almost everything from music to mythology.
The bracelets themselves are available in gold, silver or the original material the bracelets were made from –leather. The first Troll beads were originally made from silver, but this went on to include pearl, gold, silver and stone as well as precious and semi-precious stones. The glass beads, which Lise Aagard introduced, are made from molten glass which is turned in an 800 degree flame by skilled glassmakers.
Not unlike traditional charm bracelets, Trollbeads are available in a variety of different themes, can be used to signify something special to the wearer. This could be an interest in science or music, a particular memory of a holiday or an important day, to celebrate special occasions such as births, birthdays or anniversaries, or to mark an achievement or a milestone for the wearer.
Troll beads have made a resurgence since their beginnings in the 1970s, and celebrities have also been seen wearing them including Jessica Simpson, Emma Watson and Jennifer Love Hewitt. A taste for individuality (Due to the individual beads and the idea that no two bracelets look the same), as well as their retro-kitsch style has made Troll bead bracelets popular once more. The bracelets originally produced and worn in the 1970s are now being worn by a new generation of Troll bead fans, who are now able to continue with their own Troll bead stories, each in some way having developed from Søren Nielsen’s The Mask, two generations ago.