November 05, 2018 17 Comments

The Truth About Wish Pearls & Pearl Parties

Wish Pearls

What you need to know about 'wish pearls' and 'pearl parties'

Hi All! 

I've been turning this topic and post over in my mind for a couple weeks now, so here it is. I'm posting today about "Wish Pearls" and "Pearl Parties". , to get everyone the Inside Scoop on these little guys ... they've been popping up on facebook and youtube as part of "online pearl parties". 

Alternative Reading: 

How To Buy Pearls

Where to Buy Pearls



But Are Pearl Parties a Scam?

The pearls in a "Wish Pearl" oysters are from mainland china. You can currently purchase them on sites like Alibaba or Ebay for around $1-$5 and oyster.
Ebay: Pearl in Oyster

These are real pearls (low quality) processed at a pearl processing factory overseas, color-treated / dyed and often off round. They are then inserted into a long dead Akoya pearl oyster. 

Read More: Akoya vs. Freshwater Pearls

The shells are submerged in a mix of rubbing alcohol and formaldehyde (I am hearing about other toxic substances lately, but this hasn't been confirmed yet) to keep the insides from decomposing while it waits for a buyer. Lovely....
My take on them: They're a fun gift idea to pick up while you're on vacation as long as you know what you're buying. But I draw the line at online pearl parties promoting these as Akoya pearls. 

 
Pearl specialist organizations like myself will not be able to mount the pearls retrieved from a Wish Pearl - drilling them is a RISKY proposition due to their submersion in various agents, and most jewelers just can't take on that liability. Usually these things come in special little "kits" that include a Sterling Silver PLATED "cage" pendant, so the manufacturers have already taken this issue into account - just pop that sucker into its cage, and bam: pretty pearl pendant.
Manufacturer Pearl Setting
The above picture from a manufacturer listed on Alibaba has done a nice job of creating a pretty presentation, with a nice selection cage pendant designs you can choose from, so you don't have to drill the pearl (and risk breaking it). 
Here's another one that's more ... er ... "promotional" in nature:
Manufacturer Setting
Same pendant designs, different package, different manufacturer. 

What is The value of Pearl Party Pearls?

I've also fielded a LOT of questions regarding value of these pearls lately - and that is an open-ended, tricky question depending entirely on that individual pearl. There is no "one size fits all" chart (which is what I understand the Pearl Parties are trying to sell to people) that valuates pearls based on size and/or color. It's total hooey. 
Typically Freshwater pearls used in Wish Pearls will range in price from $0.02 to $5.00 per pearl, depending on it's size, shape, surface quality and luster. Pearls that have been dyed are usually lower-grade jewelry quality, chosen specifically to undergo a color-treatment process due to poor luster (which makes or breaks the pearl as a gemstone); the color-treatment process usually covers up chalky luster, and gives the pearl a bright, almost plastic-looking surface shine.
I CAN tell you that Wish Pearls are currently wholesaling overseas for$1.00 to $2.00 per entire kit - that includes full packaging, submerged mollusk in tin, pearl, promotional materials AND pendant for the pearls. So what does that tell you??
Look, Wish Pearls are just a fun thing to do. It's a cutie-pie of an idea, but getting someone to mount it may cost more than it's worth in terms of time and effort, and these pie in the sky valuations (see the pearls and pricing envelope someone sent me below from a "Pearl Party" they attended) risk ruining their reputation over the long haul. They get away with it because people don't know very much about pearls.
Comparison
Envelope
The envelope above was sent in from a "Pearl Party" attendee asking after a Pearl Evaluation Chart which would equate her Pearl Color to a USD Dollar Amount. Oh, and also could I please give her the number of the National Pearl Association? 

Head's Up to Everyone: There is NO such chart, it does not and never will exist because there are too many variables that go into pearl grading. Pearls are evaluated according to Pearl Type (Akoya, Freshwater, Tahitian, White and Golden South Sea and Sea of Cortez), Luster Grade, Symmetry of Shape, Surface Quality and Size. Color is like the LAST thing we take into account. 
Also, there is NO "National Pearl Association" for cultured pearl professionals; it's called the Cultured Pearl Association of America (I am a member), and it has nothing to do with Wish Pearls. 

So if you, like another person that recently contacted me, go to a Pearl Party and the Hostess tells you that Dark Red, slightly oblong pearl you pulled out of a shell is like SUPER RARE AND TOTALLY VALUABLE, OMG!! Please know that it's not - it's a dyed red Freshwater pearl from China, one of millions a year that are cultured overseas in Freshwater aquaculture ponds.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, and certainly don't want to be the one to deflate this particular balloon, but I guess someone's gotta do it in light of their marketing onslaught recently! :/ 
 

Buy High quality pearls


17 Responses

Ashley
Ashley

May 31, 2020

Hi Sasha!

Thank you for reaching out with the links and your thoughts on that particular practice. I’ve seen one or two myself, and initially thought that looked pretty cool, but then realized it was cleverly staged – due to the colors of the pearls (and the fact that when you paused the video and zoomed in a bit you could see existing drill holes in the pearls), turns out the the video was faked. It’s a cool idea though, and I bet you might be able to find one or two posts that are genuine, but they’d be the exception and not the norm, that’s for sure!!

From the standpoint of a pearl specialist, I was able to look at a few issues that caught my attention and flagged them for further evaluation:

1) Colors of the “harvested” pearls. Freshwater pearls are ONLY available in pastel shades of White, Pink to Peach and Lavender hues. Any other colors like Midnight Blue, Saffron Yellow or Red are the result of a color-treatment process, usually dyeing.

2) Presence of tiny drill holes in the pearls – dead giveaway.

But those two points lead you back to reconsider the initial premise of the video itself, and then you realize:

3) Kinda unbelievable that they’d find such HUGE mussels in easily accessible streams and SO many in a single spot. And wow, they’re pretty easy to just pluck right out of the stream bed, aren’t they?! Like they never anchored themselves to a sunk rock or a ridge or other natural feature under there. That’s odd.

4) For mussels of that size, you’d think that the seal keeping the hinges closed would present an absolutely monstrous challenge to open with just that shucking knife. Yet, snip, snip – she gets those suckers open in no time. Maybe the mussel was already dead?

Anyways, those are just a few of my initial thoughts on that whole scenario … hope you find them helpful when examining other similar videos. Who knows? You may find a real one! Have fun with your hunt!!! -A.

Sasha
Sasha

May 28, 2020

I recently found YouTube videos that Chinese ladies gets heaps of pretty pearls from large shellfish

https://youtu.be/lOgMPXRK40o

https://youtu.be/kXqEqvRM_iM

https://youtu.be/MSXA4sFG6QA

Are they real?? If so, it’s amazing but it’s hard to believe.

Kimberly Lake
Kimberly Lake

February 18, 2020

I do realize that a lot of people aren’t educated on how a pearl is formed in the oyster naturally, but I myself have purchased from a Pearl Live show through Pearl Chic. In all honesty, I think it’s just “fun”. It’s like a scratch off ticket, and Easter Egg Hunt. If anyone seriously thinks that they are getting a valuable pearl, I think the mystery is solved when you see how “inexpensive” the jewelry that they mount them in is. It’s just fun ! Who cares, let it be.

Ashley McNamara
Ashley McNamara

January 27, 2020

Hi Tracy!

Thank you for reaching out with your questions on the Wish Pearl topic. I’ve seen and handled the Sea World Wish Pearls once or twice, and overall I’d say they’re a slightly higher quality in terms of pearl types and value, but of course I can’t guarantee that … the pearls that I have seen were a dyed Black Akoya, and one that – looked a lot like – a Tahitian, but again, it was close to 5 years ago and I’m going off memory. ;)

As long as the oyster shell has been sealed in formaldehyde, then the tissues of the animal should remain intact – I would worry that the chemical solution would dry out the pearl sitting inside though. The longer it sits in there, the more formaldehyde it absorbs. Pearls are pretty tough little guys, but I don’t think they can handle sitting in an acid bath for years on end. Recommend opening your oyster ASAP to avoid any damage. Hope that helps!

~ A.

Tracy
Tracy

January 15, 2020

is the ones they do at SeaWorld fake also?they also claim that they come from a farm

T
T

January 15, 2020

Do they have expiration dates? Do they need to be opened right away or can I hold it for a while?

Salbelfield
Salbelfield

November 11, 2019

Are the pearls real ? Do they put the dye in the oyster to get these coloured pearls why? Do they open them and reseal them up.. my granddaughter loves these if they’re not real it’s a shame I hope you can answer these questions please, thank you sally

Jewelz g
Jewelz g

November 11, 2019

I just bought oysters from wish and i know how they get the pearls in just google it snd videos pop up …….i bought some just to have the pleasure of saying i got to open and find one …..maybe one day i will get to find a real real pearl lol

Giulia
Giulia

November 11, 2019

Many thanks to have posted it. I was about to buy one, when I found your site. The fact that formhaldeyde is dangerous and mortal, is something these frauds didn’t tell to the customer.

Isabel
Isabel

October 07, 2019

I sell pearl jewelry as a side job. I have done research and I continue to do research because I like to know all the ins and outs. Thank you for the info and for not badmouthing any companies.

shamane ibbott
shamane ibbott

September 06, 2019

I always wondered about how the pearl would fall out of the oyster and how they already knew what color of pearl was in my package.

I would love to have the real experience of opening an unopened real shell and getting my own pearl. I dont mind if it is cultured.

Is there anyone who would send me an unopened cultured pearl so i can get my hands messy , looking for a naturally , undyed pearl.

Please send me an address and the price please. thank you.

Kendall
Kendall

May 24, 2019

A boy gave this to me and i thought it was sweet. I wished for something but oh well! It didn’t turn the color I thought it would! So I looked up this and now I know!

Grace
Grace

May 06, 2019

Great article! Answered my question on authenticity of these pearls from Wish before buying. Still a great gift idea in the long run. Thankyou for posting :)

Edie
Edie

March 04, 2019

We all know these Pearls from the pearl parties and wish Pearls are cheap, I always wpndered how you got an oyster with a mint green, a screaming hot pink, and a navy blue pearl all in one oyster. Not only are the colors completely unnatural, but it is surprising that people dont seem to know that fact. The big clue is that these Pearls are loose inside that shell you pry open, unlike the ones you pop out of the mantle of an oyster. Those ones are natural colors, never the wild ones you see at these pearl parties.

Laura
Laura

March 19, 2019

How do they re-seal the oyster?

Kimberley
Kimberley

February 07, 2019

This article was very informative! Written well, thank you for this. I received one of these from my mom for Christmas. When I got it my kids and me were just like “WTH is this”..LOL I had never heard of them. People loose sight of the REAL reason for gifting one of these wish pearls. It’s not so much " OMG how much is the pearl worth!?" but more along the lines of, this is a neat little gift, unique and fun. So, look at it that way instead of worrying how much it’s worth. Mine, it’s priceless to me because it came as a gift from my mom and dad. Thanks again for the good article!

Tammy Carter
Tammy Carter

December 21, 2018

Early morning scrolling on FB and I find this “Debunking”! Whoever wrote this deserves a huge “Atta…person”! This was done informatively, kindly and without harmful words. I learned from this statement. Well done, if all other “debunkers” used knowledge and grace as shown here, we might all take up learning the truth about stuff! Thanks for teaching me something I wondered about, now I know!

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