I’d never even heard of an online pearl party until a couple of months ago. Now, I’ve been to 4 this month and I’ve bought two pieces. That’s a rarity for me. It’s a fun experience. I enjoy seeing what other people pick and which setting they’ve chosen. I like the suspense of the openings and the fellowship of other viewers as we congratulate the customer on their pick and then feel a small twinge of what I call “pearl envy.” I love jewelry and, for me, this adds the mystery of an online subscription box into the mix. Plus, I get to witness the pearl coming out of its shell for the first time, without having to actually work through the smell and feel of digging through layers of preserved mollusk carcass to get to my treasure (although, if you’re into that, there’s a DIY kit you can order). Online Pearl Parties are a THING and they are Amazing!
Online Pearl Parties…Is That A Thing?
These oysters are farmed specifically for the purpose of producing pearls. An irritant is added to the oyster to ensure that at least one pearl is produced for harvest. The oysters are delivered to the consultants in alcohol, so before you ask, no: You don’t want to eat them. So, even though the process is manipulated, the pearls are real and range from 5mm to 9mm.
For people who have never heard of an online pearl party, the ones I’ve been to work this way. First, you look through the online catalog. There is usually a link on the consultant’s page. The parties I’ve attended have been initiated through Facebook, so the catalog link resides (in this case) on the Pearl Party Facebook page. Once you buy the oysters (between one and five), you notify the consultant via private message and provide your name, email address (for invoicing), and your shipping address. Prices are $24.99 per oyster. Make sure you read the product descriptions when you buy the jewelry setting (separate). Some of the pieces are more of a costume nature, but others are sterling silver and can be competitive within that market. You will receive an invoice via email.
Once you pay, you’re in line to have an oyster opened–online, right before your eyes. One of the ladies within a party I attended commented, “[The reveal is] similar to the feeling I had when I found out the gender of my babies.” I don’t know that many people would go quite that far, but there’s definitely excitement to seeing what comes out of that mollusk. The consultant then opens your oyster and cleans it off, pops it into some salt to (eliminate germs and) show off the color… and even shows you your pearl under a magnifying lens. She will also measure the pearl and give you an appraisal value. The pearl then goes (in a marked envelope–to make sure your name stays with it) back to the company for setting into your selected jewelry piece. When it’s finished, the company mails the completed jewelry back to your consultant, who inspects it (and sometimes shows it off at a “reveal” party) and verifies that the piece is correct. Then, your finished jewelry is mailed to you.
The one I had opened for myself did not disappoint. It’s a very large 7mm champagne pearl that will go on a silver charm. I spent $55 (before tax) and the pearl alone was appraised at $48. The other piece I purchased will be opened at a later party, as a gift. I’ve prepaid the piece and my recipient will get to watch her oyster being opened via the online live feed.
There’s a sense of freedom in knowing it’s a small (inconsequential) thing that I didn’t control… My Type A version of letting go. You never know what’s inside until you open it.