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  1. #1

    Default New here and looking for advice!

    Hi I'm Olivia, my little sisters birthday is coming up and I want to surprise her and my mother with oysters/mussels that we get to open and collect the pearls so that we can each have a "matching" single pearl pendent. After looking around online i feel confused as to what oysters/mussels I should buy and from where and I was wondering if anyone had any advice? Does every single mussels/clam have a pearl inside? If not how many should be bought in order to find 3 pearls?

  2. #2
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007


    Hi Olivia and welcome to Pearl-Guide.

    How old is your little sister going to be?

    The oysters you are referring to are akoya (saltwater) oysters. They are juveniles, too young to be used for culturing pearls. Their shells are soft, which is why people can break them with their hands. They are opened at a factory just enough to insert a freshwater pearl that was previously harvested from mussels. Some of these freshwater pearls are their natural color (shades of white, pink, peach, lavender) and some are dyed (bright colors and black/peacock).

    The young oyster is them immersed in a harsh chemical that makes it contract its muscle to close the shell tight and kills the oyster. The dead oyster is then preserved in more harsh chemicals that people should not be opening without eye protection, gloves, and maybe a mask! You could also cut your hands on the sharp shells.

    All this to trick people into thinking that the freshwater pearl was actually cultured in that saltwater oyster. It was not.
    Every shell has a pearl because they put it there at the factory!
    These are inexpensive pearls, by the way-- not that you would guess that by the prices they charge for them.

    Does that sound like a wholesome activity to be doing at a birthday party? Not to me it doesn't.

    There are other ways pearl pendants can be shared. There are lots of vendors on Etsy, for example, who sell freshwater pearl pendants that won't break the bank. You could buy a small box to put each pendant in and wrap it.

    I'm sure others will be along with alternate suggestions.

  3. #3
    First-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member Camelotshadow's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Los Angeles


    Oyster abuse...

  4. #4
    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl Expert Sanippy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Melbourne, Australia


    I agree with Pearl Dreams. I do love your idea of matching pearl pendants though. There is a lot of inexpensive freshwater pearl jewellery on Etsy and for a higher quality freshwater piece you could check out one of the online vendors I.e Pearlescence, Pure Pearls, Pearls of Joy or Pearl Paradise etc.

  5. #5
    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl Expert BlackPearlDudeDC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    SF Bay Area, CA


    We came up with several ideas to fight against the "Wish" pearl. This is simply what we've done not a suggestion but hopefully sparks ideas. We've used those plastic easter eggs for kids. Filled them with colorful confetti and one or two loose pearls and some tiny toys. For adults we did boxes within boxes within boxes, among other things.

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