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Thread: Seeking Advice

  1. #1
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    Default Seeking Advice

    Hello Everyone!

    My name is John. I am 23 years old. This is my very first post. I am somewhat new to the world of pearls. I worked as a jewelry salesman for around 4 years and we sold only a small selection of pearls. My mother currently works in the jewelry industry and she has for the past 15 years. In my last job, I never gave much time to learn about pearls, because I was in the middle of finishing my diamond grading course with GIA.

    Moving on to my reason for this post: My mother fell in love with Facebook Live pearl shows. She came up with the idea of starting a show of our own. A mother and son pearl show; which it appears there are very few of. I liked the idea very much, however, I realized we didn't actually know all that much about pearls. We decided that we need to gain as much knowledge as possible before we actually begin.

    We came across the CPAA Pearl Specialist course and we are both now approximately 50% of the way through. It is an incredible course, I'm so grateful that we've found it. After we complete it, we will complete the GIA Graduate Pearls Program. Thanks to what we have learned from the course thus far, and to our disappointment, we have realized that nearly all (if not ALL) wholesale suppliers that offer "Akoya Pearls," are really just freshwater pearls in an Akoya shell. It is fairly common that we see shows that claim to have saltwater pearls. I'd like to think this is due to their supplier's misleading titles. Either way, we absolutely will NOT lie to our customers.

    So, I am hoping to get some advice from you all. I've read through so many posts on this forum before I finally decided it was time to sign up. There are so many knowledgeable people here! I would love nothing more than to be able to pick your brains on this topic! I have seen many posts here calling out some of the Facebook shows and websites associated with them. We truly want to do this in the right way. Our main goal is to offer a fun and inexpensive option on the show so that those on a limited budget can enjoy pearls also. I believe we have finally found an honest freshwater pearl wholesaler (sold in the proper shells). We will never call them Akoya pearls or use improper shells. We have also grown to love many other types of pearls. We hope to someday be able to offer Tahitian, Fijian, etc for those with a discerning eye. We also plan to attend some of the jewelry/pearl shows in the near future.

    Thank You ALL In Advance,

    John Reese

  2. #2
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    The pearls found in a single freshwater mussel will be not matched; they will be different colors and not fully round. I honestly don't see the appeal to a buyer, to buy a bunch of undrilled, mismatched freshwater pearls.

    As far as an inexpensive option for those on a limited budget, from what I've seen this is not an inexpensive option. Generally people overpay for what they get.

    Are you planning to invest in a proper pearl drill? Plan to wear a respirator to avoid breathing the dust.

  3. #3
    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert KarinK's Avatar
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    I seem to recall there are also issues with the chemicals used to preserve the mussels, very toxic as I recall.

    Someone suggested at some point that you can buy the freshwater pearls, put them in in bags and make a lottery that way.

    I just don't think you are going to get a single person here to say it's a good idea. From a customer point of view, it is clear that you would get more from your money by buying just pearls as there is cost involved in preparing the mussels, preserving them and packing them.

    I did open a mussel once! When I was 18. That was in 1982. It was during my time as exchange student in the US, an experience that was unique to me. I still have those two small white pearls because of the memory involved. I never wear the necklace they were set in but I have it. I can't see myself keeping a memory of a random social event.

    - Karin
    Last edited by KarinK; 03-29-2019 at 09:48 AM. Reason: adding more

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pearl Dreams View Post
    The pearls found in a single freshwater mussel will be not matched; they will be different colors and not fully round. I honestly don't see the appeal to a buyer, to buy a bunch of undrilled, mismatched freshwater pearls.

    As far as an inexpensive option for those on a limited budget, from what I've seen this is not an inexpensive option. Generally people overpay for what they get.

    Are you planning to invest in a proper pearl drill? Plan to wear a respirator to avoid breathing the dust.
    Hi,

    I understand your viewpoint. Most of these more affordable suppliers treat the pearls (some more than others) after harvesting. Many offer both natural and unnatural colors. It appears that the viewers of these shows want to purchase these unnatural colored pearls. Often times they put them in cages.
    Yes! I would absolutely love to design the more simple jewelry with pearls. Thanks for the heads up, I'll remember the respirator!

    I really appreciate you taking the time to respond!

    Thank You,

    John Reese

  5. #5
    First-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member Lugana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pearl Dreams View Post
    I honestly don't see the appeal to a buyer, to buy a bunch of undrilled, mismatched freshwater pearls.
    Hahahaha that's such a brilliant resume )))) sorry, couldn't help from off-topic mentioning it

    To the subject. JohnReese, there are suppliers who sell akoya pearls in akoya shells as well as freshwater pearls in proper mollusk shells. They are still not "naturally" coming into the shell you will be opening - as the shells used are from baby-size mollusks and not from mature specimen that one can culture pearls with - but it's not impossible to achieve a match if you are set on it. I wouldn't bet on finding Fiji pearls sold this way though neither I can imagine anyone paying a few hundreds to buy a Fiji pearl of unknown color and shape/quality inside an oyster, so not having these on offer would hardly it tear any potential revenue from your potential business

    As for the formaldehyde (the toxic matter that is used in preserving the mollusk from rotting) - as far as I remember nowadays those can be legally sold to customers only if individually tinned and with lots of precaution hazard notice all over the packaging. There are still many sellers all around selling vacuum-packed oysters in packages of 10, 50, 100... But legally by health regulations you cannot sell it to a customer. Of course, if you plan to host your show on the Internet and it will be only you or your mom touching the oysters - that's easier, but if you plan to set a tank of water in a jewelry shop corner or in a mall - forget about it, you will be eaten alive by health care regulators. For those purposes you would need to buy shells with silicone imitation of mollusk inside - this way no smell, no gross things and no formaldehyde.

    Sorry but I cannot help from noting that I'm rather surprised to read that people who've been in jewellery business for 2 generations and work in accordance with GIA standards think to have this experience as the centre line of their pearl business. I would see it maybe as a side attraction or "just another thing we do in our pearl retail chain", but to have it as the only pearl experience offered - I would say I see it rather adventurous. But you didn't ask for advice on this matter, so please consider only the previous paragraph as my reply to you
    Pearl and opal specialist
    Institute of Gemology of Spain, IGE, Madrid
    www.NoMorePearls.com

  6. #6
    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert lilliefuzzysocks's Avatar
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    John, The pearl party gigs are all over the central valley. This is not new and you're not the only game in Fresno. There are pearl parties all over facebook who are selling the same things you will be selling. Yes, Tahitians, south sea and edison freshwaters among the freshwaters, dyed and natural colors. The market is super saturated and now many have found they should branch out to gems in cages ( loosely called gems, as many are mislabeled glass, ) to keep the customers coming back. There only so many loose commercial grade pearls you can sell before they don't want more. As for the formaldehyde, this is a chronic horrible problem you also will face. Do you want to risk you health and the lives of family members opening these in your home? There is a reason many of the sellers are tearing up and coughing during the shows.

  7. #7
    Pearl Journalist Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Octavia's Mom's Avatar
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    This whole pearl party thing is a racket. I can't imagine you would want to be associated with it in any way. Setting something up that you see as legitimate, will not make a difference. Bored people looking for a thrill akin to gambling are not the customers for building a future. Pearl parties are dying as I write this, because there are only so many people willing to do this more than once. Please think again.

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