Anybody heard of Vantel pearls?

lary007

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I am not a person to post about this kind of thing, but it has made me really angry to think of all the people (including people I know personally) who have fallen into the trap of believing this stuff. If you have not seen what I am referring to, you can youtube vantel pearl party and kinda get the jist. If you would rather not watch it, I will give a synopsis.

So, I ran across a "pearl party" on facebook the other night. It was a girl (called a consultant) opening what looks to possibly be akoya oysters (hard to tell on fb, though) that when opened housed a single (sometimes two) pearls. She would then measure the pearl, described its color and on the basis of color and size alone, determine a price at which the pearl was supposedly valued off her "cheat sheet". No mention of quality. I ended up watching two shows from the same consultant on two different nights and saw round to near-round pink, white, cream, and "rare black pearls". Yep. So then I asked the consultant what kind of pearls these are. She says freshwater. I figured that could be true, because of what I can tell from the slightly grainy video, but what these pearls are being plucked from are not triangle mussels and there would not just be one pearl in each mussel. That also still leaves the problem of dyed black pearls being sold as "rare" instead of what they really are. I am 100% positive this girl is just saying whatever answer Vantel pearls as a company has instructed her to say and she probably believes it, because why shouldn't she?

I kept watching and she would call out people's names from a list for them to select their oyster they wanted. I figured out through what she said on this live stream that people would order a finished piece of jewelry from a Vantel pearls catalog and their name would get put on this list for the next pearl party for them to pick their oyster and resulting pearl which is then sent off for several weeks to be set into the jewelry setting they chose.

After being a tad disturbed at what I was watching, I wanted to get all the information I could on this consultant, company, etc. I learned that consultants pay a fee (kinda like Avon) to get a pearl "kit" and the oysters to open on a live pearl party. The consultant then get shipped all of the things they need to get this party started and apparently there is training in the form of online education (this is information I got from both the BBB and the website vantelpearls.com). They then start these parties up and draw in crowds using Facebook's live feed feature. That is how I came across this one consultant I had been watching.

I obviously had issues with the dyed thing, as I said in the beginning. So, I decided I would contact somebody on the company end (not a consultant) with my concerns and just ask them to be a little more transparent in how they were presenting the pearls. I wasn't very hopeful I would receive any reply, I really just wanted them to know there were people catching on to what they were doing. To my shock, I was replied to within just a few minutes at 9 PM. I was told that the pearls are not dyed, that they "come out of the oysters that way" and that they come "in a variety of colors as a result of the oysters". Then I was offered to join their consultant team once their hiring hold was lifted in October after telling me how fast the company was growing. I then replied that I would like more information about the type of oyster that these pearls are coming from, because the oyster in the picture is not a freshwater mussel like the consultant I asked claimed. He/she said they were sorry the consultant was misinformed, that they are akoya oysters and pearls. To which I replied that akoya oysters also do not create dark black pearls that I was aware of and again asked for more information about the oysters and if they used a new technology for culturing pearls that I was just not aware of. Of course, I got a reply that said thanks for my input and they would look into my concern, no straight answer.

My thing is, like I told the rep in the message I sent, I love the idea of people being interested in pearls and this company has obviously created a lot of interest very quickly. What I am not a fan of is consumers being deceived and then being turned off pearls when they come to PG to ask about the pearls they get from places like this and are shocked when we tell them they are not natural colors when they've been explicitly told they were. It can make people not want to buy pearls again.

At the end of the day it's mostly just annoying to me and whether or not they continue their deceptive (and frankly, disgusting!) practice of opening days or weeks-old dead oysters or whatever on live feeds is really not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things, but I at least wanted there to be a thread on here so that if somebody is doing their research on this company before purchasing they would maybe see this pop up in a search and help them to decide to maybe purchase pearls from somebody more reputable who is being forthcoming with information regarding what they sell.

And please do let me know if I've gotten this wrong. I am not trying to spew lies, this is just how it appears from my view.
 
Hmmm it looks like Wish Pearl to me... but Vantel is sold a la tupperware lol
 
Lary we've been talking about this already, but man this whole thing is ridiculous. I guess it's cool that they're getting people interested in pearls, but I can't imagine it's sanitary to ship dead mollusks all over the place. I watched one pearl opening video and the image quality wasn't stellar, but here are my thoughts: if they claim they're akoyas that came out of the oyster like that, that's ridiculous - look at the colors. If they're actually freshwater pearls, then they're giving false information (and ridiculous pricing), and shouldn't be using oysters. It seems fairly clear to me that they're just stuffing pearls into random oysters, but they need to be more truthful here.

A friend of mine posted about pearl parties yesterday on Facebook and I had to look them up to see what the deal was - yikes.
 
It is a new variation on the "Pearl in a shell, in a can" scam!!! This one is so pretend, it is NOT funny- even though I am laughing.

Thanks for your detective work- you are the first to report this scam- that I know of.
 
I was hoping you'd chime in, Caitlin :)
 
I never heard of Vantel before. Yup, basically the same thing sold to unsuspecting tourists.
 
The reason you're seeing so much of this on Facebook is because a young lady started a company called "Open an Oyster LLC" on Facebook a few months ago and it went viral. She did it on her own and not through Vantel. I had a pretty long conversation with her a couple of weeks ago, and she knows she has spawned a lot of copycats, most of whom work with Vantel.

I explained the process of true pearl cultivation to her and told her how factories in China open the akoya shells, insert freshwater pearls into them and then drop them into a solution that causes the shells to constrict and die, so it appear they are "harvesting" a pearl when they really aren't. It's fine (and fun) to do, but they just can't be called akoya pearls because they aren't.

They shells I've seen them open appear to be a mix. I've seen some that do look like baby freshwater mussels and others that are definitely akoya. The pearls, however, are always freshwater and the black ones are of course dyed.
 
There are so many reasons I hate this (and the stupid wish pearl idea)...mostly that the shells are being used the way they are and their only purpose is to die for the sake of a gimmick. I finally became curious enough to stop at the Pearl factory or whatever its called on Pier 39, it was disturbing to say the least. If its gone viral on FB, maybe its lifecycle will be short lived as FB attention spans seem rather short and faddish. Anyhow it seems so wasteful and cruel (but this is probably another subject altogether)
 
I can see how it would be fun, for sure, as long as they aren't misrepresenting what the pearls are. I can't get past the idea of basically shipping around unrefrigerated meat, though. Ick.
 
Yeah, from the conversation I had with whoever responded to me from Vantel they either know what they're doing is wrong or they've purposefully hired people who they know don't know anything about pearls and are willing to say whatever they're told yo. They were very evasive to my questions, though.
 
JP I agree on the "Yuck", I've often wondered what those poor young men and women on the pier are being subjected to chemically. They were very insistent that the onlookers (children) not touch anything, for obvious reasons it is a good idea because...well kids, but it did make me wonder what weird science project chemicals are being used to preserve the shells. Ebay is full of these "wish pearl" dealers or copy cats, seems like a quick way to dispose of low quality pearls and make a decent profit along the way.
 
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This was popular years ago, wasn't it? I didn't realize it was popular again even though I see clammed pearls for sale on ebay quite often.
 
This was popular years ago, wasn't it? I didn't realize it was popular again even though I see clammed pearls for sale on ebay quite often.

I had one of these when I was a teenager. I don't remember exactly when, but it was in the early 1970's. I bought the thing in Gatlinburg, Tenn. I remember the clam was in a can, about the same dimensions of a tuna fish can but larger. The clam was in some type of liquid inside. I don't remember there being any particular smell when we opened it. The shell was quite easy to open, we certainly didn't have any type of oyster knife, and I remember it being brittle around the edges. Inside was a round, white pearl that I popped into the heart shaped cage it came with. I wore that thing for years, it was precious to me as my first "real" pearl!

And it was a clam, not an oyster or a mussel!
 
Oyster opening parties on facebook

Oyster opening parties on facebook

Hi I have seen this lady on Facebook selling the pearls. Has she acknowledged they are not Grade AAA Akoya seawater pearls?what is she selling them as?. Are they freshwater pearls implanted into Akoya oysters? I have seen some oysters opened easily and some oysters opened with a bit of difficulty. It's my understanding that the freshwater oysters are easier to open. Is that true? Have you cut one of these pearls open to see what nuclei they have? What would you class as a quality cultivated Pearl re nuclei age and seawater v freshwater? Are some cultivated seawater Akoya Pearls nucleated with freshwater pearls? What do you think these pearls are in the picture?
 

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Hi I have seen this lady on Facebook selling the pearls. Has she acknowledged they are not Grade AAA Akoya seawater pearls?what is she selling them as?. Are they freshwater pearls implanted into Akoya oysters? I have seen some oysters opened easily and some oysters opened with a bit of difficulty. It's my understanding that the freshwater oysters are easier to open. Is that true? Have you cut one of these pearls open to see what nuclei they have? What would you class as a quality cultivated Pearl re nuclei age and seawater v freshwater? Are some cultivated seawater Akoya Pearls nucleated with freshwater pearls? What do you think these pearls are in the picture?

It might be easier to keep all your questions in a single thread.

Has she acknowledged they are not Grade AAA Akoya seawater pearls?

There are dozens of people doing the "Open an Oyster" thing on Facebook. All of them referring to the pearls as akoya are wrong.

Are they freshwater pearls implanted into Akoya oysters?

Yes. The freshwater pearls are placed in the oyster. They are not grown in them.

I have seen some oysters opened easily and some oysters opened with a bit of difficulty. It's my understanding that the freshwater oysters are easier to open. Is that true?

No. They are both easy.

Have you cut one of these pearls open to see what nuclei they have?

They are tissue-graft freshwater pearls. They have no bead nucleus.

What would you class as a quality cultivated Pearl re nuclei age and seawater v freshwater?

Akoya pearls are grown from 10 to 24 months on average. Freshwater pearls are grown for 2 to 6 years. The quality varies widely in both.

Are some cultivated seawater Akoya Pearls nucleated with freshwater pearls?

No.

What do you think these pearls are in the picture?

I don't think, I know what they are. They are Chinese freshwater pearls.
 
So to be clear freshwater Pearls are cultivated Pearls in a mollusc? How do freshwater pearls form? I read that freshwater Pearls are implanted into the host oyster by way of a tech cutting a slit in the flesh of the host oyster and just putting the FW pearl in the slit? That the tissue grafting isn't used? What do you say?
What kind of cultured Pearls would have been nucleated with a plastic bead to get a round Pearl? Is it possible to buy loose fair/good quality Akoya seawater pearls in say the hundreds and what is a fair price? How would they be nucleated? I don't like the thought of plastic bead seeds.
 
No plastic bead nucleus.

A piece of mantle tissue is implanted in the tissues of the freshwater mussel. This triggers the formation of a pearl sac, which secretes nacre, layer upon layer until a pearl is formed. It takes years for the pearl to form to the size of the pearls you posted. They are solid nacre.

Not all freshwater pearls are round; many are baroque shaped. Even the round ones are usually not 100% round.

I suggest you read about pearls in our Pearl Education section. There is a section for freshwater pearls.
https://www.pearl-guide.com/forum/pearl-education-sitemap.php?tabid=64
 
So in a way freshwater pearls are more desirable as 100% solid nacre. Why are these opening parties trying to convince their customers their pearls are seawater ones? Why are seawater ones more desirable in this "industry" . I know Akoya a nearly all round with a better lustre.
You say not all freshwater pearls are round so why are they used in this pick a pearl party industry,? As round ones seem to be more desirable as all the pearls I have seen in these oyster opening parties are all round.
I just read that Akoya Pearls are nearly always round so surely it would make sense to use Akoya pearls in these parties as that's what is wanted?
Are the FRESHWATER PEARLS being promoted and sold wholesale to these oyster opening party operators as it's a way of the farmers making money out of the "rubbish" that would normally be crushed for make up or fertiliser etc?
I'm asking loads of questions as I want to get to the truth. I really don't like scams and think it's important to know what is fiction and fact. Just my nature lol
Why are the FW PEARLS IN THE OPENING PEARL PARTIES such poor quality and cheap? Is it their age, are they youngsters?
Ps can freshwater molluscs form their own pearls naturally? And where does the mantle come from during the cultivation process? Sea water Akoya oysters?
 
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