LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) — People across the world are having parties together, but it's all on Facebook live. The purpose is to sell pearls that are revealed to you straight from an oyster. We looked into what you should know about the trend.
Hundreds, sometimes thousands of viewers are joining at once to watch as hosts open oysters to reveal pearls.
"I’ve gotten 3,500 views and that’s just in one evening," Ashley Webb said.
She has been a Vantel Pearls consultant for three months under the name “Feeling Pearly with Ash.”
"We start opening oysters and it completely goes crazy from that point," Webb said.
It's called a pearl party.
“It’s different. It’s completely different than anything else," Webb said. “The parties were developed and meant to be a lot like Mary Kay or the in-home parties and then Facebook live happened and completely took over it."
All while on Facebook live, typically each oyster is purchased by a viewer then opened by the party host, then revealing a pearl with a surprise size and color.
“An oyster opening is free, it’s just whatever you want to put it in is what you’re paying for. You're paying for the setting," Webb said.
It costs customers anywhere from $24 to $140.
According to the Better Business Bureau, Vantel Pearl's oysters are grown specifically for pearls from Japan and the South Pacific.
"From what I understand, they are freshwater pearls, which there is nothing wrong with freshwater pearls, but like anything, there’s going to be different qualities," said Mary Gwin, a certified gemologist appraiser at Roberson’s Fine Jewelry in Little Rock.
She isn't against the idea of a pearl party, but she wants buyers to know what they're purchasing.
"It can be fun so I definitely think there’s a market for that," said Gwin. “It’s not going to be as high as a quality as what you'll get through a reputable jewelry store."
Gwin explains a few reasons why. For one, pearls in reputable jewelry stores have already been cleaned and matched up with other pearls.
"To get one nice strand of pearls that match well, you could go through thousands of pearls to be able to find ones that match in color hue size and luster," said Gwin.
Plus, professionals like Gwin know the value of each pearl.
"It can really be any value from very low dollars to very high dollars and a lot of that has to do with how long the pearl has been growing inside that oyster," said Gwin. “If you’re just wanting to do something fun, I think that’s absolutely fine. If you’re really wanting to invest in a pearl, something you can pass down through generations, that’s maybe not the avenue I would go about doing it because there are so many different qualities of pearls out there and unless you are a professional, you won’t know what those qualities are."
For Webb, it’s about connecting and offering something unique.
“It’s like a community of different people from all over the country," said Webb. It’s a pretty neat way to be like ‘this was based on an oyster I picked, nobody has this piece but me," said Webb.
This trend isn't just with pearl parties. Other brands like makeup companies are using Facebook live to sell their products too. The best advice is to do your research before buying from these consultants.
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