Kokichi Mikimoto: The Godfather of Cultured Pearls
Today, the name Mikimoto is associated with luxury pearl jewelry and timeless elegance. But did you know that Japan’s representative jeweler was founded by the same person who is credited with creating the very first cultured pearl? Kokichi Mikimoto is said to have had the mind of a scientist but the soul of an artist. It’s not surprising that he set out to adorn the necks of all women around the world with pearls that he had learned to painstakingly culture by hand from Akoya oysters.
Who was Kokichi Mikimoto?
The eldest son of a noodle-shop owner, Kokichi Mikimoto was born on January 25, 1858, in the Japanese town of Toba. It was a location that saw an influx of people with a keen interest for the natural pearls found in the waters along his home town’s peninsula. Over time, the natural pearls became rarer as many hunters gathered without restraint. This concerned Mikimoto, who set out to find a way to grow pearls with his very own protected Akoya oyster beds.
Finally, the would-be pearl farmer discovered that if you are able to introduce a particle into the flesh of the oyster that it would stimulate secretions of “nacre”. This builds up in hundreds of thousands of layers and creates a lustrous pearl. Enormous effort and research when into his experimentations. In 1893, Mikimoto produced his first cultured pearl worthy of any natural counterpart. By 1896, he patented cultured pearls and his luxury pearl brand was born!
Wearing Pearl History
Today, pearl farmers use the Mikimoto method to create cultured pearls from oysters all around the world. It’s one of the most sustainable and environmentally respectful modern-day industries and has provided over a century’s worth of spectacular pearl jewelry.
Wear elegant, luxurious and distinctive cultured gemstones from our collections of organic, eco-friendly pearls! You’ll absolutely love our unique, handcrafted jewelry designs. Need some advice on buying pearls? Consult our shopping guide or contact one of our friendly experts!
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