written by TeRra Han
“My dream is to adorn the necks of all women around the world with pearls.” – Mikimoto Koichi
Today, Mikimoto is the foremost producer of the finest quality cultured pearls and a world leader in the design of exceptional jewelry. The Mikimoto name is synonymous with superior quality at every stage, from the selection of finest materials to expert workmanship to our customer service commitment. Each beautiful piece reflects supreme dedication, passion and care. For today’s connoisseur of fine jewelry, Mikimoto combines timeless elegance with sophisticated, modern design. To own Mikimoto is a unique and luxurious pleasure.
Mikimoto advanced the science of pearl cultivation and conquer new challenges such as successful cultivation of the remarkable South Sea pearl of Japan. Overcoming huge obstacles, including Japanese typhoons, he turned dream into reality with the cultivation of a large pearl 10mm in diameter in the deep, warm waters of Okinawa.
In 1899, the first Mikimoto pearl shop opened in the fashionable Ginza district of Tokyo selling natural seed pearls and half round pearls. The Mikimoto business expanded internationally, opening stores in London (1913).
Mikimoto had to constantly fight allegations that his pearls were only “imitations” of real pearls, despite scientific reports to the contrary. Mikimoto took advantage of every opportunity to personally promote his pearls, and took part in the 1926 Philadelphia World Exposition in which he displayed a replica of the “Liberty Bell” covered with pearls.
As an ambassador of cultured pearls, Mikimoto personified Japan’s reputation for quality goods and helped to build its global trade. Many honors were bestowed on him: he was appointed to the House of Peers; introduced to Thomas Edison; received in audience by Emperor Showa; and received by the Empress Dowager when she visited Tatokujima Island.
By 1935, the Japanese pearl industry was facing oversupply issues and plummeting prices for Japanese cultured pearls. Mikimoto promoted Japanese pearls in Europe and the USA to counteract falling prices. He publicly burnt tons of low-quality pearls as a publicity stunt to establish a reputation that the Mikimoto company only sold high-quality cultured pearls. After World War II, Mikimoto opened stores in Paris, New York City, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Shanghai and Bombay, and was thus one of the first Japanese brands to attain an international presence and recognition.
Mikimoto was the official jeweler of the Miss USA (2003–2008), Miss Universe (2002–2007) and Miss Teen USA (2002–2008) pageants, under the Miss Universe Organization.
Upon his death at age 96, after building one of the greatest names in luxury jewelry, Mikimoto was awarded the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Sacred Treasure. Today, his brand and his vision live on. Mikimoto cultured pearls are in demand more than ever as among the most chic and glamorous gems a woman can own, recognized worldwide for superb quality and elegant design.
Photo, Mikimoto Official Website: mikimoto.com
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