In 1893, Kokichi Mikimoto created the world’s first cultured pearl, and Mikimoto Pearls was born. Growing up in Toba on Japan’s Shima peninsula, the young Mikimoto took an interest in his town’s most famous export — Ise pearls. As these pearls were in high demand, Mikimoto was concerned about the extinction of the pearl-producing oysters, and so he sought to cultivate his own gems in protected oyster beds. He was successful, and in 1896, he received his first patent for cultured pearls. These lustrous spheres rivalled natural pearls in their beauty, and, over the following decades, Mikimoto continued to advance the science of pearl cultivation. Today, the company produces fine jewellery made from various types of cultured pearls, including Akoya, Black South Sea, Golden South Sea, Baroque, and Conch.


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Published 8th November 2015