Mikimoto is known today as one of the finest jewellery brands in the world, and their pearls are recognised as some of the highest quality on the market.
Kokichi Mikimoto (1858-1954) was an Oyster Farmer from Toba on the Shima Peninsula in Japan. He is recognised as creating the first ever cultured pearl in 1893. These first cultured pearls were hemispherical in form (Mabe Pearls). The Mabe Pearls were well received at the 1897 Marine Exposition in Norway, and from here his export business got off the ground; however it took Mikimoto a further 12 years to produce a completely spherical pearl, and then until the 1920s to make the pearls commercially viable.
From here the pearl industry expanded at the rapid rate. By the mid-1930s there were over 300 pearl farms in Japan, producing around 10 million cultured pearls every year. The oversupply of Japanese pearls led to plummeting prices. Mikimoto, however, used this to his advantage. He made a conscious effort to promote his pearls throughout the world, opening many stores internationally, particularly in Europe and the USA. He even famously burnt large numbers of low quality pearls as a publicity stunt designed to establish a reputation for high quality.
Mikimoto’s hard work and entrepreneurial spirit was not wasted. Throughout the 20th Century and into the 21st Century Mikimoto has retained its high reputation in the jewellery industry. Pearl production in Japan remains extremely high, but the quality of Mikimoto’s cultured pearls is visibly unmistakable in their colour and lustre. No other company producing pearl jewellery has managed to overshadow the company’s status within the industry.
McTear’s is delighted to offer lot 1631, a Suite of Mikimoto Jewellery, in The Fine Jewellery auction on the 8th July. The set comprises of a necklace, bracelet and earrings, complete with the original box, cleaning and storage accessories, and paperwork. We’re sure you will agree, this would be a sophisticated addition to any jewellery collection.