The Pearl Liberty Bell, Courtesy of Mikimoto America
As the inventor of cultured pearls, Mikimoto exemplified Japan’s reputation for quality exports and helped to build the country’s global trade network. Upon his death at the age of 96, Mikimoto was bestowed the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Sacred Treasure. Today, his brand and his vision continue to grow with a company’s still passionate superb quality and classic design.
So, Mikimoto was the first to craft the cultured pearl, why does that matter?
It’s important to note that Mikimoto enraged a lot of people during his journey to develop the world’s finest cultured pearls. At the time, the world’s pearl market was made up of primarily natural pearls which were costly to extract and even more expensive to purchase. When cultured pearls were introduced to the market, they were more stunning, identically round, and cheaper than their competitors. Mikimoto sent a message to other dealers in 1932, by putting inferior pearls up for discussion at Kobe Chamber of Commerce. Foreign journalists based in Kobe telephoned his message across the globe. Mikimoto was then sued by other merchants for advertising his pearls as “natural pearls”. The lawsuit led to the invention of the term “cultured pearl” to help keep his pearls separate from the rest of the world.
Ironically, now, when someone asks “Are those cultured pearls?” they are actually asking, “Are they real?” Originally, the term was meant to put down Mikimoto pearls as unnatural (and thus not as prestigious) but the definition has morphed over time due to the overwhelming number of fake pearls for sale. Mikimoto continues to uphold its founder precise eye for detail and guarantees that all of their pearls are truly legitimate. In other words, you are guaranteed excellence when purchasing a piece made with Mikimoto pearls.
Visit our downtown Columbia location to hear more about Mikimoto and his outstanding work.