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MIKIMOTO at Gerald Peters

June 1st, 2015


Gerald Peters is proud to now offer Mikimoto.

Each of Mikimoto's cultured pearl strands are a stunning work
of art born from
the mystery of the sea.

SINCE 1893 - The Originator of Cultured Pearls

"My dream is to adorn the necks of all women around the world with pearls."



Over a century ago, Kokichi Mikimoto succeeded in creating the world's first cultured pearl. His quest for perfection and his love for these pure, lustrous gems of the sea were the guiding forces that built the house of Mikimoto.


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. To wear Mikimoto is to reflect the purity of the ocean…the mystery of creation… and to know you are adorned with the finest cultured pearls in the world.


The skill of a scientist and the soul of an artist combined to create the genius of Kokichi Mikimoto, the inventor of cultured pearls. A visionary on a quest for beauty, it was his dream to " adorn the necks of all women around the world with pearls." Since his company's founding in 1893, elegant women worldwide have been entranced by cultured pearls… mysterious gems of the sea.



Born on January 25, 1858, in the town of Toba on Japan's Shima peninsula, Kokichi Mikimoto was the eldest son of a noodle-shop owner, a generations-old family business. As the family grew, Mikimoto's father worked hard to feed his children, selling charcoal and vegetables in addition to noodles. When Mikimoto was only 11, his father fell ill, propelling the young boy into an early adulthood and prompting him to to seek his fortune in a changing, modernizing world.


Mikimoto was born at the end of the Edo period, a time when Japan was almost totally closed to foreign influence. With the arrival of Commodore Perry in the early 1850s, the doors of international trade began to open and an era of social change started. Highly intelligent and ahead of his time, Mikimoto was bold in his willingness to interact with other cultures and explore new opportunities beyond his family circumstances. As a
young man, he developed a keen interest in his port town's most famous local product: Ise Pearls.

Because these natural pearls fetched such high prices, they were gathered without restraint, becoming scarcer with each passing year. Concerned about extinction of the pearl-producing oysters, Mikimoto embarked on his life-defining mission to grow pearls within his own, protected oyster beds.


In 1878, Mikimoto helped to arrange and judge an exhibition of pearls in Japan. All around him, he saw misshapen or underdeveloped pearls being sold. As a perfectionist, he was disturbed by the pearl industry's greed and disregard for quality, and his reputation eventually reached as far as Japan's Imperial Court.


Mikimoto learned that Akoya oysters produced the best pearls. He explored methods of introducing a particle into the flesh of the oyster to stimulate secretions of " nacre" that build up in hundreds of thousands of layers, creating a lustrous pearl. He overcame many failed experiments and challenges of nature, from oyster-eating octopi to a disastrous " red tide" of bacteria that threatened the survival of his oyster beds.


On July 11, 1893, after enormous efforts of research and experimentation, Mikimoto's wife, Ume, hauled a basket of oysters from the sea for inspection. Nestled within the folds of an oyster, a gleaming object caught her eye. A pearl! Her husband's dream had finally become a reality.

Mikimoto had discovered the secret to cultivating beautiful pearls of such quality that they rivaled natural pearls. In 1896, Mikimoto was granted his first patent for cultured pearls. He based his flourishing business on Ojima Island where his first pearls were grown, renaming it Pearl Island.


In the decades to come, Mikimoto continued to advance the science of pearl cultivation and conquer new challenges such as successful cultivation of the remarkable South Sea pearl. Again overcoming huge obstacles, including typhoons, he turned dream into reality with the cultivation of a large black pearl 10mm in diameter in the deep, warm waters of Okinawa.


Mikimoto's first pearl boutique opened in Tokyo's fashionable shopping district, Ginza, in 1899. His exceptional gems created high demand and Mikimoto stores soon followed in London, Paris and other major cities. Mikimoto's passion and ceaseless dedication to pearls led to many exciting developments, and helped his nation prosper in the global arena. As an inventor, he enthusiastically exhibited his products and created many astounding displays that spread the renown of Mikimoto cultured pearls.



In 1910, a traditional Japanese fan and screen lavished with Mikimoto cultured pearls were the focal points of the Anglo-Japanese Fair in London. At the 1926 World's Fair, the Mikimoto Pagoda dazzled the public with over 12,000 pearls in a platinum setting. At the 1939 New York World's Fair, a pearl model of the Liberty Bell drew gasps from visitors.


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.

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.



Creating pearls is a fascinating process that requires much time and dedication. The oyster bed is a natural habitat that must be painstakingly nurtured before a pearl can even be conceived. The cultivation process begins with a core. In natural pearls, this is simply a fragment of shell, fishbone or sand that floats into the shell of pearl oyster.

To protect itself from this irritant, the oyster secretes thousands of layers of nacre, forming a pearl. In 1893, after years of painstaking efforts, Kokichi Mikimoto succeeded in duplicating this natural process by implanting a nucleus (core). The method he developed is still used by Mikimoto today to form beautiful, lustrous pearls.


Quality, design and craftsmanship converge at Mikimoto to create pearl jewels of extraordinary style. They express both the best of contemporary fashion trends and a timeless, eternal elegance - a perfect balance of tradition and innovation. As you wear and enjoy your Mikimoto pearl jewelry, it will grow in classic appeal, adding to its precious value. Every year, we introduce versatile, new designs - creating excitement via colored stones, new types of clasps, multi-layered strands, multi-colored strands and lariat styles.The jewel springs from the designer's imagination, and is magically transformed by intricate craftsmanship that brings the idea to life. Absolute attention to every detail results in jewelry admired and treasured around the world.



The pearl's iridescent luminosity has bewitched men and women alike for thousands of years. Whether offered in romance or taken in victory, worn as a symbol of chastity or a mystical aphrodisiac, pearls have been and continue to be among the most coveted gems in the world.


The ancient Greeks wore pearls at their wedding ceremonies, believing they would ensure marital bliss and prevent new brides from crying. This time-honored custom lives on today, with brides of many cultures wearing pearls to enhance their beauty and symbolize the purity of their love.

So greatly were pearls valued, they have even changed history. After accepting Cleopatra's wager that she could consume the wealth of an entire nation in one meal, Marc Antony watched as she removed a pearl earring, crushed it and drank the powder mixed with wine. Awed by her extravagant gesture, he became enamored, neglecting his duties to the Roman Empire.


During the Renaissance, nobility entwined pearls in their hair and embroidered them on garments. Elizabeth I owned more than 3000 gowns adorned with the gem, and even had court jewelers create a pearl and ruby collar for her pet ermine.

In the Gilded Age, American industrialists used pearls as expressions of power and wealth. Portraits of Astors, Vanderbilts and Fricks reveal ropes of pearls dripping over extravagant gowns.

Today's royals, celebrities and fashion icons continue the passion for pearls. From extravagant statement pieces to elegant single strands and luminous studs, Mikimoto brings the thrilling cultured pearl experience within reach of today's modern woman —and man.


Each strand of Mikimoto cultured pearls is a work of art born from the mystery of the sea. Creation of these strands requires incredible skill, judgment and craftsmanship. The journey begins with a rigorous selection process, culling the very best pearls.

The perfect Mikimoto pearl has high-quality nacre and a perfectly round shape. Once the best pearls have been selected, they are cleaned with specialized techniques and entrusted to the expert sorter. Each beautiful pearl is individually examined by northern, morning light, the day's most even illumination. The natural light reveals the " personality" of the pearl.



Mikimoto pearl necklaces and jewelry is distinguished by unique characteristics that elevate it above all other pearl jewelry.

One of the many ways we perfect the art of fine pearl jewelry making is by controlling our production from start to finish. Only the finest quality materials are used:

  • 18 karat gold or platinum
  • All natural-color gemstones - no radiation or color treatment
  • Finest silk thread for pearl strands
  • The Mikimoto Trademark

You can always identify Mikimoto jewelry by our trademark: either the outline of an oyster or the Mikimoto name engraved on every jewel. This can be found on the clasp, ring shank or earring back. Our strands and cultured pearl bracelets are also fitted with a signature M-circle logo charm.

Look for the Mikimoto trademark — it is your assurance of the highest standard of quality and integrity.

Text and Images taken from Mikimoto's website,