The Cult of Mikimoto

Courtesy Mikimoto

A look at the storied Japanese jeweler.

A mere one percent of the pearls harvested by Mikimoto make it onto the floors of the company’s 96 stores around the globe. In 1893 founder Kokichi Mikimoto became the first person in the world to successfully culture a pearl (and patent the process) on Ojima—what would become Pearl Island. Today, the company’s traditional cream, silver, and pink pearls are still cultured in the waters near there, and Pearl Island is a tourist attraction. Named the official jeweler to Japan’s imperial family in 1924, the company has since expanded into diamonds and other precious stones, broadening what the name Mikimoto stands for. Nevertheless, this month, the legacy of the founder, who once said, “My dream is to adorn the necks of all women around the world with pearls,” is celebrated with the release of Assouline’s The Pearl Necklace.