11 July 1893 — Kokichi Mikimoto cultures the world’s first semi-spherical pearl.
Born in Toba, on Japan’s Shima Peninsula, Mikimoto grew to be a man who nursed a passion for safeguarding local Akoya oyster populations from being over-scavenged for their naturally occurring pearls. He had a fondness for the luminous spheres, with their ancient connection to humanity and rich symbolic heritage.
Mikimoto also became obsessed with a personal quest to farm oysters and manipulate their pearl output, by introducing tiny, non-harmful irritants into their mucousy insides.
Despite series of financial ups and downs and noxious red algea blooms that threatened to wipe out his submerged herd, Mikimoto succeeded. Today marks the 124th anniversary of the moment he prised open one of his hard-shelled beauties to reveal a new dream: adorning the neck of every woman around the world with his cultured pearls.
A century and nearly a quarter later, his legacy lives on in the form of a multi-multi-multi-million dollar brand that’s done it’s fair share of work on couture runways and the earlobes of every woman in the world, too.
To celebrate this precious occasion, enjoy below glimpses of some of Mikimoto’s newest confections; pieces of enviable heirloom jewellery hewn with utmost respect for traditional craftsmanship and nacre-coated passion of the most ingenious quality.
Go ahead and take a deep dive for some pearls right from your desk chair.
Source: mikimoto.com; History, Craftsmanship, High Jewelry