Akoya Pearls: Mikimoto’s Pearl Cultivation

1905 Cultured Success for Kokichi Mikimoto

The story of Akoya pearls is primarily associated with the life and hard work of Kokichi Mikimoto, a man of humble background who, in the late 1800’s, ventured experimentation with pearl cultivation. After 12 years of painstaking work resulting in both trial-and-error, Mikimoto succeeded in producing his first totally round cultured pearl in 1905.

Mikimoto Breeds Doubt & Confusion

What had once been a gem reserved for the upper class and nobility, would now become available for all to own and cherish. The Japanese cultured pearls were introduced into the jewelry market in the 1920’s, raising doubt and confusion amongst pearl buyers who were not certain of the gem’s authenticity. This event marked the beginning of a new industry which has remained closely associated with Japan to the present day.

Akoya Pearl High Luster & Thick Nacre

Over the past hundred years, Japanese pearl growers have refined the techniques of pearl cultivation to a point where some of the world’s highest quality pearls are grown, combining attention to detail with the love of beauty. Experts believe that Akoya pearls have the highest luster of all cultured pearls, attributable to their heavy nacre coating. The Japanese waters in which they grow are 10 to 15 degrees cooler that those in warmer climates, hence a more slow development of Akoya pearls’ nacre coating, with a more compact crystal structure.

Blemish Free Akoyas

Akoya pearls are usually free from blemishes and appear in round, semi-round, tear-drop and Baroque shapes. They are seldom seen as button or oval-shaped pearls. Cultured pearls display a fascinating array of colors encompassing rose, silver, white, cream, gold and blue-gray. They range in size from 2 to 10 millimeters, with 7 millimeters being the average size.

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