By Chere Di Boscio
If you ever doubted the power of pearls, consider this story: so greatly have pearls been valued over time, 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 enamoured, neglecting his duties to the Roman Empire, and changing the fate of politics forever.
Indeed, pearls have long been associated with love, victory and power, and nobody understands this more than Mikimoto.
A Quest for Perfection
Once, deep-sea divers had to look in the depths of the deep blue to find pearls. For this reason, they were considered a rare find. However, 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 jewellery, and the Mikimoto name is synonymous with superior quality.
The reasons for this are many: the brand only uses diamonds sourced according to the Kimberly Process rules; uses all naturally coloured gemstones without radiating them or colour treating them as some other jewellers do; they use only the finest silk threads for their pearl strands, and are careful not to pollute the seas near their mollusk farms, meaning their all-natural pearls are eco-friendly.
The brand has also set the industry standard with the world’s first pearl grading system. The reason for this is that pearls are like fingerprints; each is unique. So in 1974, Mikimoto established a grading standard with the Mikimoto pearl grading scale, with AAA representing the very highest quality. Although no single factor can solely represent the worth of a pearl, lustre and surface perfection are most important. Mikimoto graders spend years becoming experts in assessing these gems of the sea, allowing only the finest specimens to be used in Mikimoto’s designs.