This Is How Mikimoto Is Celebrating 130 Years of Cultured Pearls

CollectionsJun 29, 2023

This Is How Mikimoto Is Celebrating 130 Years of Cultured Pearls

The company has a new collection and a new campaign that serves as a love letter to the sea.

Mikimoto pearl and sapphire necklace
A white South Sea cultured pearl necklace in 18-karat white gold with sapphire rondelles from Mikimoto’s 130th anniversary collection ($210,000). The company is marking the milestone with a new campaign.
New York—Mikimoto is celebrating its 130th anniversary in style.

The company’s founder, Kokichi Mikimoto, created the first cultured pearl in 1893 in Japan, launching an entirely new industry.

In celebration of the milestone, the company has been rolling out a multi-part anniversary campaign, beginning with its “Love Letter to the Sea” earlier this year.

The six-part film series highlights the brand’s connection to and love for the sea, a partnership it hopes to honor with its ongoing sustainability efforts.

“Mikimoto has always been dedicated to the beauty of pearls, channeling its hopes and dreams into works of jewelry,” said the company. “This year, Mikimoto will further continue its efforts to promote coexistence with nature, especially with the sea, where the pearls are nurtured.”

Mikimoto said it will continue its pearl research and its work to implement a zero-emissions pearl farming system that can collect and recycle the waste from the process.

Reaching its zero-emissions goal has been a work in progress since 2009, said the company.

Previously, when pearls were harvested, the shells and flesh were thrown away, though the adductor muscles were used for food.

Now, Mikimoto, alongside its partners, reuse and recycle the waste. Collagen and conchiolin, also known as pearl protein, are extracted to be used in cosmetics and dietary supplements while oyster shells are repurposed for decorative use.

“Mikimoto will continue its efforts to promote sustainable pearl farming while preserving biodiversity and ecosystems,” said the company.

Of course, the anniversary celebration wouldn’t be complete without pearl jewelry.

Mikimoto recently debuted its 130th anniversary collection, which is a mix of new and existing jewels and serves as a curation of its special and limited-edition jewelry.

The collection is comprised of minimalist pearl pendants and studs, as well as dramatic pearl strands and colorful brooches.

SEE: Mikimoto’s 130th Anniversary Collection

“To commemorate Mikimoto’s 130th anniversary this year, we are not only honoring Mikimoto as the originator of cultured pearls, but paying homage to the brand’s origins in the sea and the beauty that pearls have bestowed on us for centuries," said Noriko Otsuka, Mikimoto America’s senior vice president of merchandise.

“Mikimoto’s commitment to creating the highest quality pearl jewelry in classic and modern styles is unparalleled in our industry and we look forward to continuing to evolve and build on the brand’s legacy.”

The collection ranges in price from $640 for a pearl and enamel bracelet to $246,000 for a diamond necklace with a conch pearl pendant.

Pearl enthusiasts will find several varieties accounted for in the collection, including white, black, and golden South Sea pearls, white Akoya pearls, and conch pearls.

 Related stories will be right here … 

Another facet of the celebration is a series of new campaign videos, titled “Love Pearls,” in which the brand’s celebrity fans shared their well wishes.

Featured celebrities include actress and Mikimoto brand ambassador Dilraba Dilmurat, designer Marc Jacobs, model Ai Tominaga, actress Mari Natsuki, and actors James Jirayu, Song Wei Long, and Taishi Nakagawa.

Decked out in Mikimoto jewels, each video features a celebrity who shares their favorite pieces and their memories associated with the storied brand.

“When I think of the most beautiful pearls in the world, I think of Mikimoto,” Jacobs says in his video.

“My favorite piece of jewelry is a single strand of pearls that I wear not only for good luck but to glamorize every one of my looks.”

Natsuki, perhaps best known in the United States for her voice work in the 2001 animated film “Spirited Away,” shared her cultural connection with pearls as a Japanese woman.

“What I love about Mikimoto pearls is [the] romantic story,” she said. “Moreover, they make me feel proud as a Japanese [person] and confident as a woman. Pearls are the gems that really make me feel happy to be Japanese.”

The videos are available to view on Mikimoto’s website.

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