130 Years of Mikimoto

Mikimoto celebrates its 130th Anniversary with a pearlescent splash!

by Reema Farooqui

2023 is milestone year for Mikimoto. Not only has the international pearl brand celebrated its 130th anniversary this year, it also marks 130 years since the founder of the brand, Kokichi Mikimoto, successfully cultured the first pearl, changing the jewelry world forever.

As was to be expected, the brand rolled out a multi-part anniversary campaign where it showcased its deep love and respect for the sea. As a brand, Mikimoto’s dedication to beautiful pearls is apparent in the gem quality pearls that are set in their jewelry pieces. However, the focus of the brand’s anniversary celebrations was the sea, which has sustained the brand for over a hundred years.

A Love Letter to the Sea

The celebrations started in March, when the brand launched a six-part film series very aptly called A Love Letter to the Sea, with its own dedicated website. The films, each one minute in duration, see the pearl, representing the brand, as a protagonist. In the films, the pearl  addresses the sea, in a thoughtful and evocative way, expressing gratitude and a sense of fellowship.

The play of light and shadow, vivid color and monochromatic tones, lend these films a dream-like quality and transport the audience to a world of immeasurable creativity and quiet luxury. As an homage to the sea, these films are lyrical and poetic and show the deep regard the brand holds for the sea.

The films also allude to Mikimoto’s ongoing environmental sustainability efforts. “In its 130th year, MIKIMOTO is dedicated to advancing initiatives that foster harmony with nature, particularly the sea,” observes Kentaro Nishimura, Chief Operating Officer of Mikimoto America.

130th Anniversary Collection

Mikimoto's 130th Anniversary Capsule Collection
130th Anniversary Collection

In addition to the films, the brand also debuted a special capsule collection to commemorate the year. The collection featured a mix of pieces from its Ocean Collection and Splash collection, alongside several limited edition 130th Anniversary jewels. Showcasing elegant pearl jewelry staples including pearl necklaces, bracelets, earrings and rings, the collection offers timeless versatility.

The Ocean collection is defined by its lustrous white pearls, both Akoya and South Sea, brilliant diamonds and sapphires set in an ombré pattern, from deep blue to white. Splash, as the name suggests, once again touches upon the ocean theme and is a bejeweled expression of the fleeting moment when a drop of water falls on water.

Additionally, the collection features several one of a kind high jewelry pieces, including two show-stopping pink conch pearl and diamond necklaces and two remarkable pink conch pearl, Akoya pearl and pink sapphire brooches, designed as stylized birds.

Praise to the Sea Collection

During the Paris Haute Couture Week in July, Mikimoto introduced jewelry lovers to its high jewelry collection for the year, called “Praise to the Sea.” A lustrous homage to the ocean, Praise to the Sea celebrates the beauty of underwater life through one of a kind jewelry pieces. The collection can best be described as a series of artistic and aesthetically elevated jeweled snapshots of underwater scenes, which have been immortalized through exceptional pearls, diamonds and colored gems as well as exquisite jewelry craftsmanship.

From the silent depths of the ocean floor blooming with opalescent sea anemones and dizzyingly crowded schools of fish to a whale gracefully swimming in the ocean, trailing iridescent bubbles in its wake, the jewelry pieces reflect the truth of ocean life,  the fascinating as well as the mundane, with authenticity, imagination and skilled craftsmanship.

The ocean theme, evident in Mikimoto’s 130th anniversary capsule collection, reaches a dramatic crescendo here. As a collection that commemorates one hundred and thirty years of Mikimoto, Praise to the Sea is a fitting tribute to the ocean, where it all began.

Mikimoto's 130th Anniversary Praise to the Sea Collection Necklaces
Praise to the Sea Collection

Mikimoto’s 130th Anniversary – Looking to the Future

Mikimoto has always been an innovative brand and part of its 130th anniversary celebrations  include a renewed commitment towards sustainability and environmental protection.

“We’re celebrating the brand’s anniversary by continuing to prioritize research of pearls and implement a zero-emission pearl farming system that collects and recycles the processes waste from the sea – the nurturing environment for not only pearls, but incredible biodiversity and ecosystems, and one MIKIMOTO aims to protect,” Nishimura explains about several different initiatives undertaken by the brand in recent years. 

While in the past, once a pearl was harvested, apart from the oyster’s adductor muscle, the remaining shell and meat were discarded. Today, Mikimoto and its partner pearl farms are reusing and recycling all the waste produced in the pearl cultivation process.

For instance, pearl culture by-products such as collagen and conchiolin, which are also called pearl protein, are extracted from harvested oysters for use in the cosmetics industry. In addition, mother-of-pearl from shells is used for decorative purposes and the leftover oyster meat is used to make rich compost.

At Mikimoto’s 130th anniversary, the brand continues to support environmental sustainability in innovative and productive ways.

130 Years and Counting

By introducing the world to cultured pearls, Kokichi Mikimoto changed the way jewelry connoisseurs regarded pearls. One hundred and thirty years later, the brand continues to delight pearl lovers with its dedication to the beauty of pearls.

Featured Image: Praise to the Sea Necklace with 18K White Gold, Tourmaline, Sapphire, Aquamarine, Garnet, Diamonds

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