[WORLDKINGS] On this day - July 11, 2023 – The 130th anniversary of the world's first cultured pearls created by Kōkichi Mikimoto from Japan (1893)

11-07-2023

(Worldkings.org) Mikimoto Kōkichi revolutionised the Pearl industry when he created and refined the process of culturing Pearls. On 11 July 1893, he farmed his first perfectly hemispherical cultured pearls after many failures.

Kokichi Mikimoto (25 January 1858 – 21 September 1954) was a Japanese entrepreneur who is credited with creating the first cultured pearl and subsequently starting the cultured pearl industry with the establishment of his luxury pearl company Mikimoto.

 

At the age of 20, Mikimoto noticed the many flaws of pearls as he judged a pearl exhibition in 1878. This began Mikimoto's search for the development of the perfect pearl. Mikimoto began his search of an alternative method to produce pearls as the chairman of the Shima Marine Products Improvement Association. At this point the demand for pearls had severely outweighed the supply, prompting the consideration of an effort to protect the oysters.

In 1888, Mikimoto obtained a loan to start his first pearl oyster farm at the Shinmei inlet on Ago Bay in Mie prefecture with his wife and partner Ume. On 11 July 1893, after many failures and near bankruptcy, he was able to create the hemispherical cultured pearls. The pearls were made by seeding the oyster with a small amount of mother of pearl.

 

The first-ever cultured Pearl necklace can still be viewed in the Mikimoto Museum on Pearl Island, near his birthplace. It comprises 49 large, incredibly lustrous, perfectly matched Pearls, all hand-chosen by Mikimoto himself over a ten-year span as he refined and perfected his technique.

Mikimoto had received a patent in 1896 for producing hemispherical pearls, or mabes, and a 1908 patent for culturing in mantle tissue. Mikimoto then altered his patent application to cover a technique to make round pearls in mantle tissue, which was granted in 1916.

In 1899, the first Mikimoto pearl shop opened in the fashionable Ginza district of Tokyo selling natural seed pearls and half round pearls. The Mikimoto business expanded internationally, opening stores in London (1913). After World War II, Mikimoto opened stores in Paris, New York City, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Shanghai, and Bombay, and was thus one of the first Japanese brands to attain an international presence and recognition.

 

The new technology enabled Japan's cultured pearl industry to quickly expand after 1916; by 1935 there were 350 pearl farms in Japan producing 10 million cultured pearls annually.

 

According to Wikipedia & gemporia.com


Kyna ( Collect) - WORLDKINGS (Source of photos: Internet)

 

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