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15 November 2022

Mikimoto Pearls: Fine Akoya Pearl Jewellery

By: Stephanie Brooks

Mikimoto Pearls: Fine Akoya Pearl Jewellery

Renowned for being the most iconic pearl brand in the world, Mikimoto combines a wealth of history with exquisite craftsmanship. Established in 1893, founder Kokichi Mikimoto, successfully crafted the world’s first cultured pearls, transforming the jewellery landscape forever.

Our expert jewellers here at David M Robinson have put together an extensive guide, which explores the rich history of the Mikimoto brand and how it became synonymous with the Japanese Akoya pearl. We’ll take you on a journey of discovery, as we navigate you through the wondrous world of cultured pearls. You’ll learn how to tell the quality of pearls, and gain an understanding of how Mikimoto strives for sheer perfection, as we showcase an array of pearl necklaces, bracelets and earrings from various Mikimoto collections.

Mikimoto Pearls: History

Mikimoto, the world-renowned Japanese jewellery empire, was founded by Kokichi Mikimoto in 1893. In his hometown port of Toba, pearls were a valuable local commodity. As time went on, pearls became increasingly scarce, which sparked Mikimoto’s vision to grow his own pearls within the oysters of his own protected beds. It took many years to perfect, due to the struggles of having to battle with red algae and oyster-eating octopuses, but in 1896, Mikimoto was granted his first patent for cultured pearls from Akoya oysters.

In 1899, Mikimoto opened his first pearl boutique in Tokyo’s Ginza district, followed by stores in London, Paris and other major cities shortly after. Following World War II, Mikimoto opened stores across an array of prestigious global locations spanning New York, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Shanghai and Bombay. Ever since then, Mikimoto has been seeking to harness the allure of pearls and strives to update the tradition of beauty by combining a sense of artistry and aesthetic. The brand’s unparalleled craftsmanship has been shaped by influences from different cultures across the globe, ensuring each piece is new and exciting, whilst upholding timeless, sophisticated style.

What are cultured pearls?

A question that is often asked about cultured pearls is, ‘are they real?’ Yes, a cultured pearl is a genuine pearl that has been created under controlled conditions with human intervention. Most pearls on the market today are cultured pearls, however, natural pearls do account for a small percentage of the marketplace. As a result of their rarity, natural pearls do come with an even higher price tag.

Another variation to be aware of when selecting pearls is the difference between saltwater and freshwater. Saltwater pearls are the most valuable pearls across the world, and come in three main types, South Sea pearls, Tahitian pearls and Akoya pearls. All of which are grown from oysters that live in saltwater environments in the ocean. Freshwater pearls on the other hand are the more affordable option, and are created inside freshwater mussels. As natural saltwater pearls are extremely difficult to come across, cultured saltwater pearls make up the vast majority of the market. Akoya cultured pearls in particular have become synonymous with the Mikimoto brand. Only Akoya cultured pearls with the highest quality and lustre can be bestowed with the name, Mikimoto.

The Mikimoto pearl quality

As the originator of cultured pearls, Mikimoto transformed the jewellery industry with its unparalleled craftsmanship, developed through more than a century of innovation. Admired across generations, Mikimoto withholds its reputation for being the premier designer of high quality pearls. The brand continues to strive to update the tradition of beauty, whilst ensuring each piece is exquisite, timeless, and quite simply the finest in the world.

To maintain the quality of the Mikimoto pearl, the brand uses only the finest pearls that meet the strictest standards, which on average, account for less than 10 percent of the pearls examined. The quality of a pearl is determined by a set of criteria, and every Mikimoto pearl meets them all.

Our expert jewellers, here at DMR, will now guide you through how to determine the quality of the Mikimoto pearl, taking into consideration the key factors surrounding a pearl’s shape, colour and size. Another important quality that distinguishes the pearl is its thickness of the nacre, as this influences the pearl’s lustre.


The closest resemblance to a sphere is considered the perfect pearl shape. However, irregular shapes, such as baroque, are also embraced due to their unique charm and intriguing form.


Pearls occur naturally in white and cream shades. A more even-coloured pearl with fewer marks and blemishes is seen to be of higher quality. Pink, white, green and gold Akoya cultured pearls can also be found.


Pearl size is a diameter measured in millimetres. Generally speaking, the bigger the pearl, the more expensive it will be. It’s important to choose a pearl size that reflects your personal style.

Nacre thickness

The longer pearls are left to grow, the thicker the nacre. The thickness of the nacre offers a reliable measure of how long the pearl has been cultured and will determine its quality and longevity.


One of the most important factors is the pearl’s lustre, which is affected by the surface quality, alongside the thickness and evenness of the nacre. The thicker the nacre, the finer the lustre. The amount of light a pearl reflects is also seen to make them of a higher grade.

What is the difference between Akoya and Mikimoto pearls?

Mikimoto pearls are so synonymous with timeless, sophisticated style that they are sometimes mistaken for a type of pearl. In fact, Akoya cultured pearls are the specialty of Japan’s pearl farms and the pearls that Mikimoto is renowned for.

Pearls from Akoya oysters are admired for their lustre and elegance, and are the most popular pearl on the market. Typically, Mikimoto Akoya pearls are sized from 3 to 8mm, and rarely larger than 9mm to ensure a delicate aesthetic. As a brand deeply rooted with fine craftsmanship and superior innovation, only Akoya cultured pearls with the highest quality and lustre can be bestowed with the Mikimoto title.

Mikimoto pearls from David M Robinson

Now that we’ve delved into the rich history and pioneering craftsmanship of Mikimoto pearls, here we’ll explore the stunning collections available at DMR. From timeless classic pearl necklaces to charming bracelets and earrings with a subtle contemporary spin, the captivating collection ensures pieces for a multitude of tastes and style preferences.

Mikimoto: Classic Collection

Mikimoto’s Classic collection exudes beauty and elegance. Expertly crafted using the finest Akoya cultured pearls.

White Gold and Pearl Diamond Stud Earrings – These earrings are beautifully crafted from 18ct white gold and adorned with stunning Akoya cultured pearls and 0.16ct diamonds.

White Gold South Sea Pearl Pendant – This stunning pendant from Mikimoto is crafted from 18ct white gold and features a beautiful 10mm White South Sea pearl.

Classic Pearl Necklace Bracelet and Stud Set – A timeless addition to your jewellery collection, this beautiful pearl set from Mikimoto includes a stunning necklace, bracelet and studs.

Mikimoto Pearls: Fine Akoya Pearl Jewellery

Mikimoto: Pearl Chain Collection

The Pearl Chain collection epitomises Mikimoto’s superior quality and elegance, offering timeless jewellery that would be the perfect addition to any outfit.

Yellow Gold Pearl Chain Necklace – A timeless addition to your jewellery collection, this beautiful necklace from Mikimoto features Akoya cultured pearls set on a yellow gold chain.

Rose Gold and Diamond Pearl Chain Bracelet – A classic pearl design with an elegant touch, this Mikimoto Pearl Chain Bracelet offers timeless style. Crafted from 18ct rose gold with 4-5mm cultured pearls, set with brilliant cut diamonds.

White Gold Pearl Chain Necklace – A timeless addition to your jewellery collection, this stunning 18ct white gold necklace features 6-7mm Akoya cultured pearls, with sparkling brilliant cut diamonds totalling 0.48cts.

Mikimoto Pearls: Fine Akoya Pearl Jewellery

Mikimoto: M Code Collection

Taking inspiration from Morse code, Mikimoto’s M Code collection updates classic Akoya pearl pieces with a striking, contemporary touch.

M Code Yellow Gold Pearl Earrings – Set in 18ct yellow gold, these beautiful drop earrings feature 7mm Akoya cultured pearls.

M Code Yellow Gold Pearl Necklace – This beautiful yellow gold chain necklace features 7mm Akoya cultured pearls. The chain is approximately 32.5″ long with a lobster claw hook and an oval jump ring.

Mikimoto Pearls: Fine Akoya Pearl Jewellery

Mikimoto: M Collection

This striking collection from Mikimoto is an inspiring take on the shape of the letter M, adding a touch of modern elegance to classic pearl jewellery.

M Collection Yellow Gold Pearl Earrings – These stunning earrings feature 6.25mm Akoya cultured pearls, set in 18 carat yellow gold.

M Collection Yellow Gold Akoya Pearl Pendant – This beautiful pendant features a 7.5mm Akoya cultured pearl set in 18 carat gold.

Mikimoto Pearls: Fine Akoya Pearl Jewellery

Where can I buy Mikimoto pearls?

Now that we’ve explored the range of Mikimoto pearls, our guidance and inspiration doesn’t just stop there, as we invite you to book a personal consultation with one of our helpful experts.

Here at DMR, we have dedicated teams who can help you find the perfect Mikimoto pearls at our Liverpool and Canary Wharf showrooms.

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