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History of Cultivating the Mikimoto Pearls

The Akoya oyster, growing in the Mie Prefecture bay, produces pearls that are the most prized. A century prior Mikimoto Kokichi established a technique to grow pearls that werespherical, the Prefecture became home to a museum celebrating his work and the beauty it has made possible. What am I talking about, Mikimoto pearls.

Waters of Mie Prefecture

Pearl farmers who make a living from these waters owe thanks to the determination and patience of locally born Mikimoto Kokichi (1858–1954).Mikimoto in his early life became captivated with pearls, which during this time were more valuable than even today since they had never been cultivated successfully.

History of cultivating

Efforts had before now gone into pearlcultivating, especially in Europe, but there was no successful attempt. Mikimoto was undeterredand began growing Akoya oysters in Ago Bay. After 5 years of “trial and error”, he was succeeded in developing hemispherical pearls that grew as “blisters” attached to the oyster’s inner shell.

Other scientists

Mikimoto worked with two other pearl scientists in this same field and who joined their work with his own earlier discoveries and received a 1916 patent for the culturing of pearls in the oyster mantle tissue, and this launched the first commercially spherical pearl business.

Century later

A century later, that method that Mikimoto, referred as the “Pearl King,” established is still being used. And while the process of cultivating pearls is still done in the old-style, technology is increasingly being used to guard the oysters while the pearls are developing.

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