Mikimoto's first pearl boutique opened in Tokyo's fashionable shopping district, Ginza, in 1899. His exceptional gems created high demand and Mikimoto stores soon followed in London, Paris and other major cities. Mikimoto's passion and ceaseless dedication to pearls led to many exciting developments, and helped his nation prosper in the global arena. As an inventor, he enthusiastically exhibited his products and created many astounding displays that spread the renown of Mikimoto cultured pearls.
In 1910, a traditional Japanese fan and screen lavished with Mikimoto cultured pearls were the focal points of the Anglo-Japanese Fair in London. At the 1926 World's Fair, the Mikimoto Pagoda dazzled the public with over 12,000 pearls in a platinum setting. At the 1939 New York World's Fair, a pearl model of the Liberty Bell drew gasps from visitors.
As an ambassador of cultured pearls, Mikimoto personified Japan's reputation for quality goods and helped to build its global trade. Many honors were bestowed on him: he was appointed to the House of Peers; introduced to Thomas Edison; received in audience by Emperor Showa; and received by the Empress Dowager when she visited Tatokujima Island.
Upon his death at age 96, after building one of the greatest names in luxury jewelry, Mikimoto was awarded the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Sacred Treasure. Today, his brand and his vision live on. Mikimoto cultured pearls are in demand more than ever as among the most chic and glamorous gems a woman can own, recognized worldwide for superb quality and elegant design.