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"A pearl is a living jewel." - Kokichi Mikimoto
Cultured Pearls come in a range of qualities. Only the best pearls in the world are destined to become Mikimoto gems. Always rely on a reputable jeweler - such as an authorized Mikimoto dealer - when you are buying pearls.
The following sections will give you some helpful guidelines as you choose your ideal piece from the finest collection of luxury pearl jewelry in the world.
As the Originator of Cultured Pearls, Mikimoto maintains the strictest quality grading standards. Each pearl harvested is as individual as a fingerprint. Here are the five factors we use to assess quality.
Luster is the amount of light a pearl reflects from both its surface glow and the deep mirror-like reflection of its inner light. The better the nacre quality of the pearl, the more superior its luster. Only the highest quality pearls with the most luminous luster carry the Mikimoto name.
Subtle blemishes and tiny marks are part of a pearl’s natural texture and proof of its genuine origin. These blemishes are the result of sea particles that drift into the oyster and brush against the pearl as it forms. Fewer surface imperfections denote a higher quality, more valuable pearl.
Of the many shapes available, perfectly round pearls are the rarest and most valuable. With Mikimoto’s South Sea cultured pearls, unique shapes like button, tear drop, oval and baroque are also popular.
Pearls vary widely in color based on the type of oyster that produces them. The rarer the shade, the more valuable the pearl. Colors range from cream, pink and grey to black, green and blue. White and pink rosé are among the most popular Akoya colors; peacock green and gold are among the rarest South Sea shades. While color choice is a matter of personal preference, always look for rich color, evenly distributed throughout the pearl.
While size does not affect the quality of cultured pearls, it does affect the price. Large pearls are more difficult to cultivate and their rarity makes them more valuable. Pearls are measured in diameter increments of millimeters (mm). The classic Akoya cultured pearl generally ranges from 3mm to 10mm. South Sea cultured pearls begin at 8mm and can grow as large as 18mm.
Prized for their brilliant luster and rich color, Akoya pearls are a traditional symbol of elegance and beauty. Produced by Japan's Akoya oysters, they are the most popular of all pearl types. Depending on the size of the mother oyster, they grow from 3-10mm. Colors range from white, cream and pink to light green, blue and silver.
The breathtaking color of these naturally black pearls is produced by black-lipped oysters in the waters off Tahiti and Okinawa. Sizes begin at 8mm, in round, oval, teardrop or unique baroque shapes. While characterized as black, the rich, dark colors actually range from slate grey, silver and pistachio to peacock green and midnight black with overtones of green, rosé or blue.
The magnificent, satiny luster of these fantastic white pearls is produced by the silver-lipped South Sea oyster. Their subdued opalescent appearance subtly changes under different light conditions, making them a constant marvel to behold. Harvested in sizes from 9mm up, their shapes range from round, oval or teardrop to free-form baroque.
These opulent pearls are produced by the golden-lipped oyster. Their warm, natural golden color is said to be rarer than gold itself. The color palette ranges from light champagne to a very rare, deep gold. This oyster species can also produce richly luminescent white pearls, but the deeper golden colors are the most coveted of all pearls. Harvested in sizes of 9mm and up, in round, oval, teardrop or beautiful baroque shapes.
These natural pearls are harvested from the Queen conch, a large marine snail with a heavy, lustrous shell which lives in the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. The highest-quality examples of Conch pearls are characterized by a distinctive "flame structure" that gives the appearance of a fire burning on the surface.
The natural beauty of Mikimoto's Baroque South Sea cultured pearls is derived from their superb luster and beautifully asymmetric silhouettes. The unique, organic shapes of these pearls make them a true fashion statement. Each gem, seemingly a polar opposite of the traditional round pearl, is a conversation piece.
A few simple considerations will help you pick the right strand length for your personal style... and lifestyle.Browse Strands
Women in their 20s often start their collection with shorter strands and smaller pearls which nestle near the base of the throat. Consider the Choker and Princess lengths to optimize your youthful fashion look.
Women in their 30s and beyond may prefer the fashion impact of longer lengths of pearl necklaces and larger pearls, which add drama while beautifully illuminating the face. Opera and Rope are enjoyed for their versatility, as they can be doubled or tripled around the neck.
If in doubt, use this simple guideline: longer strands of bigger pearls make a more dramatic fashion statement; shorter strands, while classic and elegant, can easily be dressed "up" or "down" for casual occasions. So if you're sporty, go shorter; sophisticated, go long.
Still can't decide? Opt for the mid-length Princess strand, which flatters every lifestyle and body type.
Today's modern jewelry trend is layering, so do not hesitate to mix your lovely Mikimoto strands with other necklaces of different lengths, colors and materials. The look you create will be personal and unique.