Mikimoto has been a leader in the world of cultured pearls for over 120 years. What’s next for the Japanese jewellery brand?

In 1893, Kokichi Mikimoto set out on a quest for beauty and perfection, resulting in the establishment of Mikimoto – a brand synonymous with exquisite cultured pearls. The impressive feat of cultivating something so perfect earned him the title of “King of Pearls”. Mikimoto and its creations were then celebrated around the world, making a mark in some of the greatest cities like New York, London, Paris, and of course, Tokyo.

Mikimoto pearls earned high praise not just from jewellery lovers and aficionados, but from historical figures too like the great American inventor, Thomas Edison, who Kokichi Mikimoto met in 1927. Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe was a fan as well, who often showed off a classic pearl necklace gifted to her by her husband, Joe DiMaggio. Such recognition and validation paved the way for the Mikimoto brand, which now enjoys a stellar reputation in the glimmering world of jewellery.

Since the beginning, the lifelong dream of Kokichi Mikimoto was “to adorn the necks of all the women with pearls”. Perhaps one could say that owning a piece of jewellery from Mikimoto is a rite of passage, where each pearl used is selected by skillfully blending exquisite Japanese craftsmanship techniques. This is then followed by European manufacturing techniques, which results in extraordinary pieces with incredible quality.

Celebrating Femininity
Today, Mikimoto’s goal goes beyond adorning women’s necks with jewellery. Instead, it encourages them to embrace their uniqueness. By likening women with pearls, it shows that depending on the conditions and wherever each one is in the world, what results is something truly unique.

Jeux de Rubans necklace

With that, in 2019, the #FINDYOURPEARL campaign was launched, accompanied by the “Jeux de Rubans” collection. The jewellery collection’s delicate forms are inspired by decorative, luxurious ribbons, which call to mind a woman’s inherent elegance, beauty, and grace.

Ribbons have come to symbolise many things. It is primarily used as a decorative item to tie or bind something together, and at the same time, has been used as a symbol that shows support for a particular cause depending on the colour used. For Mikimoto’s Jeux de Rubans collection, the brand’s designers used their creativity to transform the ribbon into a luxurious and whimsical design that is timeless and loved the world over.

Jeux de Rubans earrings 

The necklaces and earrings from the collection are designed with Akoya Cultured Pearls and sparkling diamonds. Meanwhile, the ribbon-styled diamond clasp used in the necklaces (available in 42 or 55 cm) is the main feature of the design, which allows for multiple styling options – whether worn long or short, modern and stylish, or feminine and elegant.

Jeux de Rubans high jewellery necklace

Another standout from the Jeux de Rubans collection is a high jewellery necklace that was featured when Mikimoto announced the second year of Dilraba as brand ambassador. The incredibly delicate-looking piece is comprised of 18K white gold, Akoya Cultured Pearls, and Diamonds. It is inspired by a light, airy ribbon fluttering in the wind, with soft and graceful curves that capture the timeless allure of the motif.

Expect the Unexpected
A jewellery collection like Jeux de Rubans is expected from Mikimoto. But in a totally unexpected yet wholly welcome move, the brand recently decided to shake things up by working together with COMME des GARÇONS, the Japanese fashion house founded by Rei Kawakubo that’s known for its avant garde designs.

This capsule collection, which is designed by Kawakubo, aims to break the gender barrier often associated with pearl jewellery and reach out to a wider audience. “The image of pearls overlap in places with the image of COMME des GARÇONS,” reveals Kawakubo in a press statement. The unisex range is comprised of seven necklaces that feature flawless South Sea or Akoya pearls, juxtaposed with sterling silver hardware in either heavy chains or the hard-to-miss CDG logo, lending the finished product a masculine look with an undeniable street wear appeal.

And in the spirit of exclusivity, which is often associated with the fashion brand, the collection will only be available at Dover Street Market boutiques in Singapore, London, New York, Los Angeles, and Ginza, select CDG stores in Japan, Paris, and New York, and finally, at Mikimoto stores in Ginza and Osaka.

The Pearl’s Essence, Captured
Breaking barriers and inclusivity seems to be a recurring theme that’s dictating Mikimoto’s current direction. Following the COMME des GARÇONS collaboration, the brand also recently launched its first fragrance, Mikimoto Eau de Parfum – a unisex scent inspired by the beautiful, natural, and cultural heritage of Japan, as well as lush forests and the majestic presence of the sea where pearls come from.

On the outside, the Mikimoto Eau de Parfum bottle is a minimalist expression of the identity of the brand: A lustrous pearl within its shell. The design reflects the exquisite colour of the gem, as well as the pure forms of an orb within a square.

Within, the fragrance takes inspiration from something more abstract, doing away with concepts that would rigidly compartmentalise it as a masculine or feminine scent. That strict duality does not exist here. Instead, the scent is inspired by Japan’s natural and cultural heritage; the majestic presence of the sea where pearls come from and lush, green forests. The perfume follows the brand’s philosophy of pursuing coexistence with nature, resulting in a product that is timeless and gender-neutral, exuding universal appeal that is reminiscent of a beautifully designed piece of pearl jewellery.

To break it down, Mikimoto Eau de Parfum’s top notes are a rendition of the subtle smell of a cool sea breeze blended with fresh citrus notes, comprised of grapefruit, orange, Sicilian lemon, and bergamot. Following that, florals come bursting through in the middle notes with a blend of iris and magnolia. The seductive scent of magnolia evokes a pearl’s lustrous beauty, while iris brings to life its sophisticated modernity. Finally, the last notes transport you to an enchanted forest, where the redolence of ambergris, saffron, royal oud, and sandalwood come together. This creates a lasting impression of depth and elegance.

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