Pearl is the outcome of a mollusc or oyster’s reaction towards a foreign object that causes irritation in the shell. To protect themselves, they secrete crystalline fluid called nacre. This nacre forms layers on the irritant and thereby forming a lustrous shape. This object is known as pearl.
Natural pearl is rare in the market because not all oysters create pearls. If you are lucky, out of 10,000 oysters, you might get one shell that has a pearl in it. That is why pearls are cultivated in various countries in order to meet the demand. The first cultured pearl was named after its founder Kokichi Mikimoto.
Before 1885, Japan was already dealing with natural pearls and its availability slowly started reducing. Therefore, Mikimoto worked with his colleagues and wife for many years to understand the procedure of pearl formation and other factors that supports it like the water temperature as well as quality. After years of harvesting, processing and nucleating oysters, he was finally able to produce cultivated pearls and got the patent for pearl cultivation. Now, there are various kinds of harvesting done in different countries to derive different shapes, sizes and colours of pearls. However, Mikimoto pearl necklace, ring, earrings, bangles, bracelet etc. have ‘M’ stamped on it which clearly guarantees it surety.
As a customer, you can only rely on the ‘M’ mark. There is black market for Mikimoto pearls where imitation pearls are claimed to be Mikimoto pearls.
Here are few tricks to determine the original Mikimoto pearls –
- A high quality Mikimoto pearl will have special line patterns on it. This can be seen only through magnifying lenses. It is only available with a jeweller and they can differentiate real from fake.
- Mikimoto pearls are different from Akoya pearls. Their price will vary and so will their quality.
- Mikimoto pearls are graded in four levels AAA1, AAA2, AAA3 and AAA4. The highest graded pearl has finest lustre and reflection like mirror, while the lowest graded pearl has clear reflection but light faded lustre.
It is advised to ask for certificate while buying Mikimoto pearl jewellery. This assures that you bought authentic jewelry from a reliable store.