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Kokichi Mikimoto

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Kokichi Mikimoto

Kokichi Mikimoto's contribution to the cultured pearl industry cannot be overstated. While he may not have single-handedly invented the industry, he played a pivotal role in its development and widespread acceptance of the Japanese akoya pearl. Born in Toba City, Japan, in 1858, Mikimoto's father sold noodles for a living. Little did he know that his passion for pearls would shape his destiny and revolutionize the world of jewelry.

Mikimoto's journey into pearl cultivation...

Japanese Akoya Pearls

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Japanese Akoya Pearls Defined

Japanese Akoya Pearls is a term often used as a misnomer to describe all cultured akoya pearls. This is no longer an industry accepted term as akoya pearls are now also grown in China, South Korea, Vietnam and Australia. Japanese akoya pearls is the correct term applied to akoya pearls grown in Japan, and often applied to akoya pearls that have been processed in Japan, regardless of provenance.

An example of a very fine akoya pearl strand, Pearl Paradise


Hanadama Akoya Pearls

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Hanadama Akoya Pearls

Hanadama is a Japanese word for "Spherical Flower" and is the term used to describe high quality and highly valued akoya pearls from any given harvest. These pearls are separated from typical class grading prior to auction and are sold as individually separated lots.

Although there is no standardized, definitive grading system that accurately represents and compares the value characteristics of akoya pearls, there is a one-word description of the best akoya pearl...

Innovation Continues in Chinese Freshwater Pearl Culture

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CBSB "Fireball" Pearl Culture and the Return of the Biwa Pearly Mussel
by Jeremy Shepherd and Doug Fiske

In April of this year, CEO Jeremy Shepherd and GIA writer Doug Fiske traveled with GIA photographer Valerie Power to the Weitang and Zhuji regions, centers of the Chinese freshwater pearl industry. For nearly a week, we interviewed farmers, traders, and even the chairman of one of the largest freshwater pearl production companies. The information we gathered gives a...

Freshwater Pearls vs Cultured Pearls

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Am I Getting Freshwater or Cultured Pearls?

A common question faced by many pearl buyers today is whether a particular strand of pearls is composed of freshwater or cultured pearls. This question cannot have a definitive answer because freshwater pearls are in fact cultured pearls.

Freshwater Pearls Are Cultured Pearls, But They Are Not Akoya

The reason so many buyers distinguish cultured pearls from freshwater pearls, is because "cultured pearls" is a trade term still used by many today...

The Genus Pinctada

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The Genus Pinctada, Roding 1798
The family Pteriidae is composed of nine or ten genera, and pearl oysters belonging to the Pinctada and Pteria genera are the most important from our point of view. We start off with the firts of these genus.

Pinctada History and Discovery

Historically, there is a large amount of duplication among the names of pearl producing mollusks. This is partly due to independent geographical discoveries that were later found to be the same oyster. Furthermore, the...

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