Does Mikimoto have their own pearl farm?


Community member
Oct 18, 2005
I have read several books on pearls (e.g. Fred Ward's Pearls, Kunz's Book of Pearls, Bloom's Tears Of Mermaids), but I can't seem to find the answer to a question I have been looking for. So, I thought the experts here might be able to help.

I am interested in how Mikimoto acquires their pearls.

Does Mikimoto have their own pearl farm? From what I have read, they used to, but that was a long time ago when Mikimoto himself was alive. If do they have a farm, then does the fact they sell only the top few percent of pearls imply they discard/auction off their lesser pearls?

If they do not have their own farm, does this means they buy like any other vendor? If Mikimoto secures the top quality pearls, does that mean they get first dibs from the pearl dealers? Otherwise, if they are treated as equal to say, Tiffany (who's pearls I think are not as high quality as Mikimoto), then how come other retailers do not have the quality pearls available similar to Mikimoto.

Any info you can you provide on Mikimoto and how they acquire their pearls would be much appreciated.

Thank you.
Mikimoto does have their own operational farm, but it is in the far South of Japan and is more of an experimental farm than a commercial farm. They are growing akoya using large, traditional native stock, which produces large akoya (think 11 mm+). That isn't what you would find in a Mikimoto store, however. Mikimoto buys pearls the same way other companies buy pearls. Companies buy pearls either at auction or from processors. Mikimoto hasn't operated a commercial farm since 19 ... 56 (I think). I might be a bit off on the date. I believe that information is in Strack.

I'm sure Mikimoto gets the choice of pearls that they want, but it isn't just first dibs. They can pay a lot more because they sell for a lot more. If they want it, they get it, and they buy the best. That doesn't mean that they buy everything, but they get what they want/need. I've been at an auction and bid on a lot that the Mikimoto Company also bid on. They won.
These pearls are from the Mikimoto pearl farm I mentioned above. Mikimoto Experimental Pearls.jpg

I guess you could call this a farm too, but this is used for Mikimoto's lab in Toba.
Mikimoto Lab Farm.jpg

And this is their lab station.
Fine Conch Pearls
Thank you very much for your quick response. It was very helpful and informative. The pictures are great, especially the picture of the pearls. I didn't realize they had 11mm akoyas.... wow. What a gorgeous choker of huge akoyas that would make.

On your comment about Strack... I was scratching my head... "what is a strack"? (smile).
I googled and found out it was an author of a pearl book! I found the thread about her book and just sent a note inquiring how to purchase the book. So thank you for that piece of information as well! I can't wait to get that book.