Mikimoto vs?

egale

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Jun 11, 2015
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I recently purchased my wife a 30" AAA 9mm akoya strand from one of the major online dealers. In its own right it is very beautiful and my wife is happy with it, no complaints. From the same dealer I also purchased a pair of earings with AAA akoyas, also beautiful. And last I purchased a ring with a single AAA akoya pearl from another major dealer. Also very happy with it, no complaints.

The other day I couldn't help myself and purchased her a pair of Mikimoto 7.5 - 8mm studs, A+ quality. For about the same price I could have purchased the 7.0 - 7.5mm studs in AAA quality.

Yesterday the Mikimotos arrived. They look great in the box but after comparing side by side to her other AAA akoyas, the Mikimoto studs blow them away. The color is better, the luster is better and overall their appearance is above and beyond the other pearls. I can't imagine how good a AAA Mikimoto would look.

The question is now, what are the other dealers selling as AAA and what is Mikimoto selling as A+? I just priced out Mikimotos 18" 7.5 - 8mm A+ quality and it is almost 90% more than I paid for the 30" 9mm AAA. Mikimoto AAA 18" 7.5-8mm is $19,600!

The Mikimotos are really out of my reach but are anybody's AAA even close?
 
Earring pearls are usually a higher quality than the pearls used for strands. They sound great. :)
 
Hi Egale,

You pay a lot for the Mikomoto name. There are vendors represented here on the forum, whom we trust to buy from, who also sell akoya pearls. You will find a great difference in what you get for your money if you look at their websites. Basically look for the links at the bottom of their postings. It is possible to contact them to ask questions about comparison in quality. You are also welcome to link to listings here and ask.

- Karin
 
I decided to purchase an 18" 7-7.5" A+ Mikimoto strand rather than try a Hanadama strand from another vendor. If these disappoint, I can always return and try the Hanadama.
 
Received the Mikimoto strand. The A+ quality is beautiful. Quality seems better than the AAA strand my wife owns. Is it worth so much more? Probably not but I would still love to see a Mikimoto AAA 9mm strand although I could never afford it. I don't want to put down the AAA strand either. It is also very beautiful and it was so much more affordable. If my wife wants another strand someday, I will go the Hanadama route unless I win the lottery.
 
Mikomoto, Cartier, Van Cleef, Tiffany - you pay a lot of money only for the brand. Recently my friends friend showed us a Bvlgari ring. A small pearl surrounded from petite diamonds in total not more than 0.2 carats. Retail was approx. 8,000. Mikimoto is a nice brand but the materials arn't worth the high price.
 
My mother has a double strand of AA Mikimoto pearls. I just bought a 36" strand of natural white Hanadamas from PP. They are both beautiful, but I think my Hanadamas are much prettier. However, the Miki's are 6mm and my Hanadamas are 8 mm. The Miki's are very pink, and my Hanadamas are very white. So it's a bit like comparing apples to oranges. Then again, my Hanadamas were many times less expensive than the Miki's.
 
Mikomoto, Cartier, Van Cleef, Tiffany - you pay a lot of money only for the brand. Recently my friends friend showed us a Bvlgari ring. A small pearl surrounded from petite diamonds in total not more than 0.2 carats. Retail was approx. 8,000. Mikimoto is a nice brand but the materials arn't worth the high price.

I agree that their prices are outrageous but their quality can't be beat!
 
Can't be beat...I'm not sure about that. The akoya (and freshwater) pearls I've seen at Tiffany look downright boring to me.
 
I always find this an interesting discussion. Not to hijack and make it about diamonds or colored gemstones but a extremely fine sapphire or diamond from Tiffany is no different than the same quality diamond or sapphire elsewhere, the only difference is you pay a brand premium (for a perceived peace of mind). Other than Mikimoto, I doubt most of these High-street jewelers have their own pearl farms.
 
I have a mikimoto set of earrings, necklace, and recently bought a hanadama pearl earring from pearl paradise.
Sure, the hanadama earrings are a lot bigger than the smaller pearls, but I noticed quite a number of things.

1. the pearls from mikimoto, although pinked - can vary in terms of colour between each pearl in a strand slightly - especially the ?orient. i.e. when you look at the pearl, the ring around it can vary from quite pink to greenish. but the body is quite a constant light pink.
i received a hanadama pearl initially (pinked) - the body was quite a dark peach-pink and orient was a dark pink. i returned this (as there was a scratch on one of the pearls), and asked for something a bit lighter pink - and now the body is a very very light pink almost white/silverish, and orient is pink-green.
Therefore -- when buying online - it is quite hard to describe what exact colour pearl you want, and you might get big variations but i do think mikimoto pearls look like they are pretty similar in their colours.

2. The lustre of my mikimoto strand and earrings are higher than the hanadama. You'd see your reflection, light reflection off the pearl much sharper in the mikimoto. My mikimoto was a special set i bought in hong kong - and I understand its not even AAA quality - probably A-AA.

3. The hanadama surface doesn't look smooth like the mikimotos - when I enquired at pearl paradise - they said its the fingerprinting on a pearl and it is natural? strange how none of the mikimoto pearls have even a hint of this though!

Would be interested to see what other people think. Sure the hanadama is a lot cheaper - but with the colour and lustre of the mikimotos - I think you do get a better pearl. So I guess it depends if you want to fork out the extra cash?

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I'm just going to rotate that first image and see what it looks like first.
 

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Okay, the variation you are describing in #1 is the difference in overtones between pearls. This is normal.

I'm not seeing the differences in luster or surface that you are describing, from your photos.
JMO but I like the color of the hanadamas better-- are these the natural white?
 
There is definite difference in lustre - i wouldn't say its a huge amount but visible to eye. It's confusing the way pearls are graded between companies because you would think the hanadamas are better than A/AA Mikimotos?

Nope its the white hanadama, pinked.

Colour wise - Yes, I know there are different overtones - but the first pair of white hanadamas I received, the body of the pearl was very very peach/pink and I just noticed that the mikimoto pearls just had more similar colours - so just highlighting that it might be difficult to buy online.

Okay, the variation you are describing in #1 is the difference in overtones between pearls. This is normal.

I'm not seeing the differences in luster or surface that you are describing, from your photos.
JMO but I like the color of the hanadamas better-- are these the natural white?
 
For what it's worth, here's a couple of photos of my PP natural white Hanadama rope, and my two pair of AA Mikimoto earrings. I liked the earrings so much, I bought them in both white gold and yellow gold. The white gold pair have very silver overtones, while the yellow told pair have very rosy overtones.

The photos make all the pearls look much pinker than they are in real life. They are quite white, except for the yellow gold earrings. All the pearls have a lot of pink and green orient to them.

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The quality is soooo close, it's hard to call. The Miki's might be a hair smoother, but they are also smaller. Plus I'm not sure if it's fair to compare earrings to strands, as earrings are generally much better quality. My mother has a double strand of AA quality Mikis, and I like my Hanadamas better.

P.S. I love how each pearl looks like it is wearing a necklace of pearls, because of the reflections of the other pearls in each pearl.
 
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Your natural whites are gorgeous and those earrings are darling!
 
I don't own Hanadamas but I can show you a comparison between two different qualities of Mikimotos that belong to my mom. The smaller strand is Blue Lagoon, and 6.5-7mm and is probably about 30 years old. The larger one, I believe, is 8.5-9mm and I'm not sure of the quality rating without looking at the paperwork but they do have the Miki box, paperwork, and dangle with white gold ribbon clasp. Her pearls are about 14 years old and mom doubles or knots them a lot so there are some scratches but when they were purchased, they were perfect to the naked eye.

I'm hoping you can see how much smoother the 8.5-9mm pearls are in spite of being larger. Unfortunately, my camera is focusing on the tablecloth instead of the pearls, so it is hard to see (any tutorials on how to take better pearl pictures?). I cropped a full photo of the pearls in hopes of showing the differences up close but the photo is being compressed a bit. The difference in smoothness isn't really visible unless you are really up close or the pearls are magnified, but the slight difference in luster and sheen is noticeable in person. Her pearls, when worn, look like they glow.

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Closeup
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and even closer
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Closeup of the larger strand at the clasp
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Side by side
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Hanadamas are supposed to be equivalent to Mikimotos, but only you can be the judge of that. Maybe you can go to a store that sells Mikimoto and compare the strands side by side and look through a loupe. I'm sure the salespeople would be interested to see if there are any differences too. You cannot go wrong with Mikimoto and if there is ever a time you want to resale, the name will sell itself. Basically, get what makes you (and your wife) smile. :)
 
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I'll agree that you can never go wrong with Miki's. But you can get an excellent deal with some of the online vendors with quality that is equal for less money. Each strand is unique, and needs to be judged on its own. I have a strand of Mikimoto Exquisite, which is probably Blue Lagoon quality, from my late aunt, and my Hanadamas are much nicer.
 
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