PEARL CON­NEC­TION

“The pop­u­lar­ity of the pearl shows no sign of slow­ing down,” Miki­moto’s Sir Hashimoto tells Villa 88 at the brand’s re­cent Dubai Mall store open­ing

Villa 88 - - Contents -

Miki­moto’s Sir Hashimoto on the pearl’s pop­u­lar­ity and the brand’s Dubai store open­ing

MIKI­MOTO IS CER­TAINLY NO STRANGER to the UAE. Hav­ing orig­i­nally en­tered the re­gion in the mid-1960s be­fore part­ner­ing with Da­mas 18 years ago, the lux­ury jew­elry brand re­cently cel­e­brated the open­ing of its im­pres­sive flag­ship store in The Dubai Mall’s Fash­ion Av­enue with its long-term UAE part­ner.

“When Da­mas of­fered the store op­por­tu­nity to us, we were very ex­cited to ac­cept,” says Sir Hashimoto, Direc­tor and Ex­ec­u­tive Vice-Pres­i­dent of Miki­moto’s Sales Di­vi­sion, on his re­cent trip here for the Dubai open­ing. “Miki­moto bought into the vi­sion and po­ten­tial of the re­gion at an early date, and now our clients here will be able to visit a Miki­moto store in Dubai with the same de­sign con­cept as our new main store in Tokyo.”

One clear clue as to the re­gional pop­u­lar­ity of the brand is the pearl. While the Gulf seas have fa­mously pro­duced many of the world’s most stun­ning nat­u­ral pearls since at least the 3rd cen­tury BC, it was the brand’s founder, Ko­kichi Miki­moto, who suc­cess­fully cre­ated the first cul­tured pearls in 1893, declar­ing that his ul­ti­mate dream was “to adorn ev­ery wo­man in the world with pearls.”

His wish came true: in hardly any time, jew­elry and fash­ion were flooded with these beau­ti­ful gems, highly prized by women across the globe due to their new­found ac­ces­si­bil­ity and friendly price point. Many 20th­cen­tury style icons, in­clud­ing Grace Kelly and Jackie Kennedy, were rarely seen with­out their lus­trous baubles, and Coco Chanel once fa­mously an­nounced: “A wo­man needs ropes and ropes of pearls.”

This year, Miki­moto is cel­e­brat­ing its 125th an­niver­sary, and its pop­u­lar­ity shows no signs of wan­ing amongst its Mid­dle Eastern clien­tele.

“Their love of pearls is very strong,” notes Sir Hashimoto, with be­spoke bridal sets con­tain­ing this queen of gems top­ping the list. “The pearl is still an es­sen­tial part of the wed­ding cel­e­bra­tion. We have made some pieces for im­por­tant fam­i­lies in the re­gion as wed­ding sets, part of the de­sire to own jew­elry that is unique in de­sign and uses the most ex­clu­sive ma­te­ri­als in their cre­ation.”

De­spite col­lec­tions see­ing Miki­moto also em­brac­ing the use of both di­a­monds and ex­cep­tional col­ored gem­stones – think rare, 54-carat aqua­marines and elec­tric Paraiba tour­ma­lines nes­tled amongst emer­alds, sap­phires and tan­zan­ites – Sir Hashimoto em­pha­sizes the brand’s loy­alty to the pearl. “We have al­ways strived to in­clude the full spec­trum of col­ored stones as well as di­a­monds,” he smiles, “but only be­cause pearls are flat­tered by all pre­cious stones.”

Ko­kichi Miki­moto’s orig­i­nal pearl dream re­mains firmly at the heart of the com­pany’s vi­sion to­day, with Sir Hashimoto re­veal­ing plans to ex­pand their high jew­elry col­lec­tions while closely lis­ten­ing to their clients’ needs. “We’re al­ways search­ing for a new point of view while stay­ing faith­ful to our core strengths,” he elab­o­rates. “Miki­moto is the top provider of pearls among our lux­ury jew­elry brand peers and I want to heighten our im­age as a brand that de­vel­ops dis­tinc­tive prod­ucts.”

The Mid­dle East is one re­gion that Sir Hashimoto is ex­pect­ing to in­evitably keep Miki­moto on its toes. “The taste of the VVIP client here has be­come more and more so­phis­ti­cated,” he ob­serves. “As a brand, we must strive to de­sign pieces that are del­i­cate and fem­i­nine, and use the most un­usual and rare gem­stones.”

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5 4 1 Les Pé­tales Place Vendôme ring. 2 Praise To Na­ture col­lar. 3 Praise to Na­ture ear­rings. 4 Yagu­ruma bracelet. 5 Yagu­ruma ear­rings. 6 Praise to Na­ture ring. 7 Yagu­ruma neck­lace. 6 7 3

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