“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
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.”
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