In 1893, the seeds of the modern cultured pearl industry were sewn with the development of mabe pearl culturing techniques in Mie prefecture’s Toba City. Toba City and the areas surrounding the coastal waters of Ago bay were previously successful for pearl diving, however these basic techniques inspired new discoveries that would transform into the beginnings of the modern Japanese cultured pearl industry.
In 1908, a Mie scientist named Tokichi Nishikawa developed and patented a technique to culture perfectly round pearls using the Japanese Akoya. Mie scientists and pearl farmers perfected their culturing techniques, leading to major breakthroughs such as: larger pearls, oyster cleaning and submersed culturing. These breakthroughs purveyed the global proliferation of the Japanese cultured pearl industry. The culturing techniques founded in Mie are still regarded as the foundation of the cultured pearl industry.
Over a century later, the world’s finest cultured akoya pearls are still produced in the Mie prefecture. Through the superior workmanship of the pearl farmers and scientists of this region, the Japanese pearl industry continues to thrive. Masato shares this history with American consumers.