Mikimoto the Business Man
Kokichi Mikimoto, as a business man, received a patent on his work in the 1890s. This allowed him to continue his work tirelessly to create new and improved culturing methods. Mikimoto was recognized by his native Japan with numerous awards for his extraordinary work in the pearl industry.
Mikimoto had competitors in his pearl cultivating endeavor. Tokichi Nishikawa and carpenter Tatsuhei Mise had each discovered their own way of cultivating pearls. Nishikawa and Mise blended their efforts in an agreement and a patent in hopes of having the cultured pearl industry all to themselves. But Mikimoto was relentless in his quest for his perfect the large production of cultured pearls. Through keen business sense, and something of a technicality, Mikimoto was able to patent the development of any “round” pearl. Afterwards, his business grew exponentially, eventually to the extent where he was able to buy out the Nishikawa/Mise patent, therefore establishing himself as the juggernaut of the cultured pearl industry.
When Kokichi Mikimoto had patented and protected his methods, he was ever vigilant in trying to get recognition from the Pearl Jewelry world. He wanted his cultured pearls to be accepted as pearls by governments and various jewelers associations. Mikimoto pearls were found at every international exposition of those days, and eventually this led to an explosion in the pearl industry, and the affordable availability of pearls to almost anyone.