Pearlescent History: Praise To The Sea by Mikimoto

Japanese luxury jewellery brand Mikimoto has chosen to honour the 130-year anniversary of the invention of the cultured pearl in a new high jewellery collection that celebrates the pearl's birthplace – the Kingdom of Poseidon. Full of colours, shapes, and oceanic inspirations, this collection is a deep dive into a sea of creativity.

Called ‘Praise To The Sea’, it is a homage to the origins and roots of the brand. Founded in 1893 by Kokichi Mikimoto, a Japanese entrepreneur and the creator of the first-ever cultured pearl, the Mikimoto brand grew from a simple door-to-door sales business to becoming Japan's unofficial global representative jeweller. Right now, it has boutiques across the globe, and it is the Parisian flagship on the legendary Place Vendôme that I visited to discover the novelties.

Fauna and Flora-Inspired High Jewellery Creations

Each of the 50 one-of-a-kind pieces celebrates one of Mother Nature’s greatest gifts – the sea, which is also the entire raison d’être of the Mikimoto empire. Known as a traditional pearl jewellery brand, in this collection, Mikimoto shines a light not only on cultured (and some natural!) pearls but also on its talented in-house gemmological team. As a result, we can marvel at some realistic works of art, imitating the fauna and flora from beneath the sea’s surface, many of which feature rare and spectacular coloured gemstones. It is fair to say that this time Mikimoto's designers used more coloured gemstones than they ever have before! To illustrate this, I would like to draw your attention to the hero suite of the collection named The Blue Whale.

The Blue Whale Suite

This unique set is comprised of a necklace and drop earrings that dramatically portray the graceful movement of a mother and child blue whale swimming in unison just below the water’s surface. Tourmalines, sapphires, aquamarines, and garnets are set within swirls of diamond and white gold whirlpools, mimicking the movement of the water as the two mammals swim, churning up the sea. The focal point is a 41.54-carat green tourmaline nestled at the heart of the high jewellery necklace design. Mikimoto’s Creative Director, Mr Yu Suzuki, uses this gemstone to highlight the hue of the ocean and the brilliant dynamism of the whales.

School of Fish High Jewellery Suite

The high jewellery collar necklace in the School of Fish suite is certainly another star of the ‘Praise To The Sea’ collection. Taking hundreds of hours to create, this piece was designed to bring to life a school of fish swimming elegantly in the deep. Akoya pearls are woven together along with 11 different coloured gemstones to create the wave-like shape that schools of fish make with the movements of their bodies. This high jewellery collar is almost reminiscent of pieces worn by women in Victorian times.

Mr. Mikimoto’s most famous saying was, “My lifelong dream is to adorn the necks of all women around the world with pearls”. The magnificence of this architectural piece is unmatched and honours his commitment to this gem. Mirroring the motif of the necklace, the matching earrings feature blue to green-coloured gemstones bringing to life a school of fish varying in colour clustered together as they swim in a circle.

The Sea Urchin Suite

The Sea Urchin parure uses coloured gemstones to create the literal shape, shades, and tones of the mysterious sea urchin. The ring and necklace each feature a bejewelled structure designed to replicate the true shape of this deadly yet beautiful creature. At the heart of the ring lies a 1.28-carat alexandrite - a rare gem famed for its mysterious change in colour from deep purple or crimson to green, depending on the light conditions.

Spikes radiate from the centre stone embellished with tourmalines, blue and purple sapphires, emeralds, and diamonds set against black rhodium-finished platinum to mimic this creature's unique body form. Similarly, the high jewellery pearl necklace’s main design element is a representation of the sea urchin’s form, however, in much lighter and softer tones. A 14.05-carat water opal at the heart of the necklace is surrounded by garnets, warm-toned sapphires, diamonds, and white South Sea mother of pearl set in white gold. This piece is a versatile jewel, as the central design can be removed from the tri-Akoya pearl strand necklace and worn separately as a brooch.

Coral High Jewellery Necklace

The Coral necklace is the first sea flora-inspired piece jewellery admirers are introduced to in this collection. This lavish necklace recreates the tubular shapes and soft pink hues of a stretch of sea coral beneath the shallow surface of seawater through a selection of coloured gemstones in varying stone cuts. What catches the eye most prominently are the two pink morganites, weighing 15.49-carat and 16.47-carat; however, there are also topaz, garnets, sapphires, and diamonds that are set in loose circular forms to create the spiral effect of the coral’s natural structure.

Mikimoto Coral high jewellery necklace in white gold, morganite, topaz, garnet, sapphire and diamond from the Praise to the Sea collection

Mr Yu Suzuki uses marquise-shaped stones within an accentuated claw setting to bring forth the illusion of a school of fish swimming within the coral reef. Their shimmering scales sparkle under the sunlit waves lapping toward the shore. The uniform colour of the matching white gold and diamond cuff in this suite brings a cooler feel to the coral shape displayed in its design. Together, the two pieces represent the various environments this marine plant can be found in.

Mikimoto Coral high jewellery bracelet in white gold and diamond from the Praise to the Sea collection

The Sea Anemone Single Earrings

Last but certainly not least, the Mikimoto design team bring to life the true-to-form shape of a sea anemone, a terrestrial flowering plant found at the bottom of deep waters. They are often used by schools of fish as hiding places from larger predators. The organic shape of the anemone’s tubular body is constructed in white gold, which was carved to create the realistic disk ends of each species of the anemone. This piece bursts with rainbow hues, as it is set with multicoloured sapphires, garnets, spinels and diamonds. The more striking feature of the piece, however, is a 14.04-carat cabochon tear-drop-shaped tanzanite hanging in the centre. The graphic design and vibrant colour of this unique piece conjure up a striking visual effect on anyone who wears it.

Mikimoto Sea Anemone high jewellery earring in white gold, tanzanite, sapphire, garnet, spinel and diamond from the Praise to the Sea collection

As you can see, the ‘Praise To The Sea’ high jewellery collection is resplendent with pieces that we can describe in so many words like imaginative, elaborate, intricate… and you can even call them trendy. It will first be available for purchase in Japan on October 7, 2023, so let’s hope that the acquisition of these designs goes swimmingly!

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