he story of Akoya pearl cultivation is a fascinating one, the result of the hard work and creativity of several important individuals. But the story of Akoya pearls is especially associated with the life of one man: Kokichi Mikimoto.

In the late 1800's, Kokichi Mikimoto, a son of humble beginnings, began to experiment with pearl cultivation. Convinced he could farm pearls, Mikimoto worked for years -- usually unsuccessfully -- trying to coax pearls from oysters. Then, in 1905, after 12 years of painstaking work and trial-and-error, he successfully produced his first totally round pearl.