Saturday, 15 June 2013

Sepia Saturday 181; the bling we love;

This is one of my mothers old jewellery boxes. It is made of velvet but the top of painted silk is deteriorating rapidly.  I have chosen three of her everyday pieces she wore. I wear the ring with the ruby. A small brooch of 24 carat gold, it is very soft and has a diamond in it. I like the simple gold brooch with a row of garnets. My sister and my eldest daughter have necklaces, bracelets and rings. I have also her wedding ring which is double with the added ring of my father when he died. It was the custom to add the husbands ring. All these pieces are very old. 

Double string of Mikimoto pearls; they have never changed their lustre, but had to be restrung from time to  time.

Mikimoto had received a patent in 1896 for producing hemispherical pearls, or mabes, and a 1908 patent for culturing in mantle tissue, but he could not use the Mise-Nishikawa method without invalidating his own patents. Mikimoto then altered his patent application to cover a technique to make round pearls in mantle tissue, which was granted in 1916. However, this method was not commercially viable. Mikimoto finally made arrangements to use Nishikawa's methods after 1916, and Mikimoto's business began to expand rapidly.

The new technology enabled Japan's cultured pearl industry to quickly expand after 1916; by 1935 there were 350 pearl farms in Japan producing 10 million cultured pearls annually.
By 1935 the Japanese pearl industry was facing oversupply issues and plummeting prices for Japanese cultured pearls. Mikimoto promoted Japanese pearls in Europe and the USA to counteract falling prices. He publicly burnt tons of low-quality pearls as a publicity stunt to establish a reputation that the Mikimoto company only sold high-quality cultured pearls.

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  1. Lovely that you have the jewellery and know the stories of the individual pieces.

  2. Your mother's box must have beautiful and has obviously been treasured.

  3. I had never heard the Mikimoto story - that is interesting. And the tradition of adding the husband's wedding ring is new to me too. Love the bar pin especially.

  4. An old but treasured box, treasured even mor with the old jewellery it contains.

  5. How wonderful, it's always nice to have such precious things, but the stories behind them make them all that much more powerful to behold. A very nice collection, thank you.

  6. I especially like the ring. The pearls remind me of my mother's, which need to be restrung.

  7. I have some pearls that I got when I was young, and they have never been restrung. I never wore them much because they always seemed like an awkward length--either too short or too long. It seems like pearls are popular again, so I probably should have them restrung.

    1. Postcardy, they are getting rarer too, because of the pollution of the sea, lakes etc. Japan used to grow all the fresh water pearls, which are an excellent quality because they are all nacre, the good quality. Japans water's are polluted so China is the supplier now. It is big enough to have still enough clean lakes and streams to grow the fresh water pearls.Freshwater pearls grow in mussels, many at once, while the Mikimoto are grown in oysters, and there is usually just one perhaps if you are lucky two. It would be a good idea to have them restrung and wear them, Pearls want to be worn!

  8. I have a small velvet-covered box with a photograph mounted on glass on the top, which I'm guessing dates from the late 1800s. Judging by the smell, it must have been used as a cigarette case, I think.

  9. Real treasures here, and I enjoyed the story behind the pearls. I don't possess anything like those - but I'd like to!

  10. I too have Mikimoto pearls, mine and my mothers. I have never worn them, not being a person who likes jewelry. Poor things have sat in their box since I was a child and probably never will be worn.

  11. Interesting post and a nice piece of history about Mikimoto.