Akoya is generic terminology for saltwater pearls produced by Akoya oysters, which is found in Japan. You will find Mikimoto brand labels on pearl auctions online. It can be misleading as several sellers from China have been identified for using this name even on non-branded pearls.
What is Mikimoto quality?
The pearls that are cultivated in strict patented ways at bays of Ise in Japan are the authentic mikimoto pearls. This is the only quality because the Ise coast had been purchased by Mikimoto, which has turned into a rich legacy brand name, since 1930`s.
Specially designed grading system by Mikimoto gemologists is used all around the world, which is different than GIA grading standards.
Highest quality AAA has four subgrades like AAA1 meaning negligible spotted surface. Higher the grade mirror like the reflection and lower grades defines good clear reflection. Many pearl collectors don’t need precise grading, when they choose Mikimoto brand. In general, people purchase grading certification for insurance purpose and not to resell.
The rating in quality is much higher than standard triple-A Akoya pearls as per the PPSL or Japan Pearl Science Lab, A Hanadama pearl jewelry includes JPSL verification or it is not referred as Hanadama.
How to distinguish real Mikimoto pearl?
Under a microscope, a unique line pattern becomes apparent. Every Mikimoto pearl has a distinguished roadmap, which experienced pearl jewelers recognize. So, even if the necklace is labelled, it guarantees settings and not pearls.
Some unscrupulous dealers use replacement claps in their non-Mikimoto Akoya pearl jewelry. Another way to identify is the slight pink rose tint, which cannot be seen in 95% of other akoya pearls. First time pearl shoppers can check this out.
More about fake clasps
Mikimoto clasps are sold in the black market. They are here for a reason and that is if original piece gets damaged, broken of stolen then it can be replaced. However, some unprincipled jewelers put a Mikimoto clasp on $15 Chinese pearl bracelet and sell it for $ 355 or more. Mikimoto pearls are the best, so it is necessary to get familiar with the difference.