My first set of pearls were from Mikimoto. During a returned from a trip from Jordan, I presumed my driver would put my cosmetic case it in the trunk. My pearls survived a trip to the Middle East which include a flash flood in Petra, the war in Iraq (which I did not attend but was close), the Dead Sea, and my stay with some of the elite families of Jordan who live within fenced in compounds since they are worried about being overthown or robbed), as you probably guessed, my darling pearls were gone! My quest for replacement pearls has lasted about 3 years.
You think shopping for diamonds is confusing, wait until you shop for a nice set of pearls. Several jewelry stores carry a low end brand by Mikimoto, but unless they have the clasp featured above, they are not rated and are not worth the investment.
Well, a little about pearls. This is from the Mikimoto Website:
There are five physical factors that determine the quality of pearls and that are important to understand when buying pearls:
Luster: Only the highest quality pearls with the best luster carry the MIKIMOTO name.
Surface Perfection: A pearl is considered more valuable when the surface imperfections are minimal.
Color: Color is based on preference, but it is always important to find a color that is rich and evenly distributed on the pearl.Shape: Perfectly round pearls are the rarest and most valuable.
Size: Generally, the size of the pearl affects the price.
Mikimoto pearls are rated on the scale above and once you see the AAA pearls, nothing else will really do. My old set was a AA with a slightly pink tint and I loved them. One more thing for my birthday!