Cover Yasuhiko Hashimoto. (Photo: Jensen Hoi/Tatler Hong Kong)

We meet Yasuhiko Hashimoto, director and executive vice president of Mikimoto, during his latest visit to the maison's Lee Garden store in Hong Kong

Despite international upheaval, it’s already been a busy year for Mikimoto.

The inventor of the cultured pearl, the jeweller has a reputation for excellence and tradition that extends well beyond Japan's borders.

We caught up with its director and executive vice president, Yasuhiko Hashimoto, during his second-ever visit to the maison’s recently-opened Causeway Bay flagship.

He introduced us to Mikimoto’s spectacular high jewellery collection, Jardin Mystérieux, and unveils the jeweller’s first-ever fragrance, Mikimoto Eau de Parfum.

If that weren’t enough, Mikimoto has since announced the first stage of a two-year collaboration with fashion designer Rei Kawakubo, the self-taught mastermind behind the avant-garde Japanese label Comme des Garçons.

Kawakubo has created a fine jewellery capsule collection using Mikimoto pearls. The unisex collection is now available in Comme des Garçons and Dover Street Market stores worldwide.

See also: An Insider Look at The Farms Where Luxurious Pearls are Born

Tell us about Jardin Mystérieux.
Jardin Mystérieux is a very special high jewellery collection that has taken almost two years to develop. Procuring pearls can be a daunting and difficult task and it goes without saying, of course, that Mikimoto only uses the most exceptional and highest quality pearls.

We also have to source certain types and colours that suit the cuts of stones that adorn our high jewellery creations. This is difficult and time-consuming. Each piece can take between eight months and a year to create.

What makes Mikimoto jewellery special?
A lot of brands nowadays choose to use technology when they make their high jewellery collections. At Mikimoto, our high jewellery is 100% handmade–I can personally guarantee it.

Why open Mikimoto’s Lee Gardens store?
The Lee Gardens flagship store in Causeway Bay is great for us because Hong Kong is a very important country for Mikimoto, as is China and Singapore. Hong Kong customers have a real eye for jewellery.

In what way?
They clearly understand and appreciate high quality craftsmanship. I try to visit the city every two or three months, in addition to Paris and New York where we also have a lot of business.

You mention Paris. How has this city influenced Mikimoto?
Jardin Mystérieux is inspired by the magical beauty of Paris’ secret gardens. Whenever we're in Paris for fashion week it's impossible not to be influenced by the flowers and wildlife that’s found in this city’s green spaces.

The collection’s very colourful.
Yes, more so than previous Mikimoto lines. This year we decided to use the gradation of coloured stones, which requires high levels of expertise and knowledge. This kind of thing takes a lot of time and skill. It was a real challenge for us, which is–in part–why we chose to do it.

What are you wearing?
I’m wearing black pearls today. I really believe that there will be an increased interest in men’s jewellery soon. When I go to fashion week in Paris and Italy, all the models wear bracelets, rings and earrings. In the near future, Mikimoto will offer more options for men.

See also: Lustrous Orbs: 12 Exquisite Pearl Jewellery Pieces For Your Wedding

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