Mikimoto establishes first GIA pearl program scholarship

Cultured-pearl pioneer Mikimoto (America) Co., Ltd. Has donated $120,000 to establish the Mikimoto Pearls Course Scholarship at the Gemological Institute of America—a first at GIA. In recognition of the gift, Mitsuhiro Mitsui, president of Mikimoto (America) will be inducted into the League of Honor at GIA’s annual dinner on Sept. 19 in New York.

The program will provide 10 scholarships to Distance Education students each year, beginning in 2006.

The Pearls course covers GIA’s “7 Pearl Value Factors” (size, shape, color, luster, surface quality, nacre quality, and matching) along with other key topics—all of which help set industry guidelines.

GIA and Mikimoto have a history of working together to resolve industry issues. During the 1990s, researchers from both organizations studied unusually large (10+ mm), near-spherical, freshwater cultured pearls from China that were causing many to question their nucleation process. The joint investigation concluded, however, that they had been created through traditional tissue nucleation.

Mikimoto previously gave GIA $500,000 to help build the Institute’s world headquarters in Carlsbad. The Mikimoto Rotunda was named in its honor.

For more information on the Mikimoto Pearls Course Scholarship, go to www.gia.edu. The application process runs from June 15 to Oct. 15 for the 2006 school year.