By  on April 1, 2013

They called him the king of pearls.

Mikimoto Kokichi, the son of a noodle-shop owner, seemed unlikely to play a role in transforming the jewelry business — or influencing fashion, for that matter. From a working-class family, Kokichi dropped out of school in Toba, Japan as a teenager, and began selling vegetables in order to support his family. While working, he became fascinated with pearls as he watched pearl divers from a nearby port bringing in their daily trove.

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