BEVERLY HILLS — While finally being able to inaugurate the newest U.S. flagship ranked high in the festivities Thursday night, for Toyohiko Mikimoto, president of K. Mikimoto & Co., the Japanese parent of the global pearl house, another highlight was stringing a $45,000 necklace of white South Sea pearls and multicolored sapphires around the neck of starlet Charlize Theron.

“It has been a very good night,” he said later, looking pleased with the close to 400 in attendance, including his guest, Marla Maples. Held in a ballroom at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel, upstairs from Mikimoto’s new architectural gem, the event celebrated the store opening and honored 12 supporters of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.

The new 1,800-square-foot flagship, located just steps from the former space at twice the size, was undergoing last-minute construction around the clock in the final week, but opened Thursday just in time for the party. Robert Artelt, senior vice president of retail and marketing for Mikimoto (America) Co. Ltd., the U.S. subsidiary of K. Mikimoto & Co. Ltd., declined to give sales figures for its first day in business, but said at the event: “We already had some great sales today.”

Theron turned out to present the Ariel’s Heart, a brooch created by Mikimoto design director Amy Kim-Araneo, to recognize the foundation’s honorees. Named after Ariel Glaser, who died of AIDS in 1988 at the age of 7, the heart-shaped pin contains a Mikimoto cultured pearl.

A Cirque du Soleil-style fashion presentation followed, complete with a contortionist, to showcase bold pieces from the house’s newest collections.

“We’re making more jewelry with a contemporary design, and it’s the younger people who are wearing it,” added Mikimoto.

The firm has been moving beyond the pearl with updated jewelry that includes black diamonds and semiprecious stones.

Fingering her sizable $30,000 copper-colored Tahitian pearls, actress Scarlett Johansson — in a black Prada number she called her mullet dress because of its high “business” neckline in the front and plunging “party” back — said she could really be persuaded into becoming a pearl girl.

“Oh yeah, I like them big,” she joked. “I think they’re going to have to go into my bag and home with me.”

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