By Ase Anderson in London
Hello Kitty lovers all over the world will rejoice at the news that Japanese pearl jeweller Mikimoto has teamed up with the pop culture icon to produce a collection that is at once both elegant and playful.
The launch of the Mikimoto x Hello Kitty collection coincides with the popular Sanrio character's 40th birthday next year. The 20-piece collection, which includes necklaces, earrings and bracelets, will be unveiled at Parisian boutique Colette on 24 January 2014. Later that month, it will go on sale in Mikimoto's main Ginza store, followed by other Japanese stores and a gradual global rollout.
Among the standout pieces are a layered pearl necklace featuring Hello Kitty's face traced in diamonds, rubies and onyx pearls, as well as a silver bangle with an Akoya cultured pearl nestled in the outline of the cat's iconic bow.
The Mikimoto name has been synonymous with cultured pearls for more than 120 years. Founded by Kokichi Mikimoto, who, in 1893, became the first person in the world to successfully culture a semi-spherical pearl, today the company has stores not only in its native Japan but also in New York, Paris and London. By fusion traditional Japanese craftsmanship with cutting-edge design, Mikimoto has created a distinctive style for itself and cemented the company's reputation as one of the world's leading fine jewellers.