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17.03.2016
The ambitious project that made use of over 200,000 cultured pearls, was part of an advertising campaign by Imperial Pearl Syndicate, to popularize the use of Japanese cultured pearls in the United States, similar to the creation of the size 14, sleeveless, floor-length, female dress, embroidered with 80,000 cultured pearls in the 1940s, also to achieve the same objective, but subsequently donated by the company to the United Service Organization (USO); and the creation in 1952 of a second pearl-encrusted gown carrying 10,000 cultured pearls, also for popularization of the use of cultured pearls, but later donated to the Damon Runyon Memorial Fund for Cancer Research. The luster of the pearls are characteristic of akoya pearls, that are renowned for their luster.
The history of the Imperial Pearl Capitol is closely associated with the history of the US based pearl company, Imperial Pearl Syndicate, which was founded in 1932, by Joseph Goldstone and his brother David Goldstone, who established their first store in Chicago. Imperial Pearl Syndicate's contribution in re-organizing the Japanese cultured pearl industry after World War II. The company also made a significant contribution to the pearl farming industry, by developing a special anesthetic solution in the early 1950s, that anesthetized oysters, enabling the painless introduction of irritants into them by injection, that drastically reduced the mortality rate of the oysters after implantation. When cultured pearls were first developed by the Japanese in commercial quantities in the 1930s, there was initial worldwide consumer resistance to the new product, as the pearl markets of the world were hitherto accustomed only to the scarce natural pearls coming from producer countries of the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea and the Gulf of Mannar and the west coast of Australia. Mikimoto personally took part in several international exhibitions to promote cultured pearls.
In keeping with the strategy adopted by Mikimoto to popularize his cultured pearls, Joseph Goldstone too adopted an aggressive advertising campaign to popularize the cultured pearls marketed by his company.
The pearl-embroidered dress designed in 1952, was made up of 10,000 cultured pearls, and estimated to cost $100,000. The sale is entrusted to Sloans & Kenyon of Maryland, which fixes the auction for November 5 and 6, 2005. The United States Capitol Historical Society initiates negotiations with Imperial-Deltah Inc.
An agreement was signed on December 21, 2005, for the return of the Imperial Pearl Capitol to Imperial-Deltah Inc.
British troops set fire to the Capitol building in 1814, during the course of the war of 1812. Soon after the completion of both wings, the War of 1812 with Britain, broke out, and British troops set fire to the Capitol building on August 24, 1814. The materials used on the model are mother-of-pearl and cultured akoya pearls from Japan, and was commissioned in 1959, by the Imperial Pearl Syndicate, a renowned US-based company dealing in pearls, from their partners Oteki Pearl Farms Ltd. Luster of a pearl, which is a measure of the quality and quantity of light reflected from the surface, is a function of the thickness and quality of nacre deposited, which depends on how long the pearl was allowed to develop within the oyster. The company was a pioneer in the import and sale of cultured pearls in the United States, originating from Japan, and was the first to import and popularize the famous akoya pearls from Japan, that gave a big boost to the industry.
But undoubtedly, the greatest contribution of the company, particularly by Joseph Goldstone, was the assistance he rendered in 1947, at the request of the United States Government, in reorganizing the devastated cultured pearl industry of Japan, caused by the second world war.
Mikimoto himself led an aggressive campaign to popularize the pearls which he helped to create, taking part in international exhibitions, educating the public that cultured pearls were not artificial pearls, but pearls created by oysters, artificially induced to produce them. The first international exhibition in which he took part was the Philadelphia World Exposition held in 1926, where he displayed a replica of a five-storied pagoda, covered with cultured pearls.
In the 1940s he pioneered a unique marketing strategy that featured some of Hollywood's most popular actresses such as Elizabeth Taylor, Shirley Temple and Loretta Young in advertisements of the company, to promote his cultured pearls. The dress was exhibited in 20 cities across the United States, and at one of the displays the renowned TV and screen star Nina Foch appeared in public wearing the dress. Twenty two years later in 1988, the Imperial Pearl Capitol was appraised by Boone-Sons Inc.


The model was covered by a new case fashioned by the Society for security and display purposes, and was accompanied by documents and photographs, dating back to 1965, such as photographs of the Imperial Pearl Capitol with representatives of Imperial Pearl Syndicate, and the original invitation for the unveiling ceremony of February 1, 1966.
Jonathan Louttit led the negotiations on behalf of the Society, and the company which had now become the Imperial-Deltah Inc. The pearls range in size from 3 to 7 mm, which falls within the range in size of akoya pearls normally produced in Japan - viz. For akoya pearls the grow out period, also known as the husbandry period is between 2 to 3 years, that ensures a thick nacre, which imparts the maximum luster, iridescence and overtones. The company's involvement in the cultured pearl trade lead to the establishment of close working relationships with most of the companies in Japan, involved in the cultured pearl industry, the producers as well as the marketers.
Working under General Douglas McArthur, Joseph Goldstone helped to re-organize the cultured-pearl industry, and also set up quality standards, and got a yen-dollar equivalent, to enable Japanese pearl culturists to export profitably to the American market.
After a long drawn out campaign again vested interests, Mikimoto was able to refute the mistaken notion, that cultured pearls were only cheap imitations of the real natural pearls. Then in 1933, he took part in the Chicago World Fair, where he exhibited a model of George Washington's residence, covered with cultured pearls.
In 1940 and in 1952, Joseph Goldstone slightly modified Mikimoto's strategy, and instead of creating models of any renowned landmarks, designed two fabulous pearl encrusted dresses, which were later worn by celebrities, driving home the desired message more effectively. Like the 80,000-pearl dress created in 1940, after the successful promotion campaign, the 10,000-pearl dress was also donated for a humanitarian cause, the Damon Runyon Memorial Fund for Cancer Research.
2) To generate funds for the Society's educational mission, which was considered its first priority.
The design for the building was chosen following a competition, proposed by President George Washington and Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson. Reconstruction under Latrobe began again in 1815, who made changes to the buildings interior design, and introduced new materials such as marble. Walter's main task was to ensure that the extensions conformed to the existing style of the building, He also used marble for the exterior instead of sandstone, that deteriorated quickly.
At first the Japanese company embarked on an effort to collect matching pearls, of appropriate size, shape, color, luster, orient, and surface qualities, required to execute the project, an effort that took almost two years to complete. Under the Mikimoto system of classification there are four grades of luster - AAA (exceptional mirror-like reflection), AA (superb clear reflection), A+ (very good, clear reflection) and A (good clear reflection). The expertise gained by the company in the cultured pearl industry, helped them to pioneer the development of this industry in the United States. Mikimoto even went to the extent of burning tons of low-quality cultured pearls in 1932, to instill consumer confidence. The sleeveless, floor-length dress created in the early 1940s, was embroidered with 80,000 cultured pearls, and had a weight of 50 pounds (22.7 Kg). If each necklace was priced at approximately $150, the total value of all the necklaces would be $652,800. Latrobe resigned in 1817, and was succeeded by Charles Bulfinch, a Boston architect, who completed the restoration by 1819. Underground tunnels and a private underground railway, connect the main Capitol building with each of the Congressional office buildings in the surrounding complex. Eventually, after the project was completed, Oteki Pearl Farms handed over the model to Imperial Pearl Syndicate, which later presented it to the United States Capitol Historical Society.


Most of the pearls are round and near-round in shape, the consistent shape in which most akoya pearls are produced.
The stripes on the flag are alternating bands of rubies for red stripes, and white cultured-pearls for white stripes.
After the pearl-embroidered dress was successfully used in its promotional campaign, David Goldstone, the vice-president of Imperial Pearl Syndicate, gifted the unique dress to the United Service organization (USO), to help raise funds for its activities. Bulfinch was also responsible for re-designing the central section, that included the first dome. The old dome was dismantled in 1856, and work began on a new fireproof cast-iron dome, three times the height of the original dome, and 100 feet in diameter. Akoya pearls are generally white or cream colored, with overtone colors of rose, silver or cream. Even the surface quality of the pearls must be quite high, varying between slightly blemished to very slightly blemished to minimally blemished and blemish-free surfaces (under the naked eye). The largest pearls in the model are incorporated in the columns or pillars of the building in front.
Such aggressive advertising campaigns carried out personally by Mikimoto, eventually led to the acceptance of cultured pearls as authentic, by the general public, and particularly the consumers of the United States and Europe. Thornton's design was inspired by the east front of the Louvre, as well as the Roman Pantheon for the center portion of the design. However, the incorporation of 217,569 cultured akoya pearls, is unprecedented in the history of creation of such models. The actual construction of the building was entrusted to a trained French architect, Stephen Hallet, who was appointed as superintendent of construction, and who worked with Thornton to make certain revisions to the original plan.
However, construction resumed in 1862, under the orders of Abraham Lincoln, and the work on the dome and the extensions were finally completed in 1868, under Walter's assistant Edward Clark. The dress was subsequently dismantled into eighty packages of 1,000 pearls each, and sent to departmental stores in large cities, and sold at the rate of one dollar each, realizing a total of $80,000, for the benefit of the USO. Hallet was eventually dismissed by Jefferson in 1794 for making inappropriate design changes and was replaced by George Hadfield, who too was replaced in 1798 for the same reason, by James Hoban, the winner of the competition for President's House, under whose supervision the north wing (Senate wing) was completed, for the first session of Congress on November 17, 1800.
A second fire in 1898, showed the need for fireproofing of the building, and the reconstruction of the damaged wing and the fireproofing of the building was carried out under Clark's successor Elliot Woods. Construction again resumed in 1803, under the supervision of Benjamin Henry Latrobe, who completed the south wing (House wing) in 1811. Modifications carried out to the building in the 20th century, from 1959 to 1960, added 102 more rooms, by the east front extension.
Since then emphasis has been on strengthening, renovating and preserving the building, rather than any further extensions.



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