Interestingly, the Japanese Tokichi Nishikawa and Tasuhei Mise both independently developed a method of creating pearls, before Kokichi Mikimoto; inserting a tiny slice of a mollusk into another mollusk's body, causing a pearl to develop. However, the Nishikawa-Mise discovery was limited to producing mabe pearls, which are hemispherical, or half-round, being flat on the back, and were being used in earrings. Mikimoto knew of the Nishikawa-Mise discovery, but couldn't use the same method if he was to create his own patent and method. So, he decided to use the method with a slight twist, creating round pearls. As a result, Kokichi Mikimoto was successful enough to buy the rights to the Mise-Niskikawa method and become known for developing the cultured pearl.
(As a matter of note, there is a claim that Nishikawa and Mise's step-father witnessed pearl cultivation at Thursday Island, Australia. The operation was run by William Saville-Kent, a British expatriate living in Australia. Hence the coincidental, "simultaneous yet independent" discovery of Nishikawa and Mise when they returned to Japan - but, not all believe this version of history.)