In the early 1990s, Dr. M. Morikawa of Mitsubishi Materials Corporation (MMC) in Japan led a team of scientists who developed and patented a material known today as Precious Metal Clay (PMC). In Japan, pottery is an art form with deep cultural significance stretching back for over a thousand years. Dr. Morikawa wanted to join jewelry making to ceramics. He reasoned that if he could transform precious metals into a material that could be shaped and finished like clay, he could touch a resonance that would interest many Japanese artists.
By 1994, PMC was in production in Japan and being marketed there. Mitsubishi felt that the product was ready for export. With the help of Darnall Burks, an engineer and protégé of the company, contacted two well-known American jewelers, Ronald Pearson and Tim McCreight, Together these three men conceived and organized an opportunity for fifteen leaders in the crafts to experiment with PMC so they could assess its value. Their research and development was instrumental in introducing PMC to the United States.