How to find Hawaiian jewelry and what exactly it is, are questions often asked. You know what your price range is, so in this article I’ll offer some choices, and explanations about Hawaiian style personal jewelry.
Hawaiian jewelry runs the gamut from beautiful natural necklaces to island style gold and silver.
Get “Hooked” on Hawaiian Hooks.
The Hawaiian word for hook is makau (muhcow …that’s pretty close). Thehook as pictured here has become symbolic of Hawaiiana, and Polynesia in general, And rightfully so. fishing was, and still is, a very important part of Hawaiian culture. Hooks were made from natural materials; shell bone, wood, even stone. The cords from natural fibers; olana , hau, very strong fibers. Today even glass and plastic are used; glass can be a very attractive jewelry material, plastic … not so much
The hook is embedded deeply in the Hawaiian culture. The creation story of Maui uses demigod Maui’s giant hook as the focus for dragging up the bottom of the ocean to form the Hawaiian Islands chain.
Go “nuts” for Kukui
You’ll find these nut leis in a variety of treatments, all the way from ground and polished, to completely natural. Below is an example of a lei with several different styles of the nut. The shells are called Opihi (oh pee hee) and the little seeds are from the Koa tree
The Kukui nut comes from the Kukui tree (duh!), a native tree of Polynesia (and also the Official Hawaii State Tree). The tree was actually brought to the Hawaiian Islands by the early Polynesian voyages from the south. So jewelry made from the nut is very much steeped in Hawaiian history.
Go natural on your Hawaii Vacation
Natural jewelry, especially leis, is not a gender thing in Hawaii. The lei to the left is mine, and I wore it to work every day as a tour guide/bus driver.
Kamani, wiliwili, and goat’s eye are common materials for leis. Of these, the red seeds from the wiliwili (weelee weelee) are probably the most impressive. When your in Hawaii, and in a quality gift shop, ask about a wilwili lei. Also, standby for sticker shock.
Special Mention: Ni`ihau Shell Lei
Speaking of sticker shock, the Ni`ihau shell lei is another pricey item, but well worth the money. Why so expensive? Mostly due to shortage of the pinkish shells and the meticulous care taken to create
the lei. That, and because they are only made one place in the world … the Island of Ni`ihau in the Hawaiian chain. The pictue on the right shows a choker and a 3 strand lei. Beware of fake knockoffs, insist on proof of authenticity.
Go for the Gold …or Silver … Heirloom Jewelry
A bit of history here, in order for you to get a better appreciation of these beautiful items.
It’s generally believed that Hawaii’s love for gold jewelry is related to the strong ties Hawaii’s royalty had with the British Empire up though the late 1800s. In February 1862, Prince Albert, consort and husband to England’s Queen Victoria, died. During the queen’s time of grief, only mourning clothes and black-accented jewelry were acceptable apparel at the royal court. In honor of this tradition a 23-year-old Hawaiian princess, sister to the reigning king of Hawaii, David Kalakaua, began wearing gold jewelry with black accents. This same princess later succeeded her brother, and was titled Queen Liliuokalani. Sadly, she was Hawaii’s last reigning queen and monarch.
As you can see from the picture above, custom made heirloom jewelry can be custom carved with just about anything desired. If you want to remain historical, the Hawaiian words Hoomanao Mau (lasting remembrance) or Aloha Oe (farewell to thee) have remained popular as a tribute.
Fun Facts About Hawaii: The capitol of the State of Hawaii is Honolulu on the Island of O`ahu
Honolulu= Hono looloo
O`ahu= Oh ah hoo
[warning]More great posts about Hawaii coming soon![/warning]
P.S. Keep those Comments Coming, Cousins!