The En­dur­ing Legacy

Hawai­ian Heir­loom Jew­elry

Waikiki Magazine - - ISHOP -

The time­less beauty of Hawai­ian heir­loom jew­elry is en­hanced by a rich tra­di­tion that con­nects the wearer to Queen Lili‘uokalani, the Hawai­ian monar­chy and its close ties with Eng­land.

In 1862, news of the death of Prince Al­bert, Queen Vic­to­ria’s hus­band, reached Hawai‘i. Soon af­ter, mourn­ing jew­elry, which was gain­ing pop­u­lar­ity in Eng­land quickly caught on in the is­lands. High Chiefess Lili‘u Ka­maka‘eha (who later be­came Queen Lili‘uokalani) or­dered a gold bracelet in the style of tra­di­tional Vic­to­rian black-enam­eled mourn­ing jew­elry with the Hawai­ian phrase “Ho‘omana‘o Mau” (Last­ing Re­mem­brance) and fea­tured de­signs that in­cluded feather capes to rep­re­sent Hawai­ian roy­alty. These com­bined styles crafted in gold with en­grav­ing and enamel in Old English script form the ba­sis for today’s Hawai­ian heir­loom jew­elry.

Con­tem­po­rary jewel­ers have em­braced the style adored by the Queen but have also made strides in mod­ern­iz­ing Hawai­ian jew­elry. The English in­flu­ence re­mains but is sub­tle and now bears de­signs that re­flect the Hawai­ian cul­ture.

Pop­u­lar jewel­ers found around Waikiki in­clude Na Hoku, Maui Divers Jew­elry, Makani Hawaii, LeiLei Hawai­ian Jew­elry, Koa Nani Lux­ury Hawai­ian Jew­elry, Olivia Hawai­ian Heir­loom Jew­elry, Sil­ver Rhino and Laki Hawai­ian De­sign. At Waikiki-based jeweler Sa­cred Jewels of Mu, each piece be­gins with draw­ings, which are mod­eled into a three-di­men­sional pro­gram for fur­ther re­fine­ment. A wax model is then crafted be­fore casts of gold or sil­ver are made. In keep­ing with the jew­elry en­grav­ing tra­di­tions from the Vic­to­rian era, master ar­ti­sans hand-fin­ish the en­grav­ing on each piece.

Hawai­ian Heir­loom Jew­elry has come a long way. What started as a re­flec­tion of one woman’s sen­ti­ment has evolved into a last­ing sym­bol of Hawai‘i’s monar­chy and a way for us to com­mem­o­rate sig­nif­i­cant mile­stones in our lives.

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