Friday, September 15, 2006

Niihau Island Shell Jewelry :: Uniquely Hawaiian

Yesterday, I met several members of the Maui Visitors Bureau at a luncheon they were hosting for travel media at Oro in Toronto.(Photo ::

Our hosts, including Shelley of the Ka'anapali Beach Resort demonstrated the laid back, natural and relaxed attributes of their home islands -- Maui, Lana'i and Moloka'i -- part of the Hawaiian Islands.

Shelly was wearing one of the loveliest necklaces I have ever seen, and when I told her so, she explained to me how special it is. Made by craftsmen on the privately-owned Forbidden Island of Niihau, this jewelry is made of tiny shells unique to that island's waters, and is sold in island jewelry stores and those in Honolulu.

The more shells making up the necklace, the more costly, she said, being quick to point out that the necklace was not hers, but on loan only. Another of our hosts told me that each necklace comes with a certificate of authenticity for insurance purposes.

I found some photos of this tiny-shell jewelry online at Niihau Island, so pop over and have a look. Scroll down to the 36-inch lei, which is similar to the necklaces I saw yesterday. (Click on an image for a close up).

I had first read about Forbidden Island in The Happy Isles of Oceania, by Paul Theroux (see Books), which coincidentally I am currently re-reading. After meeting with the Visit Maui reps yesterday, I will plan to stop in for a visit on my next trip to Australia.