When can a piece of jewelry be so elegant, refined, and exquisite – yet hold so much meaning to its bearer, such as to commemorate special events – and also be so unique to Hawaii, steeped in its traditions. These unique, hand crafted, special pieces of aloha are known as Hawaiian jewelry, or Hawaiian heirloom jewelry.
What is Hawaiian jewelry?
Hawaiian jewelry is worn widely by the local residents in Hawaii. It is perhaps best recognized as solid gold Hawaiian bracelets worn by women, which may have ornate, intricate design work, along with names, messages, or other words that are cut out in gothic styled, Old English writing and embossed with black enamel.
The sentiments behind the giving of Hawaiian jewelry are always special and unique, commemorating such special events like graduations, weddings, the births of children – or for giving that special gift that will stand as a treasured keepsake that can be enjoyed and passed on.
Nowadays, Hawaiian heirloom jewelry runs the full gamut of varieties of jewelry, including earrings, ankle bracelets, watches, rings, and pendants – in order to respond to current trends, Hawaiian jewelry can even be encrusted with diamonds, or “blinged”. Their common features are that they are custom-made by hand, each uniquely adorned with selected Hawaiian themes, such as maile leaves or flowers, and are often engraved with names or messages that are meaningful for the bearer. The price of Hawaiian jewelry depends on the karat of gold used, thickness and width of the gold; the price of gold; and the intricacy of the engraved design.
The origins of Hawaiian jewelry
Did you know that Hawaiian jewelry actually originated from an English fashion trend? It’s true. After a death in the British royal family in the 1860s, jewelry similar to that worn by royal family during their mourning accented in black and carved with floral or other designs became extremely fashionable in England – and became the inspiration to traditional style of Hawaiian jewelry.
The Kingdom of Hawaii and England were close at the time, so while visiting the English Queen’s Jubilee, Queen Liliuokalani and Queen Kapiolani were presented with golden, black engraved bracelets. They were so taken by its beauty and uniqueness that they ordered jewelry for other members of the Hawaiian royal family – adopting this jewelry style as Hawaii’s own. Just prior to the overthrow of the kingdom in 1893, Queen Liliuokalani specially gifted a gold enameled bracelet to a young socialite, and this bracelet became the envy of other women who requested similar bracelets of their own..
* Some women with many Hawaiian bracelets are referred to as “Wonder Woman” because the width of their bracelets resemble the bullet deflecting bracelets worn by Lynda Carter in the 1970s television program, “Wonder Woman” – we are not recommending that you try this with your Hawaiian bracelets