It was in 1887 during a visit to London by Hawaii’s Queen Kapiolani and Princess Liliuokalani to help celebrate Queen Victoria’s Jubilee, that they were given gold bracelets on which their names were engraved in Old English lettering and filled with black enamel.
(Another version of the story says King Kalakaua was the guest of Queen Victoria in 1883 and she sent the bracelet with him for Princess Liliuokalani.)
Whoever had the bracelet liked it so much that once they got back to the Hawaiian Palace they had other jewelry made in a similar style to give as gifts. Thus began the tradition of Hawaii Heritage Jewelry.
Just last year during our visit here I complimented a store clerk on the several Heritage bracelets she wore, saying I’d considered buying one at Costco but that it was stamped, “Kuuipo” (Sweetheart) - and I hadn't liked it.
She quickly cautioned, “Don’t buy one of those! You must put a name on it yourself.” Which made no sense to me at the time.
In the year that passed since that conversation I’ve learned that Heritage jewelry has been given over the decades by many Hawaiians to commemorate a life milestone: births, deaths, anniversaries, weddings, graduations, birthdays.
A name is imprinted on the jewelry which is believed to carry the ‘mana’, the supernatural power that resides in a person, animal or object.
Basically Heritage jewelry becomes more than just a piece of silver or gold because it carries the spirit of the name imprinted on it and the wearer keeps that spirit close to them by wearing the piece of jewelry.
The Birthday Bangle
Readers of Travelnwrite know that this is one of those birthday milestone years for me. It’s one significant enough to warrant a Heritage bangle. . .
In Hawaii, it is believed that the spirit of a place
is carried in the spirit of its name.
Ko’olina ~ ‘fulfillment of joy’
It seemed a two-fold appropriate name –or mana - for my birthday bangle. After all, fulfillment of joy seems to sum up our travel lifestyle and I like the idea of keeping the spirit of this special place with me all the time.
The bracelet’s Monarch pattern is a reminder of those Hawaiian ali’i who so long ago enjoyed these same lagoons along the island’s western coast as we do now (during at least a small portion of each year).
The design I selected incorporates the ocean’s waves and our old friend “Honu” the sea turtle.
As for its mana? It’s there, that’s for sure. . . because when I look at the bracelet, this is what I see. . .
Aloha from Hawaii. . .
That’s it for this week’s Travel Photo Thursday. For more armchair traveling check out Nancie’s Budget Travelers Sandbox!
About Hawaiian Heritage Jewelry: My bracelet was made by the Honolulu Jewelry Company. They have no retail outlets, their office/factory is in a light industrial area near the Honolulu Airport. Their website: www.HonoluluJewelryCompany.com, 888-889-6986, Twitter or Facebook/honolulujewelry. (With this company, not only could I customize the bracelet, but I met the four artisans who actually created it. . . and that makes it even more special!)