Showing posts with label Honolulu Jewelry Company. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Honolulu Jewelry Company. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Birthday Bangle: Weaving Heritage and History

The tale of this birthday bangle begins more than a century ago in the time when Kings and Queens ruled this tropical  Kingdom. . .


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.

KoOlina2013 003(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.

VegasHawaii2012 119In 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

KoOlina2013 036Readers of Travelnwrite know that this is one of those birthday milestone years for me.   It’s one significant enough to warrant a Heritage bangle. . .

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In Hawaii, it is believed that the spirit of a place
is carried in the spirit of its name.

The place we call our second ‘home’ is on the island of O’ahu and was once a fishing camp of Hawaiian aristocracy. It is said to have been a retreat for King Kamehameha. The area’s present day name was given it by a well-known religious leader, Rev. Abraham Akeka,of Honolulu’s Kawaiahoo Church, who called it:

Ko’olina ~ ‘fulfillment of joy’

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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.

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KoOlina2013 035The 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. . .


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If you were designing a bracelet to carry a special 'mana' what would it have on it?

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:, 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!)


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