History of Hawaiian Jewelry
Hawaiian Heirloom Jewelry has been a tradition in Hawaii since 1862. The first piece of Hawaiian Jewelry was a bracelet worn by High Chiefess Lili’u, who later became Queen Liliuokalani. The Victorian style of Hawaiian jewelry was actually an English tradition for many centuries. It became in Vogue in Hawaii after the death of Prince Albert. Queen Victoria of England was so saddened by his passing she wore mourning clothing and black enameled gold jewelry till the day she died. The news of his death reached Hawaii and Lili’u also wanted to show her own sense of remembrance of Prince Albert and the tradition of family. She had two bracelets made, one was engraved with Hoomanao Mau which means “Lasting Remembrance”, the other “Palapala” which is the written form of her Hawaiian language. These bracelets captured Lili’u’s spirit of tradition and capture forever the spirit of Aloha she had for her Hawaiian culture.
Queen Liliuokalani captured her spirit of Aloha for Hawaiians and visitors alike when she had that first bracelet made so long ago. It has been a lasting remembrance for generations of Hawaiians of their rich culture and language passed done through the generations. It has been for each individual who owns one a lasting remembrance of a certain loved one or event in his or her lives that they want to hold dear to their hearts. Whether you’re a native Hawaiian or a visitor to the islands you will forever link yourself to the Hawaiian Islands with a piece of Hawaiian Heirloom Jewelry.
Big Island Jewelers' philosophy on Hawaiian Jewelry
The Hawaiian jewelry that we create at Big Island Jewelers is the best quality available today. We believe that if a bracelet, ring or pendant is to be worn and cherished by many generations then it should be made to stand the test of time. There are a few important factors that go in to making a piece of quality Hawaiian jewelry.
First and most importantly what is the thickness of the gold? Hawaiian jewelry is made in many various thicknesses ranging from 0.80mm to 2.0mm. At Big Island Jewelers we highly recommend nothing less than 2.0mm thickness. This will give your piece of jewelry strength and durability. It also allows the craftsmen to engrave your jewelry with more detail and apply the name in glass enamel.
Secondly, how is the black enamel name applied to the gold? There are two different methods, epoxy or glass enamel. After the engraver has carved out the channels for the lettering a black epoxy or glass enamel is applied. If the engraver is using a black epoxy he will inject a liquid form of black epoxy in to the channels and then it is baked once to solidify the lettering. If the engraver is using a glass enamel a long and difficult process is followed to lay down multiple layers of black glass enamel in to the channels and it is baked multiple times. The finished result of black glass enamel is worth the effort and added cost. It will withstand many years of wear. The same cannot be said of the epoxy. That is why at Big Island Jewelers we only sell Hawaiian jewelry made with the traditional glass enamel. We stand behind our Hawaiian jewelry with a lifetime warranty on the glass enamel. If it ever does come out we will replace it at no cost.
Lastly, is the design hand engraved? A lot of companies have done away with the traditional hand engraved techniques of old and switched to more cost effective manufacturing styles. At Big Island Jewelers all of our Hawaiian jewelry is hand engraved with intricate details and originality. Your own creativity is incorporated with our traditional patterns to produce a style all your own.
So when choosing a company to make your treasured piece of Hawaiian jewelry ask those three questions and insist on the quality that Queen Liliuokalani passed down through the generations.
Caring for your Hawaiian Jewelry
Hawaiian Jewelry is made in 14kt yellow or white gold and 18kt yellow gold. The best way to keep your gold looking shiny and new is to use a soft buffing cloth. If you have glass enamel or raised gold letters then you can use an ultrasonic cleaner or steamer. If you have black epoxy do not use anything other than a soft buffing cloth. Our Hawaiian jewelry is made to last a lifetime so very little care is needed. That is why choosing the 2mm thickness and glass enamel is so important.
If the glass enamel comes out of your piece of Hawaiian jewelry purchased from Big Island Jewelers we will replace it at no cost to you. Please contact us through our toll free number or email for instructions on sending it back to us. This process takes approximately 4 weeks.
When ordering Hawaiian Jewelry there are many variables to determine an accurate price so please call us for details. Some of the variables are width, weight, lettering style and design. Our Hawaiian jewelry may be ordered in 14kt yellow or white gold. 18kt yellow gold on request.
Hawaiian bracelets come in many widths, starting at 6mm. They can also be made in 6mm, 8mm, 10mm, 12mm, 15mm, 18mm, 20mm, 24mm, 26mm, 28mm and so on.
They also come in different thicknesses (see About Hawaiian Jewelry for complete explanation). We only offer the 2.0mm thickness.
There are 3 styles of lettering, black glass enamel, raised and raised with enamel. See picture on design page. It is customary to have your name translated in to Hawaiian. Please call us to find out your name in Hawaiian or a special word or phrase.
We have many different design options. Not every design is possible on the 6mm, 8mm and 10mm widths. Certain designs are limited to a width of 12mm or higher because of their intricate detail. All of our designs are hand engraved. We have highly skilled artisans that create your bracelet, ring or pendant. Just like any art form there will be differences in your finished piece compared to the sample pictures featured on our website. No two are alike because of the hand engraved process. Custom designs are encouraged but they will be at a premium because it will be an original design.
The Hawaiian bracelets and rings can be sized but it is a costly process. Please visit your local jeweler to determine your correct size before ordering. Make sure you discuss with your jeweler the width of the ring because this will affect your correct ring size. Also if measuring for a bracelet make sure you tell them it is for a bangle bracelet that has no clasp. A good way to try on a bangle bracelet is with a knee-high panty hose over your hand. This gives you a smooth tight fit.