Hawaiian Jewelry History

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The story of Hawaiian jewelry began in the late 1800’s when King Kalakaua visited the Royal Courts of England. He was invited to attend to Queen Victoria’s Jubilee, but instead sent his wife, Queen Kapiolani, and his sister the Princess Lydia Kamakaʻeha (Liliʻuokalani). At the ceremonies Queen Victoria gifted the Princess what was to become the first Hawaiian bracelet. The solid gold design was simple with intricate Old English lettering, which spelled the princess’ name. The bracelet symbolized the enduring friendship between the two nations. Liliuokalani was very impressed with the style and requested more be crafted for other members of her family. Goldsmiths throughout the land were then commissioned to learn this art of jewelry crafting. At the time of Prince Albert’s death, bracelets were made in his remembrance by request of Queen Victoria and Queen Liliuokalani. Enameled lettering was used in reflecting the loss of their beloved Prince.
The tradition has since continued throughout the generations. Hawaiian heirloom jewelry has been given as gifts for special occasions such as birthdays, graduations and weddings. Heirloom jewelry will last a lifetime, and is often passed from generations. It is considered an honor to receive such a precious, personalized gift.
Today, Hawaiian heirloom jewelry is hand crafted, as it has always been. Although Hawaiian bracelets are the most traditional style of heirloom jewelry, more variations have surfaced over the years. You can find rings, vertical pendants, horizontal necklaces, and even id bracelets, each with their own unique design and personalization. With this amazing craft, it is no wonder that this tradition has lasted and grown through the years.