Travel Tradition: Island Jewelry

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Travel Traditions

This one is a little harder to call a tradition, but whether we plan to or not, we (er, Cindy) always manage to come home with one or two pieces of jewelry that she did have when we landed.
Of all the types of souveniers you can bring home from Hawaii, jewelry is one that seems to be just about everywhere you look. It ranges from hand-made to mass produced, inexpesive to super high-end, and there are even places you can customize your own ring or pendant. Regardless of what you chose, these little reminders of our trips to Maui have often proven to be the most special.

Cindy's Toe Ring

How it Started
Cindy has always loved jewerly in the 12+ years that I’ve known her, so I won’t go back that far. The Maui version of this tradition started in the middle of our first trip back in June ’06. We had made our way over to the Hula Grill at Whalers Village for dinner, however, the wait was just too long. Cindy noticed a small boutique stand nearby, and ended up with a cute little toe ring.
I just remember walking away for something and coming back to find the woman at the boutique stand spraying Windex on Cindy’s toes. You can imagine the puzzled look on my face. :)
Make Your Own
That wasn’t all from our first trip. There is an off shoot of Maui Divers Jewelers called Pick-a-Pearl that can be found all over the island of Maui, from Hilo Hattie to Front Street and to where we stopped at, in Whalers Village. It might seem a little gimmicky, but it’s still fun. You get to pick out an oyster from a bucket, and they crack it open and the pearl inside is yours. You can choose a wide assortment of settings from rings to earrings, pendants, tie clips or cuff links. Cindy ended up with a ring, which matched the black coral one we got in Honolulu on our honeymoon.
We “Heart” Honu
Fast forward to our next trip in September ’07, where we were spending our anniversary on Maui and celebrating the evening with Dinner Under the Stars at the Sheraton. Little did Cindy know that I had gone anniversary shoppping at Maui Divers earlier that afternoon while she was down by the pool, and picked up this black coral pendant of a honu (sea turtle).
Honu Pendant
Needless to say, she was surprised and absolutely happy with it. It certainly made a wonderful evening even more memorable, and I’d even venture to guess that it’s her favorite piece of jewelry that she has from Maui.
Hey, What About Me?
I was looking for something of my own ever since our second trip. I had envisioned a ring either silver or white gold, with black coral worked into it somehow. We spent almost an entire hour in Na Hoku at Whalers one trip, and had the most patient salesperson. I ended up not getting anything, but Cindy left with an anklet, so that part was successful.
After close to 2 days of window shopping at Whalers and up and down (and up again) along Front Street in Lahaina the next trip, I finally spotted something in a window at Na Hoku that I thought would work. It was the next evening before dinner (and the day before we had to leave) that we went back to Na Hoku at Whalers to take another look. After talking with the salesperson there, she told us the design of the rings (yes, plural) was called “Nalani”, which was Hawaiian for “the Heavens”. As you can see below, it features a nice mix of white and yellow gold in a lovely pattern, so I decided to go with it.
Our Nalani Rings
Why two, you ask? Well, as soon as the salesperson mentioned that this design was a popular choice for wedding bands by couples getting married on Maui, it was clear we had to get a matching pair. So now, even though we weren’t married on Maui, we tell people we have our traditional wedding bands and our Maui wedding bands. For awhile there, we were even wearing them on the ring fingers on our right hands, too.
While we were at Na Hoku looking at these rings, I had also noticed that the Nalani collection had other items in it, including earrings, bracelets, and a few pendants. Seeing that I wasn’t going to be replacing her Honu pendant anytime soon, I figured a matching set of earrings would do the trick. We’re lucky enough to have a Na Hoku store here in the Chicagoland area, so I stopped over and picked up a pair for her birthday last August.

What’s Next?
Who knows? We never really plan for these types of things, so it really comes down to something finding us. We have talked about and spent time browsing for a few items for the house, and were eyeing a nice set of Honu carvings last trip, so that might start a new tradition to replace this one.
Talk Story
We know we’re not the only ones that are inspired by and fall in love with some of the island jewelry in Hawaii. Have a favorite place you like to shop on Maui, or a particular piece of island jewerly that is very near and dear to your heart? Share it with us here.

The Travel Traditions Series here at the blog features our habits and rituals that we have for various aspects of our frequent trips to the island of Maui. Getting to know the island so well after all these years, having a few traditions adds a little continuity to our visits, while still giving us so much flexibility to enjoy many new things each trip.

To follow along with future editions of our Travel Traditions Series, be sure to subscribe to our blog feed to get the latest posts and updates.


About Kris

Kris and his wife Cindy are avid Maui fans, and have visited the island half a dozen times since '06. Over the years, they have made many friends living on Maui or through social media, which keeps them in touch with the island until they can return again.

View all posts by Kris