"Throughout the history of the islands, Hawaiians wore leis as ornaments. On Ni'ihau, the privately owned island off the coast of Kaua'i, the tradition of sewing seashells, Pupu 'o Ni'ihau, into leis of unsurpassed beauty has continued uninterrupted for hundreds of years. Today descendants of lei makers and their children continue the time-honored tradition of making lei pupu 'o Ni'ihau.
The physical remoteness of Ni'ihau, the restrictions imposed on outside visitors by the owners of the island, and the traditional lifestyle are part of the mystique of Ni'ihau. Ni'ihau appears to be a place where time stands still. The isolation has helped preserve the language, sustain the environment, and perpetuate some of the important cultural traditions that remain unique to Ni'ihau." - excerpt from Pupu 'o Ni'ihau with kind permission of the Honolulu Academy of Arts. See below to purchase a copy of this beautiful book.
Maui hands is pleased to offer a wide selection of these extraordinary handcrafted Hawaiian creations.
Ni'ihau Shells are the only shells recognized by gemologists as gems and as a result they are also the only shells that are insurable as fine jewelry. Each Lei comes with a certificate of authenticity and a lifetime warranty. Several times a year our friend Kaleialoha flies to Maui from Ni'ihau and provides us with her family's handcrafted leis, bracelets, and earrings. We have one of the largest collection of Ni'ihau Shell Leis. We would be happy to send pictures of in-stock items, or we welcome you to come in to our four Maui locations to take a look.