Niʻihau Shell Earrings

Nestled in the flaming sunsets visible across the Kaulakahi channel from the northernmost inhabited Hawaiian island of Kaua‘i, the mysterious island of Ni‘ihau has been privately owned since 1864. Often called the Forbidden Island, Ni‘ihau not only has its own dialect of the Hawaiian language but also has its own unique history and culture. Exquisite lei made from tiny shells gathered on the deserted shores of Ni‘ihau were first brought to the attention of the courts of Europe when Queen Kapi‘olani traveled to London to attend Queen Victoria’s Jubilee in 1887. Today, collectors as well as casual consumers are still able to experience and even own a sampling of this unique aspect of Ni‘ihau culture. (Information courtesy of the Ni‘ihau Cultural Heritage Foundation)

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