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History of Royal Hawaiian Heirloom Jewelry

Updated on November 20, 2016
Kuuipo means sweetheart in Hawaiian. It is engraved on many bracelets and necklaces.
Kuuipo means sweetheart in Hawaiian. It is engraved on many bracelets and necklaces. | Source

When I first moved to Hawaii, I was quite impressed with the amount and quality of jewelry that many of the older Hawaiian women wore. It was not uncommon to see four or five solid gold bracelets and three or more golden necklaces adorning their arms and necks. I was curious as to why these pretty women had to wear so many at the same time, and learned later that it was more of a tradition. So, here I will tell you about the beginnings of Royal Hawaiian Jewelry.

In 1887, during the Victorian Era, Queen Kapiolani and Princess Liliuokalani were invited to attend Queen Victoria's Jubilee in England. They were both presented with precious solid gold bracelets. Each had their own names engraved on them in Old English lettering which were filled with black enamel. They treasured these beautiful gifts, and upon their return to Hawaii, had similar bracelets made for other members of the Royal family for special occasions.

Thus, a tradition had begun. To celebrate special birthdays, graduations, weddings, anniversaries, and other milestones, gold bracelets, earrings, necklaces, and rings are the choice of many native Hawaiians and also those who have chosen to make Hawaii their home.

Many tourists like to buy one as a souvenir to remember their special visit to the islands of Hawaii. With gold worth what it is now, it is really an investment that you can wear. Honestly, I am a little afraid to wear that much gold, especially during this economy, might I get kidnapped or mugged, but I still see many ladies that do wear it.

Personally, I have two bracelets, one with white gold and one with yellow gold. My name is engraved on one with a pretty floral pattern on either side. I also have a ring that has black enamel on the borders. I do cherish these since they were gifts for memorable occasions.

I thought you might like to see how they create Royal Hawaiian Jewelry, so I included this video.

If you would like to put your Hawaiian name on the jewelry, you can go here to find it:

For instance, my name is Elayne, but my Hawaiian name is Ileina. See if they have your name translated into Hawaiian.

Of course, nowadays, you can buy Royal Hawaiian Jewelry in many different designs, including plumeria, tiare flowers, pineapples, coconut trees, honu (sea turtle), whales, star fish, seahorse, and other tropical designs.They are also made into crosses, tie pins, and even watches.

One of the most popular for younger people is the Hawaiian slipper jewelry. Newborn babies are often given little bracelets to celebrate their birth.

Some of the most popular phrases that are engraved on Hawaiian Jewelry are:

  • Ke aloha - meaning "beloved"
  • Hoahele - meaning "companion"
  • Ku'uipo - meaning "my sweetheart"
  • Hiapo - meaning "the first born"
  • Hiwahiwa - meaning "precious"
  • Nau ko'u aloha - meaning "My love is yours"
  • Malu lani - meaning "protected by heaven"
  • Pau o'le - meaning "never ending"
  • Me ke aloha - meaning "with love"

One thing about wearing Hawaiian jewelry is that you can always take a little bit of Hawaii with you wherever you go!

Visit a Factory where they make the jewelry at Royal Hawaiian Heritage Jewelry Stores

1130 Bishop Street Honolulu, HI 96813:
1130 Bishop St, Honolulu, HI 96813, USA

get directions


2005 Kalia Road Honolulu, HI 96815:
2005 Kalia Rd, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA

get directions

Hilton Hawaiian Village (808) 942-4858


Submit a Comment
  • elayne001 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Thank you yenajeon. It would be wonderful if you could come here to Hawaii to learn more about the culture. Yes, I love jewelry too.

  • yenajeon profile image

    Yena Williams 

    8 years ago from California

    I love reading all your Hawaiian stories. I'm part Hawaiian but know nothing about the culture, unfortunately. And who doesn't love jewelry!

  • elayne001 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    So glad you liked it Wooded. Thanks for your comments.

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    This is really interesting, and the jewelry is just beautiful. Thanks

  • elayne001 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Glad you learned from my hub Hello, hello, - It is fun to learn about other countries and their traditions. Aloha!

  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 

    8 years ago from London, UK

    Thank you for information about a world I hardly anything about. Ver interesting and fascinating.

  • elayne001 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    That is great LianaK. Hawaiian jewelry is often given for sentimental reasons. Glad you like yours. Thanks for commenting.

  • LianaK profile image


    8 years ago

    What a great hub! I have a Hawaiian Bracelet that I got on my 21st birthday. I will cherish it always. It is both beautiful and sentimental.

  • elayne001 profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Thanks PWalker281 - those that have it usually keep it - it is kind of insurance for a rainy day.

    I appreciate your comments sunnie.

    Glad you enjoyed it Rhonda. Hope you can visit soon.

    Thank you KoffeeKlatch Gals. Aloha!

  • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

    Susan Hazelton 

    8 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Fascinating. I especially like the Hawaiian translations.

  • Rhonda Waits profile image

    Rhonda Musch 

    8 years ago from The Emerald Coast

    A very fascinating hub and beautiful jewelry. I have a friend who lives in Hawaii and she sends me pictures quite often. Rated up awesome.

    Sweet wishes Rhonda

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    Very good hub! The jewelry is beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    Fascinating! Hope people who have it don't get seduced by all the gold buyers out there now and sell it. Rated up!


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