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Niihau Shell Leis

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Portland
posts: 3
Niihau Shell Leis

Good Morning,

We recently stopped at the Waimea Country Store to see the collection of Niihau shell leis promoted by Mrs. Dow. The clerk there told us that her collection had been sent to Oahu because of her cancer illness. She also directed us to a Niihau native who had a small craft store behind Subway. We stopped there, had a wonderful conversation with the woman, admired her work and wanted to buy. The phone rang and we left. I would like very much to contact her and purchase one of her leis. Please send me her name, her phone number and the name of her craft store.

Many, many thanks,

Muriel Mendonca

Portland, Oregon

36 replies to this topic
California
posts: 26,262
reviews: 88
1. Re: Niihau Shell Leis

Could you call the Waimea Country Store and ask?

Maybe Janet knows the name and also if the leis are authentic.

Kaua'i, HI
Destination Expert
for Kauai, Poipu, Lihue
posts: 17,285
reviews: 32
2. Re: Niihau Shell Leis

Aloha from Kaua'i!

The store that you were directed to is in Waimea town and is called Lu's Crafts, it is a local crafts store that does have Lei Pupu 'O Ni'ihau in addition to other locally made crafts.....her name is Tia Koerte and the lei are definitely authentic that she sells (she is part of a Ni'ihau ohana who makes them) and her information is: Lu's Crafts, 4493 Moana Rd, # B, Waimea, HI 96796 (808) 338-0001.

Hope this helps!

Malama Pono,

Janet

Edited: 1:55 pm, April 22, 2013
Portland
posts: 3
3. Re: Niihau Shell Leis

Thanks!!! You are WONDERFUL!! This is just what I needed.

Muriel

Kaua'i, HI
Destination Expert
for Kauai, Poipu, Lihue
posts: 17,285
reviews: 32
4. Re: Niihau Shell Leis

Aloha from Kaua'i!

Another place on the West Side that has an excellent selection of Lei Pupu 'O Ni'ihau (Ni'ihau Shell Lei) is

J.J.'s Ohana....they are located in old Hanapepe town and the owner, Gayle Sagucio, is a friend of mine...her selection of lei and earrings is also excellent and definitely authentic from Ni'ihau lei makers.

Both these stores are great because they are small, locally owned businesses that support the lei makers from Ni'ihau....

The Gift Shop at the Kaua'i Museum in Lihu'e also has a very good selection of Lei Pupu 'O Ni'ihau that they get direct from the lei makers of Ni'ihau...

Also....the Koloa Ukulele Store in Old Koloa Town has a very good selection of Lei Pupu 'O Ni'ihau....Uncle Joe's wife is in charge of these and is very knowledgeable and friendly.....they are from one of the better known lei making families on Ni'ihau.

Malama Pono,

Janet

Edited: 3:52 pm, April 22, 2013
Portland
posts: 3
5. Re: Niihau Shell Leis

WOW! Janet, you are a Niihau shell encyclopedia! I'm so excited that I found your site on the web. I now have many places to look.

Thanks,

Muriel

Middletown...
posts: 527
reviews: 1
6. Re: Niihau Shell Leis

I remember going into Koloa Ukulele shop a couple of years ago to see what instruments they had and immediately being drawn to the small case with exquisite leis against the opposite wall. I ran out and pulled my wife in to look and we engaged the owner a bit to understand the story behind them. We weren't in the market at the time, but do have a mental note to return. We bought my wife's lei and earrings at least 12 years ago at the Lawai Trading Post. She only wears them in Hawaii since noone on the mainland really appreciates what they are. You can try to explain, but even our friends' eyes glaze over and to them they are "just shells". Back then on our budget, the lei was extremely expensive. Two years ago we were in the museum shop and the woman asked my wife about her lei, whereupon she told my wife that it was now worth at least 3x what we originally paid. Have definitely bookmarked some of the other shops you mentioned, thanks Janet!

Kaua'i, HI
Destination Expert
for Kauai, Poipu, Lihue
posts: 17,285
reviews: 32
7. Re: Niihau Shell Leis

Aloha from Kaua'i!

A'ale pilikia (no trouble!).....I love Lei Pupu 'O Ni'ihau and wear the ones that I have all the time, not just for fancy kine (I'd never wear them!)........we are very lucky here on Kaua'i because we live where many of the lei makers also have their homes, and close to Ni'ihau.....there are so many special things about Ni'ihau and its people, including these beautiful lei.

We're invited to a very large wedding/reception this weekend in fact of a member of a prominent Ni'ihau ohana (family)......I cannot wait and I'm afraid that the diet I've been sticking to for a couple of weeks is going to be totally shot when I sit down at the reception....Hawaiian food for days!!!

I will most definitely be wearing my best Lei Pupu 'O Ni'ihau, especially since it was made by the mother of the bride!

Glad the information helped anyone out here.......

Malama Pono,

Janet

Southern California
posts: 6,251
reviews: 5
8. Re: Niihau Shell Leis

We took a drive to Waimea today; I was hoping to visit Lu's Crafts but couldn't find it. Asked a local lady in Subway who said it just recently closed.

Santa Monica, CA
Destination Expert
for Santa Monica
posts: 8,162
reviews: 177
9. Re: Niihau Shell Leis

I am so looking forward to a trip to Kauai and hope to buy a Ni'ihau lei. While on Maui this past January, I saw some in Paia. I was literally shaking when I held it I was so excited. They are stunning. The only reason I didn't purchase was I had not done my research, so did not know if I were going to purchase an authentic one, if the price was fair, etc (and I don't mean price being cheap; it is clear how much work goes into those pieces. They are works of art). So, next August, after research, I hope to do some shopping on Kauai.

California
posts: 26,262
reviews: 88
10. Re: Niihau Shell Leis

22kauai have almost identical necklaces. I love mine. I want another and am saving for it. You get a letter of authenticity and just know where to buy them to make sure they are real.

They are indeed a work of art.

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