Hilton Niau

Posted by Doug Paradis on

I am from Niihau, a place of wonder. This tiny island, named the “forbidden” island, off the

coast of Kauai, remains Hawaiian, it’s traditions and culture intact.

The families of Niihau speak Hawaiian, farm, fish, and weave.

They are artisans, most renowned for their shell jewelry craftsmanship.

I am a 4 th generation Niihau shell jewelry maker. Growing up, I was drawn to the beach, it’s

shells and the ocean every day. My mother taught me collect, sort and string leis.

My parents gave me the middle name “Kalanipio”, which means capturing water on the sand.

Perhaps, I was always destined to be an artist, to keep my heritage alive, and practice my

ancestors’ Niihau shell jewelry techniques.

I strive to blend traditional shell making styles with my own concepts and designs. It is my goal

to showcase each shell, it’s color and luster, at it’s best. These shells require delicate handling

and countless hours of sorting and preparing to create each piece.

I give thanks to my mom, Wanda Kanahele, my father, Moria Niau, and God for imparting the

inspiration and love that has allowed me to share my Niihau jewelry pieces with collectors

around the world.

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