Hawaiian Heirloom Bracelets: A Brief History

If you’ve seen Hawaiian heirloom bracelets before, you would know they usually have delicate engravings in gold. But besides that, have you ever wondered what else is there to know about it?

These heirloom bracelets play a role in Hawaiian history, symbolizing a long-lasting friendship between the two nations. Until now, it still holds the same value for those who own them.

The question is, what is it that makes them unique? Here’s a brief history to help you understand its significance.

Where It Began

The history of Hawaiian heirloom bracelets dates back as far as the 1800s. It began when Queen Victoria of England gifted Hawaii’s last ruling monarch, Queen Lili’uokalani, a gold bracelet with her name.

After her return, Queen Lili-uokalani felt inspired to recreate the bracelet featuring Hawaiian flowers and plant designs. She had Hawaiian words engraved on it in Old English lettering, each reflecting how she felt for her birthplace.

And so, the original bracelets served as a sentimental reminder for her and an admirable symbol for others.

How It Transitioned

These gold bracelets rose in popularity after the queen gifted a gold bracelet with enameled words to an English school teacher. The event was later prophetical as the engraved words translate to “Farewell to Thee,” then followed by the queen losing her throne.

People began to get bracelets custom-made to showcase their solidarity and love for their country. Later, Hawaiian jewelry became their heritage and was passed down from generation to generation.

Evolving Designs

These days, you can get an heirloom jewelry redesign based on your preference. But then, people had to stick to standard styles.

Hawaiian heirloom bracelets grew in popularity, making room for new designs to arise in the following years. It includes the following changes:

Uniform Letters

The letters on the gold bracelets were cut by hand, so they varied according to the engraver. When they made machines for it, the letters on the bracelets began to look more uniform. It also allowed engravers to develop more lettering sets.

Raised Engraving

The bracelets developed a new type of lettering with the help of machines, wherein the letters look raised because it cuts around them. They used the method with different types of bracelets but made the heirloom bracelets even more dramatic and popular.

Scalloped Styles

Improvements were also made to the designs, starting with more depth to the patterns. They created scalloped styles and scrolling patterns to serve as an expression of Hawaiian heirlooms.

Colored Gold

As more Hawaiian jewelry became popular, they added color to these custom made bracelets while keeping the gold. So, the bracelets would have a gold base with unique tints here and there.

Kalakoa Letters

The last big jump in design is the creation of Kalakoa letters, introduced by Philip Rickard. With this, the background of the letters comes in a different shade of gold. The detail highlights its value in appearance and meaning.

Understand the Value of Hawaiian Heirloom Bracelets Today

Hawaiian heirloom bracelets hold more value than they look, especially to those who wear them. While you can get a redesign, it’s good to know where it began and how it evolved if you want to get the classic style.

So, what do you think? Check out the rest of our blog if you’re interested in more.