Well its certainly been a busy year so far! Having recently launched our ‘Ahi Collection, I’ve been working on another big project that I’ve been having trouble keeping quiet about (see us on Instagram!) In response to feedback from some lovely customers, and the occasional woeful laments on affordability, I’m very happy to announce our latest venture, Hononu by ‘Alohi Kai, a new line of everyday jewelry to keep you smiling through daily trials and tribulations. (This line is currently housed on the ‘Alohi Kai website – look for the separate link in the navigation!)
When we started ‘Alohi Kai it was all about the animals we adore, making them in our unique style – sleek and stylised just enough with an eye to realism and proportion. The sculptures I started with – sharks, box jellies, etc – were bold, eye-catching and unique. These were contrasted with delicate shells but the pieces are complex, intricate, with unusual textures and patterns. But with the price of metals these days, it meant not everyone who loved one could purchase it. Enter Hohonu by ‘Alohi Kai.
Hohonu means ‘deep’ in Hawaiian, both in the sense of depth and in the sense of being profound. This new line of dainty pieces evolved like a coy little sister to ‘Alohi Kai – peeking around her big sister’s skirts, coquettishly imitating at first, then growing into her own personality and style. Hohonu looks to be more lighthearted and flirty with a sense of movement and an affordable edge. Pieces are smaller and easier to wear everyday while retaining ‘Alohi Kai’s love of the sea and delight with contrast – indeed light (‘Alohi means brilliance) and depth (Hohonu) do not coexist often in the sea. We’ve brought in shells, corals and some colorful Swarovski crystals, and this current collection stars lovely, long-awaited rays. I’d love to show you around – read on!
Hononu by ‘Alohi Kai pieces are hand carved and cast, as with ‘Alohi Kai jewelry, but they are smaller, and while some will still be offered in sterling, most will be cast metal with beautiful rhodium, ruthenium, and gold finishes. We’re aiming these pieces to fit a more moderate budget yet still with hand-crafted quality and attention to detail. We’re adding a lot more crystals rather than gemstones here too – swarovski crystals are eco-friendly and lead free! The owners of Swarovski have worked extremely hard to make them an ecologically-sound option, and we like what they’ve done.
For this post, I’ll just show you the first group, our new Rays collection. Long awaited Manta rays, spotted eagle rays and stingrays! I’m really excited for these, and from our recent festivals, so are many of you!
Representing ultimate freedom to us, Manta Rays and Eagle Rays spend most of their time cruising the sea. Giant Pacific Mantas are massive and trans-ocean travellers, while smaller reef mantas tend to stay closer to reefs. Both are wonders to see! Exquisite in design, they silently soar the ocean depths with aerodynamic grace, covering great distances with their powerful ‘wings’ (You may notice the stealth bomber and similar aircraft’s resemblance to them – no mistake!). Ours take the form of a large cuff and smaller pendants, celebrating the manta ray in cruising mid-water. As with all ‘Alohi Kai pieces, each is hand-carved, carefully sculpted and smoothed to scale and detail.
Spotted eagle rays are next, their bird-like head is so distinctive! Smaller than mantas, spotted eagle rays can still attain 5m in length. They too seem to fly the seas, but often come to sandy reef bottoms to feed. Uniquely, their beaklike snouts enable them to rout around in the sand for food. They are seen either solitary or in groups – in Hawaii we see them anywhere from a few to over 20 at a time. Our spotted eagle ray is a ray in mid flight, as if gliding the deep reefs where we most love to see them.
Then there’s their sand-covered cousins, the Stingray. These shy and intriguing rays are bottom dwellers. Gentle and non-aggressive, stingrays are notable for the stingers in their tails that can deliver a powerful neurotoxin and which they only use when under attack. It forms a serrated edge, and is found at the base of their tails. When broken off, they apparently grow back fairly quickly. These delightful rays are not overly common to find in Hawaii, and we try not to spook them when we see one. They are called Lupe in Hawaiian which translates to ‘kite’ for their diamond shaped bodies.