top of page

40” Three Strand Kipona Lei

Closure - Two Granulated Cowry Shells with Sterling Silver Clasp

 Artist - Cory Karline - Kauai

"Kipona" means a mix of color and textures. This piece features lovely white Momi shells and bright red Kahelelani shells.

Kahelelani shell jewelry represents one of the last genuine Hawaiian art forms available. In Hawaiian history, only the highest members of the society, such as the Ali'i and Kahuna, could wear Kahelelani shells, indicating the wearer's position in a complex social hierarchy. The shells are said to have mana, a potent spiritual power.

Today the shell lei is considered a fine piece of jewelry that can be worn with any kind of attire. Particularly here in Hawaii, the shell lei is worn by both men and women, in business dress or casual dress, but especially for special occasions.

The artists who create these lei use several different kinds of shell. The tiniest shell, the Kahelelani (kah–hey-lay–lan–ee) comes in 14 different colors, each with a specific name and many sizes from 8 to 14 mm. The Momi shell, larger and less colorful, is also widely used. It may take years to accumulate enough shells of matching color and size to create a successful design.

Momi Shells

Ke’o Ke’o Maika’i (Very White)

Waha ’ele ‘ele (White with black tip)

Kahelelani Shells

‘Ula ‘ula (Burgundy/Dark Red)

To protect this piece and to display it as a piece of art, this shell lei comes with a custom-made koa wood shadow box which measures 20"H x 10"W x 2"D


    bottom of page