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Ni‘ihau shell lei authentication

Pamela Ka‘ilikini-Dow, respected lecturer and staunch supporter of authentic Ni‘ihau shell craft, has a panel of lei makers available for anyone wishing to have documentation that authenticates their Ni‘ihau shell lei.

Her own personal collection of Ni‘ihau shell lei include ones gifted to her mother in the late 1950s, a time when little was known of these shells.

Certificates will be issued only upon unanimous agreement of the assembled panel, following strict guidelines as established by Ka‘ilikini-Dow. A suggested retail value will be made upon individual request. As a gift to the community, there will be no charge for the analysis and stamped paperwork. However, absolutely no products of businesses or commercial entities will be reviewed.

Ka‘ilikini-Dow first held an event such as this in on O‘ahu in 2004 at the Bishop Museum and the Na Mea Hawai‘i/Native Books Store at Ward Warehouse. They each heralded the recent passing of the state law that forbids the use of the term “Ni‘ihau shells” unless the crafted item consisted of shells (at least 80 percent) from the shores of Ni‘ihau.

Later the same year, she was also invited to the nation’s capitol to represent Hawai‘i and its venerated shell art form at the opening of the Smithsonian’s Native American Indian Museum.

Ka‘ilikini-Dow and her panel are available from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. May 22, 23, 24 at Forever Kaua’i in the Waimea Canyon General Store, Waimea Canyon Plaza, 8171 Kekaha Road.

• For more information call Ka‘ilikini-Dow at 337-2888.

2 Comments
  1. Terry Knight July 9, 2020 5:19 pm Reply

    My mother-in-law passed a few years ago, then her husband passed in 2018, and my husband just a couple of months after that. My father-in-law was in the service and stationed in Hawaii in the 1960s/70s. She told me about her shell necklace and said it was worth a lot. I have a three strand lay that I believe is authentically from My mother-in-law passed a few years ago, then her husband passed in 2018, and my husband just a couple of months after that. My father-in-law was in the service and stationed in Hawaii in the 1960s/70s. She told me about her shell necklace and said it was worth a lot. I have a three strand lay that I believe is authentically from Ni’ihau. How can I go about authenticating this necklace? I live in the state of Georgia, in the United States. My phone number is 706–840- 5409, and my email is terryjknight55@yahoo.com. I am retired and I am home most of the time. Thank you so much for your time and consideration.


  2. Margaret Levings November 1, 2020 2:15 pm Reply

    I have a pair of niihua earrings and a bracelet purchased on Kauai in the early 2000’s. They were purchased from a reputable gallery as niihua shells. I live in Georgia and would like to get them authenticated. Is their anyone who can help? Thank you.


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