Our mission is to accurately and respectfully document all aspects of Ni’ihau shells, the artisans and the culture of shell lei making on the Hawaiian islands. We aim to educate, enlighten and inspire the public about this art and generate renewed passion to protect and grow this practice unique to the Hawaiian islands.
Our three main goals:
- Produce a feature length documentary focusing on the history, culture and future outlook of Ni’ihau shell lei making. Examine the challenges, hardships and hope impacting the islands and it's people. Make a visually stunning piece voiced by the people who have lived and practiced this craft. This film will allow for a wide reach of an otherwise niche topic. Our objective is for the preservation and promotion of this art and its people. We aim to air on PBS Hawaii and will work with schools and educational institutes to share this practice with a new generation.
- Create a high quality macro photographic gallery of shells used in historic & contemporary Hawaiian shell jewelry. Categorize each with its scientific, Hawaiian and common name. Create secondary gallery of finished jewelry pieces with attributions to the artisans and categorize by stringing techniques, colors and styles. Focus is on Ni'ihau shells including Kahelelani, Momi & Laiki shells.
- Make the traditional jewelry industry aware of these precious shells by inclusion in gemological coursework, recognition in laboratory/appraisal institutes and inclusion in trade publications. These shells are the only types that can be classified as gemstone and the fine jewelry industry is virtually unaware of this unique material.