Kumihimo Silk Jewelry

Why We Are Selling Jewelry

While not officially registered yet we aim to be a non profit benefiting the community of Ni'ihau shell artisans and collectors. We are selling limited quantities of high quality authentic Hawaiian shell jewelry to help maintain operation and to fund our upcoming documentary. Your purchase helps with everything from website development, hosting, research, camera equipment, editing and everything in between. We truly can not do it without your support!


What is Kumihimo?

Kumihimo is a braiding process that was introduced in Japan as far back as the 6th century. It is an intricate process which uses multiple strands of fine silk to create round, flat or square cords in various patterns and colors. It is versatile and strong and lends a unique pop of color to any outfit. 

Kumihimo has been practiced for thousands of years and was commonly used in tea ceremonies, temples and as a cord to tie together samurai armor or wrap katana (Japanese sword) handles. It is also still used as a decorative tie called an obijime to hold the belt of the kimono in place.


Braided Silk & Hawaiian Shell Jewelry

As with the invention of modern manufacturing most kumihimo is now mass-produced utilizing inferior thread. Nylon or polyester is often chosen over silk. While this art is no longer as popular as it once was, there are still highly skilled and dedicated artisans practicing the ancient weaving techniques. All of our strands are crafted from 100% natural high-quality silk which is hand braided in Kanazawa, Japan. Each kumihimo strand is custom created for us and nothing is mass-produced. 

We chose to pair this silk with shells collected on the Hawaiian islands as both the art of Ni'ihau shell lei making and Japanese kumihimo come from the same place of beauty, craftsmanship and culture. 

 No two designs are ever identical. The braiding style we use is the 8-strand or "edo-uchi himo" which is chosen for its strength and delicate appearance.  


Caring For Kumihimo Silk

As with most fine jewelry special care should be taken with silk jewelry. It is a natural material and can be damaged by perfume, sweat, dirt or other factors encountered with every day wear. 

Silk is susceptible to water, salt and chlorine and should never be worn in the shower, pool or ocean. If it becomes dirty, a light cleaning is all it needs. Prepare a small bowl of warm water and a very small amount of delicate dish soap and gently rub the cord. Never place your silk in commercial jewelry cleaner. If the metal becomes tarnished overtime apply a very small amount of white tooth paste to a cotton swab and gently rub the metal. 

If the cord ever breaks, comes unraveled, or comes unattached from the ends  Contact Us and we would be happy to repair or replace it free of charge. 


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