Common characteristics of Hawaiian jewelry include scrollwork, engraved phrases and nature themes, such as hibiscus flowers and wave motifs. As a reflection of the laid-back culture of the islands, Hawaiian jewelry is often more casual.
Scrollwork and engraved phrases are common elements dating back to the 1800s when Queen Victoria gifted a gold bracelet to Hawaii’s Queen Lili’uokalani. The popularity of this type of jewelry spread throughout Hawaii. Common words and phrases seen on Hawaiian jewelry include "Ku'uipo," meaning "my sweetheart," and "Me Ke Aloha," meaning "with all my love."
Nature also plays a large part in Hawaiian jewelry. While shell necklaces are popular items to buy in Hawaii, jewelry featuring Hawaiian flowers are very common. This includes necklaces, bracelets and earrings featuring hibiscus and plumeria flowers. Some jewelry also mimics the look of leis, such as the maile lei, which is made from the green maile stems and leaves.
Another nature element that is common in Hawaiian jewelry is the use of wave designs, which are found on pendant necklaces, rings, bracelets and earrings. Waves designs are sometimes studded with diamonds and other precious stones.
Common themes also include fun-loving jewelry designs, such as necklaces with flip flop pendants and gold pineapple earrings.