Kekaha , Hawaii
Tel: 808 337 2888
Concierge.com's insider take:
A Niihau shell lei—lustrous strands of delicate shells, no bigger than a baby's fingernail, plucked from the sands of the privately owned island of Niihau—can sell for upward of $10,000. Why are they so expensive? A single lei-maker would need over five years to collect enough shells of the same shape and color to make a classic five-strand lei. While families do work together to speed things up, the process is still painstaking. State law mandates that only leis made out of 80 percent Niihau shells can be called Niihau shell leis, but cheap knockoffs abound, and even authentic Niihau leis vary in quality. The only way to be sure to get what you're paying for is to buy from a reputable seller, like Forever Kauai, located in Kekaha on the west coast of Kauai. The shop is modest and stuffed with cheap matching Hawaiian shirts and muumuus, but the leis, varying in color from gray blue to hot pink, are exquisite. You can start with a simple $50 pair of earrings or a $250 single-strand choker, or go whole hog for a multistrand piece sure to become a family heirloom.—Cathay Che
Open daily 9 am to 5 pm.
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