Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My Dear Friend Minerva Keawe

Many years ago, my husband John and I traveled to the outer Hawaiian Islands (off Oahu) to produce jewelry shows. The outer islands, as they are known, were then not built up as they are today and there were few jewelers on the outer islands that offered Hawaiian Heirloom Jewelry and those that did asked very high prices. As a Hawaiian jewelry manufacturer we could offer people much lower prices directly from the manufacturer.

We traveled to all the outer islands, Kauai, Maui, the big island of Hawaii, Lanai and Molokai several times yearly. I always enjoyed traveling to Molokai because we would hold our jewelry show in Kaunakakai where my friend Renee Ainoa owned a general store. We would display our Hawaiian jewelry samples in Renee’s store and service her customers. In those days Hawaii still had sugar and pineapple plantations and when the whistle would blow indicating it was time for lunch, the women plantation workers would come to Renee’s store to see the new Hawaiian jewelry samples that we had brought with us.

One of her customers was an elderly Hawaiian lady named Minerva Keawe. Minerva would come to buy from Renee’s general store and occasionally buy a piece of Hawaiian jewelry as a gift for her children and grandchildren. Afterwards she would sit with Renee and me and talk about the Hawaii that she remembered. On some of her visits she would prepare lunch and bring it for us all to enjoy. I always enjoyed visiting with Minerva and she and I became quite close. On one visit to Molokai, Minerva told me that she was going to give me a Hawaiian name when we visited Molokai again.

On our next visit Minerva came to our jewelry show and while we were speaking she presented me with a piece of paper which on it she had written the Hawaiian name that she gave me. The name was “Kou u’i mino aka” which Minerva explained means the “beauty of your smile”. It was such a nice and wonderful gesture on her part and I cried with joy.

Later, my husband knowing how much the Hawaiian name that Minerva gave me meant to me, made me a Hawaiian bracelet with “Kou u’i mino aka” engraved on it for Christmas. I’ve treasured it ever since.

Minerva passed away shortly after giving me my Hawaiian name. I think of her often, missing our visits with each other and each time I wear my Hawaiian bracelet bearing the Hawaiian name “Kou u’i mino aka” I always think of our visits to Molokai and my dear friend Minerva Keawe.

Mahalo and aloha from Hawaii,

Colette Aoki

Designs 'N Gold

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Designs N Gold announces its new process of creating Japanese family crest jewelry using traditional family Japanese Kamon

Designs N Gold, a Hawaiian jewelry manufacturer based in Honolulu has announced its new process to turn Japanese family crest into pendants, rings, bracelets and other items of jewelry, using the family's traditional Japanese Kamon design.

Kamon was born in the Japanese tradition and cultural climate and is the symbol of a family or a group. In addition, a symbol similar to the family crest is an emblem of national as well as local government bodies including prefecture, city, town and so forth, uniquely designed in consideration of the tradition and cultural background specific to the respective region. Also, religious facilities like shrines, Buddhist temples, various enterprises, educational organizations like universities, colleges, high schools etc. have got their own emblems designed to represent their own tradition and background, and they are regarded as important properties of their own. In Japan, there are as many as 30,000 different family crests. Most of them are images of plants followed by images of animals. This could explain that the traditional Japanese way of life had been closely associated with the natural surroundings. It appears that by drawing various images of nature that were seen or used in people's everyday life for usage as decorative articles for clothes, furniture etc. and with the repeated use of such images, gradually it became the family symbol or crest. This is probably how the Japanese family crest was born.

Designs N Gold also offers Japanese Family Crest Research to those families who do not know their Japanese Kamon. "

"Those families that we have created Kamon jewelry items for are very happy and excited to have a symbol of their heritage in a form that they can wear and eventually give to their children and grandchildren" commented Colette Aoki, the owner of Designs N Gold. Ms. Aoki also commented that "Designs N Gold also offers Japanese Family Crest Research to those families who do not know their Japanese Kamon."

"My name is K. Nishitsuji and I ordered two kamon pendants from you. I just want to thank you so much. They are just beautiful and my niece and I appreciate how beautiful it is. We have wanted this pendant for a long time. Thanks again" wrote K. Nishitsuji of Fullerton CA. and K. Nakashima of Honolulu Hawaii wrote "I just wanted to Thank you very much for creating a dream come true. I ordered the double sided Japanese family crest and when I received it, I fell in love with the work that you did. The workmanship on the two mons came out perfect and don't know how I could ever thank you for making this happen.
Everyone who had seen my family crests can't believe the workmanship that was done on it and I am proud to say that Designs 'N Gold has created it. I wear it proudly and haven't taken it off since receiving it.
Again, a big, hug mahalo to you for making this a dream come true!!!"

About Designs N Gold - The owner of Designs N Gold, Colette Aoki, has been in the jewelry business in Hawaii since 1976. Over that period she has designed jewelry for thousands of clients in Hawaii as well as worldwide. In 1985 she acquired the jewelry manufacturer, Designs N Gold, which gave her the ability to control the entire jewelry making process from design to finished product. Designs N Gold's expert jewelers and engravers create each piece of Hawaiian jewelry including pendants, earrings, bracelets, and wedding rings. Contact 98-1277 Kaahumanu Street, Suite: 106-339 Aiea,Hawaii 96701Tel Local: 808-484-2699 Tel Outer Island & Mainland: 800-343-5846Web: http://www.designsngold.com Email: caoki@designsngold.com