LEI DESCRIPTION: This is a 3-strand 38" pikake style uliuli (light blue-grey) momi shell lei. The uliuli is a rarer form of the momi (dove) shells. The darker the coloration within each shell type, the rarer and more valuable the shells become. The shell pairs on each strand are graduated from slightly smaller at the top to larger at the base. "Momi" stands for pearl in Hawaiian and refers to the shiny reflective nature of the outside of the shells, which reflect light like a pearl. The highest quality and most reflective of the shells are found on the beaches of Ni'hihau. One of the main reasons the best quality shells are found on Ni'ihau is the fact that there is very little fresh water intrusion (rivers, streams...) that feed into the ocean around Ni'ihau, or even that much rain. The coating on the shells that give them their luster is susceptible to fresh water, which is why it is important to never clean a Ni'ihau lei with fresh water. The luster of the shells show that they are authentic shells from the private island of Ni'ihau. At least 80% of the shells have to come from the island to be considered a true Ni'ihau shell lei. In this case 100% of the shells come from Ni'ihau. The lei contains around 1,554 shells but in reality would have take many more shells to make, depending on the number of shells that broke in the process of preparing them for stringing. Each shell has to be cleaned of sand and punctured by hand.
LEI CONDITION: This is a stunning example of a Ni'ihau pikake style 3-strand lei. The graduation of the shells is expertly done. The luster of the shells is of a very high grade. The shell pairs are expertly matched and tightly woven on all three strands. There is little to no thread showing between the shell pairs. The matching of the color of the shells is well done. The shells in this lei were properly prepared, with the sand being removed from the side of the shells before stringing. The momi shells are in the medium size range for the shell type. This lei was finished with a granulated cowrie (white cowrie with little bumps or ridges over the top) as well as a second cowrie overlapping. The granulated cowrie has been used as a traditional closure for the lei for a very long time. The granulated cowrie are endemic to the Hawaiian Islands. Overall this is a very great example of a Ni'ihau pikake style lei.
Size: 38" long.
Price: $7,500.00 USD