Hilton Niau

I am from Niihau, a place of wonder. This tiny island, named the “forbidden” island, off the
coast of Kauai, remains Hawaiian, it’s traditions and culture intact.
The families of Niihau speak Hawaiian, farm, fish, and weave.
They are artisans, most renowned for their shell jewelry craftsmanship.
I am a 4 th generation Niihau shell jewelry maker. Growing up, I was drawn to the beach, it’s
shells and the ocean every day. My mother taught me collect, sort and string leis.
My parents gave me the middle name “Kalanipio”, which means capturing water on the sand.
Perhaps, I was always destined to be an artist, to keep my heritage alive, and practice my
ancestors’ Niihau shell jewelry techniques.
I strive to blend traditional shell making styles with my own concepts and designs. It is my goal
to showcase each shell, it’s color and luster, at it’s best. These shells require delicate handling
and countless hours of sorting and preparing to create each piece.
I give thanks to my mom, Wanda Kanahele, my father, Moria Niau, and God for imparting the
inspiration and love that has allowed me to share my Niihau jewelry pieces with collectors
around the world.