Where to Buy Ni’ihau Shell Leis

Niihau Shell Leis - Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) : Heather Goodman : @hbgoodie
Photo courtesy of the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Heather Goodman / @hbgoodie

Ni’ihau shell leis are one of the most prized souvenirs you can bring home from Hawaii; the queens and princesses of Hawaii are often depicted wearing leis made of the three different types of tiny, precious pupu ‘o Ni’ihau shells (source). Today, the craft of lei-making with Ni’ihau shells is protected thanks to a law enacted by the Hawaii state legislature in 2004 (source). If you want to buy jewelry or leis made with pupu ‘o Ni’ihau, you can ask any shop to provide documentation that the work is authentic. This includes both online and at gift shops across Hawaii.

Here’s where you can purchase authentic Ni’ihau shell leis:

Online

Aloha Kahelelani (niihaushell-leis.com)
Kauai Curators (kauaicurators.com)
Maui Hands (mauihands.com, also at their locations across Maui)

Kauai

Havaiki Oceanic and Tribal Art Gallery, Hanalei
Hawaiian Trading Post, Koloa
JJ Ohana, Hanapēpē
Kaua‘i Museum Gift Shop, Līhue
Mariko, Hanapēpē
Niihau Helicopters, Kaumakani

Oahu

Bishop Museum Shop Pacifica, Honolulu
Haʻaheo Hawaiian Crafts, Honolulu
Honolulu Academy of Arts Gift Shop, Honolulu
Nā Mea Hawai‘i, Honolulu

Maui

Maui Hands, Kāʻanapali, Lahaina, Pāʻia, or Makawao
Maui Ocean Center, Māʻalaea

The Big island

Harbor Gallery, Kawaihae

Each of these locations offers Ni’ihau shell leis that should be documented and authentic. As each item made with pupu ‘o Ni’ihau is unique, you may not find many choices but you will certainly find beautiful items across a range of prices.