Honolulu (KHON2) – 6-Time Grammy nominee Amy Hānaiali’i shined on the red carpet with a custom cape that was handmade by Maui Divers Jewelry to honor her family geneaology, which inspired her nominated album, Kalawai’anui.
“I could not have asked for a better piece of jewelry to wear for the Grammy awards this year,” says Amy. “It serves as a reminder that my kūpuna are always by my side.”
Her family was by her side in Los Angeles to chant during the special gift presentation from Maui Divers Jewelry’s Executive Vice President, Cole Slater.
The cape is made of red coral, black coral, and golden mother of pearl and was painstakingly designed with input from Amy’s cousin, Designer Kumu Micah Kamohoalii, who also designed Amy’s Grammy gown.
Amy shared a photo on her Instagram account, saying, “This beautiful pendant made for me by the team at Maui Divers Jewelry is a replica of the cape worn by my tutu high chief Kalawai’anui. My 15th studio album, titled Kalawai’anui, was inspired by high chief and my tutu known as the “hidden Ali’i.” Mahalo to the entire team at Maui Divers Jewelry for all of the aloha that was put into making this treasure.”
The pendant itself is made of red coral, black coral, and golden mother of pearl and it took many hours of work to get it just right for Amy in time for her to wear it for the Grammys.
Coral represents the “beginning of the beginning” and symbolizes the evolution of Hawaiians as descendants, along with serving as a symbol of protection.
Amy was moved to tears as the cape was put on her neck by family.
The unique and meaningful pendant received attention from national jewelry publication, JCK Magazine, which singled out the custom creation for Amy Hānaiali’i.
“With a nod to Hawaiian royalty, the pendant was made to mimic the pattern of an ancestral cape, using Hawaiian black coral, red coral, and golden mother-of-pearl inlay,” writes Brittany Siminitz. “The result is an incredibly gorgeous piece that not only looks cool, but is meaningful to its wearer as well.”
Amy invited Living808 host Tannya Joaquin to talk exclusively at her Los Angeles Penthouse over her Hānaiali’I brand Tiny Bubbles champagne.
Background from Maui Divers Jewelry:
The ‘ahu ‘ula for Amy Hanaiali’i was built on the foundation of the existing 50mm cape pendant from Maui Divers Jewelry. An extra 14k gold insert was cast and soldered in to the center of the pendant to create the Hawaiian Black Coral and gold collar that is unique to Amy’s version of the pendant. In total, 36 separate pieces of black coral, red coral and golden mother-of-pearl were cut and shaped to recreate the cape of Kalawai’anui. The red coral piece in the bottom center of the pendant is cut to resemble the shape of a lei o mano, to symbolize the protection of her kupuna.
The use of both red and black corals in the cape (instead of other beautiful inlay materials such as red spiny oyster) was in deference to theKumulipo (“beginning-in-deep-darkness”) chant, a creation story of the Ali’i that was ancient by the time that Hawai’i Maoli first encountered Captain James Cook. In the 2000-line chant, coral is described the first stone in the foundation of the Earth itself and the genesis of all life in the oceans and on land. Queen Liliuokaliani called the chant a “genealogical prayer” which traced the ancestry of the Hawaiian people back through time past the births of the Gods to the inception of life in the universe. The cape of Kalawai’anui is a relic that links Amy Hanaiali’i and her ‘ohana to their origins with their kupuna.