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Voyagers of the Pacific: The story of Koa wood

For centuries the ancient people who inhabited the earth felt the need to travel to places far away for different reasons. Whether in search of food, shelter, or just curiosity, travel has always existed in one form or another. Ancient civilizations lived in a very different reality than what we are used to today, given that today's technologies were non-existent and resources were more limited. Mother nature provided the key elements that served as a guide and direction towards new horizons.

In the ancient culture of the Pacific, the Polynesians were pioneers in knowing how to take advantage of all the natural elements to find ways to travel. With the help of the stars, the sun, and the tides, these adventurers made it possible to make long journeys to distant lands and learn about different cultures.

Since the most popular way of traveling at the time was by land, creating a way to travel by ocean was a true challenge. Voyages of the Hōkūle'a prove that early Pacific Islanders were skilled voyagers whose connection to water and land knew no bounds.

In the year 1800, the discovery of Koa wood changed everything. This allowed islanders to move around even more so once they started building canoes. The strength and durability of Koa wood's composition made it possible to make boats resistant enough to face any adversity and hostility that the ocean presented to them. Woodworkers quickly began to consider it a prized wood for its great versatility to assemble and create the tools that they needed.

Koa means brave, bold, fearless, valiant, courageous, and strong. The word "koa" in Hawaiian is often used to mean warrior which is how the wood got its name for being so strong and mighty as the fiercest warrior. 

Today this hard wood is still as coveted as when it was first discovered. However, today they are protected by law and cannot be cut down. All the Koa wood you see in the wood collection from Island by Koa Nani has been harvested sustainably from fallen branches. This is the only way that koa wood can legally be used since these trees are generally loved and protected. 

The wood itself ranges from a reddish gold to a dark brown. It can sometimes have a curly appearance that seems almost translucent or shimmery in places. Since it's a natural element being used in jewelry, no two pieces will be identical. 

While there are many other acacia trees throughout much of the world, Koa trees only grow in Hawaii making this wood truly unique. When we started our brand in 1991, we had a vision to design the most beautiful pieces of Koa wood jewelry and accessories. Today, we work with a variety of materials and gems but will always come back to our roots when it comes to authentically made koa wood pieces. Bring home a piece of Hawaii with one of our Koa wood designs. 



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