Akalei Designs is Hawaii's only designer of handcrafted Kumihimo beaded Hawaiian Lei. With over 100 unique designs we were recently awarded “Best Beaded Lanyard” from The American Kumihimo Society (2023) for our complex braid structures. In addition our silk Hawaiian necklace is being showcased in a commercial for the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement Pop-Up Makēkē Market. And another positive compliment was three of our designs were selected in a juried art exhibit in Oahu by The Hawaiian Handweavers Hui. This public recognition reflects how our unique and high quality necklace lei are gaining attention. All our designs are handcrafted on Maui. We are unique in that we are able to incorporate aspects of floral lei into modern forever lei using glass beads with designs normally only seen in the shell lei made famous on the island of Ni’iHua (The Forbidden Island).
Blue Luster Mini Drops Lilikoi Necklace Lei with Matte Black 22.5”
Luster Blue and Black are unique yet tasteful in this handcrafted beaded necklace lei resulting in a colorful new Hawaiian Lei design that will last you forever. These rare luster blue mini dagger beads are strung into a unique necklace lei. These beads fall beautifully around the neck and are comfortable to wear for casual or elegant events.
Although lei are typically made from flowers, leaves, and other natural fibers, these are made using blue and black glass beads sent to Maui from around the globe to make this "Forever Lei". There are hundreds of beads precisely loaded onto 8 nylon fiber braiding cords that are then woven together in a technique called “Kongo Gumi” or strong braid, with one bead at a time added and snuggled into the design to create this elegant necklace.
Akalei is the Hawaiian word for "bead reflections" which truly describes this unique style only available here on Maui. We specialize in designing a wide range of modern yet classic Hawaiian looking lei
The weaving of beads requires many hours of braiding on a Japanese wooden stand called a “Marudai”. These necklaces feel wonderful to wear and require little to almost no care by using a clean dry towel every few months to keep dust free and bright. Due to the durability of the glass beads this necklace will last for years. You can also mix and match with different lengths of similar Lei or try the Forbidden Island inspired necklaces in that collection (see sample photo in this item).
Kumihimo is an ancient Japanese braid making technique that creates beautiful and strong interlaced cords. This art form goes back hundreds of years as braids were made for use in armor of Japanese samurai warriors. In modern times these braids are designed as belts (obijime) used on kimonos.