Koa Kai Jewels

My dream started in very early childhood. I was naturally drawn to the outside world and objects in nature fascinated me. My love for searching and looking grew into a beautiful collection from which I began to make necklaces. I have always had a natural and curious eye for color, textures, fashion, and design, so I was instinctively drawn to the beauty of things.

After moving to Maui, with the love of creating jewelry in my heart, I took a jewelry making class at the Hui No’eau in Makawao. I found that I easily took to the whole creative process and began making many pieces! Friends started noticing my designs, and one day Maureen Gildersleeve gave me the opportunity to sell and display my very first designs in her boutique at Mangala Yoga, in Makawao.

My jewelry making is not just an artistic expression for me, but very much part of my spiritual practice. My two boys, Kai and Kekoa, from which the ‘Koa Kai Jewels’ name was born, are both extremely artistic and creative. They both help take part with the process. For example, my oldest, Kai, makes all my ceramic bowls that I use as a part of my jewelry displays for the rings and keiki bangles.

My sons also lovingly give their time by helping me collect shells from the beach and put good wishes and thoughts into the piece that will benefit the person who is wearing the jewelry. Chanting Om Mani Padre Hum while hammering the beautiful texture into the wire is a ritual that I do to reinforce intention, instilling a prayer into each piece, in the hopes to bring peace and happiness to the individual wearing it.

I pull my inspiration for designs, colors, and shapes from elements that we all often see in nature. This vision helps my creations become reality, which then become beautiful pieces of unique wearable art!

My future vision for Koa Kai Jewels to flourish and grow is to further market my business and website to create awareness where it can naturally develop and expand outward into stores and boutiques, both locally and on the mainland. I would also like to continue developing the personal relationships that I have built up with my current clientele. I love receiving their encouragement and feel honored when they refer their friends to the Koa Kai Jewels website. I am starting to participate and exhibit Koa Kai Jewels at local festivals, and in turn, I hope that this develops into many more festivals and craft fairs around the Island of Maui. And I was thrilled to be the first vendor asked to join the Mauimama online Market Place! Happy Mother’s Day – I hope my story inspires you to go for your dreams.

Image Credit: Cadencia Photography

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Melissa Reyes is a Maui mama with two boys. You will often see her outside in nature, taking a beach walk, or playing with her husband and children. She holds a passionate love for nature, which inspires her to create her jewelry and incorporates it as an important part of her spiritual practice. She is inspired by the beauty of nature around her to create her unique pieces. To find out more go to www.koakaijewels.com


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