This article is a part of series of articles about my 2017 trip to Hawaii. Please see the table of contents that contains links to other chapters.
There is one shopping plaza we found in Waikiki that, for some reason, seemed to be packed with offices and stores managed by Japanese people. It’s multi-level, around 6 or 7 floors, and even the design of the first-floor lobby (where you get on the elevator) reminded me somehow of the cramped buildings in Japan.
The most memorable of these stores was called “Lala: Power Stone Company” where all sorts of spherical, hand-processed stones are sold as bracelets, necklaces, and other types of jewelry. Besides many pre-made items, you can also have bracelets custom made by the owner by selecting any combinations of stones you like, and he will offer suggestions to help guide your design if desired.
The owner sources his materials from around the word and does the processing needed to make these stones really shine. There is a wide variety of stones, with things like typical birthstones to more rare items like crystals with water embedded. Each is claimed to have some special power or ability, like assisting to improve self-expression or health. The prices go from $10-$20 all the way up to $500+ for the most rare or powerful. There were even some with simple pictures embedded in them in materials that looked like gold or silver. Some examples of pictures were whale tales, turtles, and other stuff you might associate with Hawaii.
The owner was a really friendly, positive guy who seemed to love his job, and we spoke to him awhile about his shop and the power crystals. He has been working with gemstones for over 20 years and has some certifications related to gemstones, one of which we saw posted on the wall in his store, and his knowledge of crystals was astounding. We spoke to him in Japanese the entire time, and he admitted his English abilities were a little weak because he could get by with mostly Japanese in his daily life in Hawaii. This is yet another testament to the proportion of Japanese culture there.
We ended up having two power stone bracelets custom made by him right there in the store with a mix of materials. Although one stone can be fairly cheap, typically making a bracelet requires at least 10 or more of them, so as you can imagine the price can jump up quickly. We generally adopted the strategy of choosing a bunch of small, expensive stones, with a few more pricey ones, and ended up with one bracelet around $100 and the other around $150.
Whether you believe in the effects of these power stones or not, they are produced with materials that are valued around the world, and can result in very beautiful works of wearable art. We saw one or two other places in Waikiki that made vaguely similar crystal-laden bracelets, but the quality of them just wasn’t the same and there was less variety to what was being offered.
If you look around online and in some of the Japanese travel magazines available free around Waikiki, you may be able to find a discount coupons for Lala. Just be aware that some are limited to certain products and may not apply to the custom made-bracelets, which I feel are the highlight of this store.