By Nadine Kam
Nadine Kam photos
Chocolate pearls and red coral are among items for sale in the Lucoral Museum's retail shop on Kuhio Avenue in Waikiki.
Lucoral Museum hosted a pearl party on June 6 in celebration of World Oceans Month. Only a healthy ocean can continue to offer up its many treasures, from vital sea creatures, to the fish and shellfish we eat to the beautiful pearls and shells we collect and wear.
Lucoral Museum founder Flora Lu offered up trays of multi-sized, multi-colored, multi-shaped pearls, remnants of the museum's retail creations, allowing lucky guests to string up their own necklaces or bracelets.
I'd never been to the museum and found it's a great place to visit, with an indoor rock cave featuring mineral and coral displays, and the museum's in the process of devising formal pearl parties for girlfriend getogethers or bridal parties, allowing women to come together for a little talk story and creativity, ending with a piece of beautiful keepsake pearl jewelry. Now that's my kind of party!
The museum's exhibitions demonstrate the sad fate of the ocean and sea beds due to man's lack of foresight.
According to the displays, pearls were gathered at Wai Momi, between 1785 and 1840. Europeans had dubbed the area Pearl Harbor because of the abundance of pearl oysters. But overharvesting and the silting of the harbor led to their extinction. The shop's pearls now come from Taiwan.
Flora Lu created the Lucoral Museum in memory of her mother Lu Hong Kui-Su, as a gift to the children of Hawaii and the world, promoting ocean health and the beauty of its many treasures.
The same thing happened in Kaneohe Bay, once home to edible clams. I thought I was dreaming because as a child I remembered going clamming with my parents, looking for the water spouts in the sand and digging them up, and taking them home in buckets to the dinner table. When I grew up, I wondered if that was a real memory because I don't hear of clams there anymore.
According to fellow Star-Advertiser "Ocean Watch" writer Susan Scott: "In the 1920s several species of clams and oysters were introduced from Japan and North America to Hawaiian waters as a food source. Among these was the Japanese littleneck clam, also known as the Manila clam. Gathering these clams on the mud flats of Kaneohe Bay was a popular activity until 1969, when silt and overharvesting mostly wiped out the beds."
As for the Pearl Harbor pearls, thousands were harvested, but according to the Lucoral Museum, no one knows where they went. None of the world's museums, including Bishop Museum, have a single known Hawaiian pearl in their collections.
For more information about World Ocean Month celebrations in conjunction with Waikiki Aquarium, visit http://www.waquarium.org/worldoceansmonth.html
The Lucoral Museum is at 2414 Kuhio Ave. Open 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mondays to Fridays. Call 808.922.1999 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
These pearl necklaces were destined for Miss Hawaii contestants.
Flora oversees a group of novice pearl designers.
Lynn Cook gathered up these pearls to make a bracelet.
The Lucoral Museum displays pay homage to Hawaii's natural minerals as well as ocean treasures.
Corals on display.