Hawaiian Koa Wood
Part of the Acacia family of trees, Koa is one of the superior textured woods among tropical woods. A native tree of Hawaii, Koa grows to heights of around 100 feet. The best Koa (Acacia koa) grows found at higher elevations, like on the Big Island of Hawaii, taking 50 to 70 years to fully mature.
Different parts of the Big Island yield different hues and colors to the wood. The wood in our fine jewelry is from Honakaa appearing with a dark red look. Some of the wood also comes from Hoonaunau in Kona which has an orange-brown color, and wood harvested in Volcano, in the Puna district, which has a lighter brown coloring.
Koa wood was originally only harvested for the alii class or royalty of Ancient Hawaii. Huge logs were crafted into the sculpted images of gods that are more popularly known, personal containers and ocean canoes for royalty. When the early Hawaiians chose a Koa tree for a royal canoe, they found one which the elepaio bird had not been making a home in.
Koa was also called the Hawaiian Mahogany and used by rich plantation owners for their interiors, and in government buildings for furniture, staircases and other woodworks. Beautiful examples are still on view in places like the Iolani Palace in Honolulu.
Currently, the State of Hawaii has restricted the harvesting of koa wood and implemented koa reforestation projects to help maintain the beautiful wood in Hawaii. Limited in its availability, koa is even more popular in Hawaii now for upscale furniture, woodwork, ukulele, ceremonial bowls and more. Koa continues to be widely recognized as a symbol of prestige and natural beauty.