The legendary Koa wood, native to the islands of Hawaii, has honored heritage, is highly revered and considered sacred. The beautiful grain of the wood is renowned for Tits deep, rich colors and varied patterns. The prized Koa wood is an ancient symbol of wisdom and strength with rich history surrounding the origin of this mighty breed of tree. Although no-one actually knows exactly where the Koa tree comes from, it is most conceivable that it could have sprouted from the lava of erupting volcanoes on the islands. It is amazing to think that a lone Koa seed erupted into a forest of trees that canopied the islands, becoming a lifeline for human inhabitants and the ecosystem and providing sophisticated culture and prosperity to the native settlers. A fact that is known is that the Koa tree does not grow naturally anywhere else on the earth outside Hawaii.
KOA IN BATTLE
During the time of King Kamehameha The Great, weapons and canoes were created from the wood of the Koa trees proliferating on Big Island at the time. In the Hawaiian language, the word Koa means warrior and the wood from the trees used by these warriors became synonymous with those warriors and was called “koa”. During the late 1700s King Kamehameha traveled up through the Hawaiian island chain with his warriors and united all the islands under his rule. There is no doubt about the significance that Koa wood played in this great quest by the king to bring the islands together.
HOW THE WOOD FROM THE KOA TREE IS ACQUIRED
The wood from the rare Koa tree with its unique variety in the grain is highly sought after by manufacturers of wooden articles and jewelry. Due to its exclusive location (Koa trees do not grow naturally anywhere else in the world) Koa wood has become one of the most expensive woods in the world. Because of the beauty of the wood of these trees, they were in danger of being over harvested and have been devastated by cattle and development , however, they have never been in danger of becoming extinct. Nevertheless, it has become illegal to harvest the wood by cutting down the trees and Koa wood may only be procured from previously dead and fallen trees. Landowners and the State of Hawaii are extremely strict regarding the harvesting of Koa wood and adopt self-regulation as standard practice.
KOA WOOD CATEGORIES
Very large Koa trees can grow up to a few hundred feet with diameters of over ten feet with a lifespan of 50 – 80 years. Koa wood has been categorized into three grades by the wood market according to its unique characteristics:
1.Select Grade Koa – straight grain with a rich color
2.Curly Grade Koa – variable grain with a wavy texture and rich colors with 3d highlights
3.Premium Grade Curly Koa (or Tiger Koa) – extreme color with translucent tones and 3d highlights
Koa wood has become extremely coveted for its unsurpassed quality and beauty of its unique grain. The curly grade wood has become tremendously popular for use as inlays in jewelry such as Koa and titanium rings as they display variable texture in the grain and amazing 3d color. Our Koa wood rings are one-of-a-kind as they reflect the unique characteristics of the particular tree and the environment it was harvested from. Ownership of a Koa wood ring and knowledge of the importance and history of the characteristics of the wood inlay will reflect your unique personality and distinctive taste.