Saturday, March 28, 2009

Hawaiian Perfume Bottles

I was born and raised in Hawaii and I still have a close affinity to all things Hawaiian. Love the food, the music, the flowers and the weather. Of course the laid back, stress-free life-style is pretty attractive in this hustle-bustle world we live in.
I remember when I was young, my mom had these wonderful carved perfume bottles in the shape of flowers, pineapples, palm trees and fish. These perfume bottles and sets were sold in high-end department stores like Liberty House and in specialty shops like Gump’s and Ming’s in the 1940s through the 1950s. Carved and bottled by such names as John Oya, Hula-Lei and Ka-lae, the perfumes were normally packaged in a hapa-pattern box and contained vials of exotic fragrances like pikake, ginger and plumeria.These perfume bottles were typically carved from milo, koa or monkey pod wood, all exotic woods from the Hawaiian Islands. Milo wood is my favorite. It is one of the tropic woods that has beautiful grain and color that is used to make a variety of Hawaiian wood products, especially calabashes and hand-carved figures. It is less common than koa and the ubiquitous monkey-pod. But all of these woods have wonderful warm tones and interesting swirls and burls.Some of the other accessories and tourist items made from these woods include inkwells, salt and pepper sets, serving bowls, lamps and more. We have some pieces online, including the fish above and the perfume bottles below. Click on the photo to view the item details.


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