Donna Shimazu is an expert goldsmith who has brought the Midas Touch to Hawaiiís flora and fauna. Diamonds, pearls and coral accent her piecesómany of which she creates for Maui Diversóbut the real luster in her work comes from her aesthetic precision and her ability to craft precious metals into work that is pure gold.
HH: What rules do you make for yourself as a jewelry designer?
DS: Comfort is essential. If you have to hold your neck in an awkward position to wear a necklace, then itís probably a piece of sculpture rather than jewelry.
How does Hawaii influence you?
The structure of plants and flowers, the exotic beauty of sea life: These motifs are in my work. I also draw inspiration from my Japanese heritage. I collect books on netsuke, ojime, lacquer ware, armor and textiles to use as references.
Any favorite customer stories?
As long as I make someone happy with a piece, then itís a good story. Oh, but there are special moments: When my friendís babies were born, I made them silver baby spoons. We joked that they had to be born with silver spoons in their mouths.