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Maui Jewelry Store Restores Fire-Damaged Jewelry

Pieces have ranged from Hawaiian bangles to a Chanel zipper.




pieces of jewelry
Maui’s No Ka ’Oi Jewelers restored jewelry pieces recovered from burn zones in Lahaina, such as these before-and-afters below.

FOR OMI CHAMDI, OWNER of No Ka ‘Oi Jewelers in Kahului, HI, making connections has always been an important part of how he does business. The former diamond wholesaler of 30 years credits such connections for his ability to serve such a wide range of services to his customers after only three years with a storefront. No Ka ‘Oi does it all, from custom pieces to engagement rings.

Chamdi had once lived in Maui for a few years and knew that he wanted to return to raise his family there. Since moving permanently to the island 20 years ago, Chamdi found a special niche in the local market, serving a community where many retail jewelry stores, once plentiful, had closed or moved off-island.

When flames engulfed the neighboring town of Lahaina last August, Chamdi, whose home and storefront were both left unscathed, felt a need to help his mourning community.


“The idea to restore people’s jewelry came out of that deep desire to help people that have lost everything. You know, we’ve been fortunate.” he says. “Our house was not burned, but in the horizon, we did see fires.”

A quick post on Facebook, in which he offered to restore jewelry pieces recovered from the burn zones for free, catalyzed an initiative that has allowed Lahaina residents to find a bit of light in the burnt darkness. Chamdi says he felt a sense of personal honor when he was able to reveal the pieces at the end of his restorations: “When we open up that tissue paper and present the item … and now it’s completely restored. Yeah. Incredible.”

Chamdi contracted with two jewelers, one in Maui and one in Los Angeles, to do the restorations out of his own pocket. A fire-damaged piece was first put in a magnetic tumbler to take the initial burned coat off the piece. Then, depending on the type and extent of damage, polishing, prong replacing and rhodium plating were completed. Chamdi says that if it’s made out of precious metals, they can restore it to its original form.

Pieces have ranged from Hawaiian bangles and other culturally significant pieces to a piece of a Chanel zipper.

Omi Chamdi

Omi Chamdi

“Jewelry really becomes your most precious possession. It’s your connection to so many things,” says Chamdi, who lost precise count of how many pieces he’s restored but estimates the number to be between 600 and 700.

It all comes back to the relationships, which Chamdi has fostered not only locally, but nationally, as well. He describes the close-knit feeling of his community as familial, whether that be an actual family of customers coming in for a restoration or simply a feeling of family.

“We have had people that we’ve never met pop their heads through the door and bring a tray of cookies that they’d baked. And it’s just heartwarming.”

After NPR broadcast his story, Chamdi received notes from people far removed from himself or the region to thank him for his work.

Chamdi says he is honored by the opportunity to help.


“I feel now I’m a part of the community,” he says. “Unfortunately, it’s through this tragedy that happened, but we’re so proud and so honored to be part of this. It gives people a little bit of hope back when we open up that tissue.

“From day one, my business is in Kahului; it’s always in the local community. That’s who I cater to.”

No Ka ‘Oi, translating to “the greatest,” is often used in regard to Maui. As such, the DNA of Maui continues through the restored precious pieces and the name of the company that made it happen.



This Third-Generation Jeweler Was Ready for Retirement. He Called Wilkerson

Retirement is never easy, especially when it means the end to a business that was founded in 1884. But for Laura and Sam Sipe, it was time to put their own needs first. They decided to close J.C. Sipe Jewelers, one of Indianapolis’ most trusted names in fine jewelry, and call Wilkerson. “Laura and I decided the conditions were right,” says Sam. Wilkerson handled every detail in their going-out-of-business sale, from marketing to manning the sales floor. “The main goal was to sell our existing inventory that’s all paid for and turn that into cash for our retirement,” says Sam. “It’s been very, very productive.” Would they recommend Wilkerson to other jewelers who want to enjoy their golden years? Absolutely! “Call Wilkerson,” says Laura. “They can help you achieve your goals so you’ll be able to move into retirement comfortably.”

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