Boaters take note: These Maori necklaces come with carved symbols purported to help guarantee safe passage over water for kayakers. That’s according to Sean West, a 21-year-old kayaker and whitewater raft guide from Asheville, N.C., who founded Wanderer Imports LLC (www.wandererimports.com) to bring the charms to the U.S.
Working with a group of independent Balinese artisans, West began importing the necklaces — which come in several designs — this year. They sell for about $20 apiece, which includes shipping.
Wanderer Imports Hei Matau design necklace
West has worked his way up from selling necklaces out of his trunk to now providing the jewelry to outdoors outfitters and online.
The necklaces are crafted from cow bone, which is then polished by the Balinese artisans. Over time, when worn extensively, the pendant will turn a golden color as it absorbs “some of the wearer’s essence,” according to West.
See the entire Maori Bone Necklace lineup here: www.wandererimports.com
Maori woman circa 1890