April 21st, 2012 / posted by paularath

Kolohe Gurl bangles feature shells and pearls at the heart of the plumeria. Photos courtesy of Kolohe Gurl.

As a marriage and grief therapist, Renee Rokero of Kailua spends much of her time helping others. During her personal time, she creates Kolohe Gurl Jewelry as her own therapy. “Both my clinical work and Kolohe Gurl allow me to create and give me the freedom to have my own schedule. One allows me to shape and manipulate people in a positive way and the other allows me to shape and manipulate precious metal wire,” Renee said.

Kolohe means “mischievous or naughty” in Hawaiian, a reflection on Renee’s childhood memories.

Kolohe Gurl cuffs, necklaces and earrings reflect the joy Renee feels as she makes them. Light and airy, they pair perfectly with our island lifestyle and way of dressing.

Each pair of Kolohe Gurl earrings is one-of-a-kind.

Hand crafted jewelry is a natural choice for Renee. She grew up in a creative family that shared many projects, “Both my parents are artistic types and growing up we just made everything. All kinds of stuff. Whatever was the ‘in’ thing, we did as a family: glass blowing, macrame, fimo, stained glass, bird cages, curtains, clothing. ”

It was her love of soldering, which she learned with the family during their stained glass period, that lead her to create the first Kolohe Gurl piece, a plumeria anklet, about two years ago. She chose  plumeria as her theme because of its simple beauty.  “Everyone loves a plumeria,” Renee said. “I sketch and paint plumerias so it was a natural thing for me to make anything plumeria. Roses are too layered; I haven’t figured out how to do that yet. I’m prototyping the pikake flower. Tiare is too uniform for me.”

 

Each silver or gold blossom is hand cut, hand shaped and hand hammered. Renee doesn’t use a stencil or mold, it’s all freehand. That means every piece is a bit different and one-of-a-kind. “I don’t do casting because my eye aesthetically doesn’t get drawn to the uniform look. I love shaping them.”

Butterflies take on a beachy vibe with shells dangling from them.

Renee has added delicate butterflies to her jewelry designs and has found they are extremely labor intensive. “Butterflies require 30 soldering joints and the butterfly earrings are 50-plus soldering joints,” she explained. By comparison, a plumeria requires six joints and it takes her an hour to make a single plumeria.

Always seeking to innovate, Renee is currently working on a dragon cuff, appropriate for 2012, the Year of the Dragon, “That will go on the upper arm and crawl up toward the shoulder like a tattoo,” she explained. An animal lover, she has three cats and three dogs, who keep her company while she creates her jewelry. She would like to create cat and a dog designs but her current prototypes “Don’t capture what I have in my mind,” so she’s still working on them.

A sexy take on the prim plumeria.

Kolohe Gurl Jewelry is fashioned from sterling silver and 14K gold with pearls, shells and semi-precious stones.  It is sold exclusively at Riches Kahala. Prices range from $58 – $334. Find Riches at www.richeshawaii.com or call 737-3303.

A Native Hawaiian, Renee will participate in the MAMO Wearable Art show next month at the Hawaii Theatre. www.maoliartsmonth.org. I highly recommend this fashion show. It’s unlike any other show seen in Hawaii – or anywhere else in the world. The music, stage sets, lighting, movement and dance are all really exciting. Get there if you can!

– Paula Rath

A charming necklace by Kolohe Gurl.

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Renee Rokero
April 23rd, 2012 at 7:46 am

What a beautiful write-up Paula! How did you know I was so “kolohe” as a child? He, he, you must have talked with my hippie mom! Mahalo, Renee.

Carol
April 25th, 2012 at 3:47 am

I purchased one of Renee’s plumeria necklaces at Riches and it’s stunning. Everyone asks where I found it.

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