* November 2017 Marks the 30th Anniversary of Black Coral as Hawaii’s State Gem *
HONOLULU (October 30, 2017) – Nearly 60 years ago, Maui Divers opened in Lahaina, Maui, offering underwater excursions to island visitors. A fateful diving expedition in the deep waters off the Molokai Channel led to the discovery of Hawaiian black coral in 1958.
Intrigued by the beauty of this rare ocean treasure and its ability to hold a remarkable mirror polish, Maui Divers began designing, manufacturing and selling Hawaiian black coral jewelry in 1959. Today, Maui Divers Jewelry continues to work with Federal and State agencies to ensure any harvesting of precious corals is done with minimal impact and allows for sustainability.
Corals are formed undersea by microscopic animals called coral polyps. These tiny, soft-bodied creatures form minute, hard shells. As a colony grows, it takes on complex branching, tree-like forms which allows the maximum number of polyps to be fed by the nutrients in the water.
Precious corals are deep-water corals, which means they do not form reefs. Hawaii’s black coral fishery is managed by the state of Hawaii with input from the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council. Size and weight limits have been implemented to ensure continued sustainability of the resources.
Successful management strategies require sustainable yield methods. As such, only large mature trees nearing the end of their natural life cycle are harvested, which allows for future growth of new corals. Trees harvested for Maui Divers must meet the highest of these standards with a minimum size of one-inch diameter base and four feet in height. This ensures that genetic diversity is maintained and that the next generation of Hawaiian Black Coral is spawned before the old growth thinning occurs.
“Mature colonies can take 50 years to grow, so to ensure the future of Hawaiian Black Coral, Maui Divers strictly adheres to both federal and state regulations that the company helped to establish, prohibiting the harvesting of immature colonies,” said President & CEO Bob Taylor. “In this way, sustainability and the growth of precious Hawaiian Black Coral are supported.”
Maui Divers Jewelry features an extensive collection of black coral jewelry, including bracelets, earrings, rings, necklaces and pendants. Next month, Maui Divers will introduce a new black coral Endless Ocean Collection in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the state of Hawaii’s designation of black coral as its official gem.