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Na Hoku takes their name from the Hawaiian phrase ‘Nā Hōkū’, which means ‘the stars’. Ancient Polynesians were master sailors and would navigate using the stars to journey safely. Since 1924, Na Hoku has used that idea to act as a guide for those looking for the perfect piece of diamond jewelry.
With stores located across Hawaii and the US, and some unique Hawaii-inspired designs, they stand out as a potentially interesting place to find quality jewelry. But is this really the case? Read on to find out more in this Na Hoku review.
Being a primarily brick-and-mortar venture, Na Hoku boast a large chain of stores. These can be found on the islands of O'ahu, Maui, Kauaʻi, and the Big Island of Hawaiʻi, but also in Chicago, Denver, Dallas, Florida, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Jose, Pleasanton, Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, Boston, New York, and Washington D.C.
In many reviews I’ve seen, the staff are friendly and welcoming, yet some of the stores fail to truly embody their Hawaiian origins, with interiors often described as ‘drab’.
Their website is accessible and well-designed, and the small videos of Hawaii are undoubtedly pretty and do get you hooked on ideas of an island paradise. The way the jewelry is presented is also good-looking and welcoming, with pieces featured with high-quality imagery and useful descriptions. You can also filter results via product type and price, but this is the extent of that function and could be done a little more intuitively. Being able to search via metal type of setting style is important, and unfortunately Na Hoku fall short here.
The Na Hoku Offering
Na Hoku have a focus on providing jewelry with designs influenced by Hawaii, and support local Hawaiian Jewelry designers in doing so. And you can definitely understand what they’re going for when you view their jewelry. They have a number of Signature Collections that take influence from Hawaiian culture and geography, creating some very unique pieces.
The Ultimate Wave Shimmer Pendant is one of their classic designs, taking influence from the beautiful seas surrounding the islands. Image credit: Na Hoku
While the focus on supporting Hawaiian jewelers is undoubtedly admirable, it does limit the actual amount of jewelry they have available. Their range of wedding and engagement jewelry is quite small, so finding something that you like maybe a little more difficult. That being said, it does make Na Hoku the exclusive sellers of many pieces.
Explore My Other Jeweler Reviews
Na Hoku is just one of an incredibly long list of jewelers you can find in the US. There are almost too many to choose from. So where do you begin to look?
Head to the Diamond Reviews section here at Diamond Expert for my unfiltered take on many of the top diamond sellers operating on the market today. I suggest beginning your search with my Whiteflash review, Brilliant Earth and then James Allen review.
The Quality and Price
This is where Na Hoku falls a little short. First of all, they only have IGI-certified jewelry, which is a certification known throughout the diamond industry for both inconsistent gradings and a tendency to inflate grading scores. This means you could be paying more for jewelry that shouldn’t be so expensive. Choosing an IGI-certified piece is an invitation to waste money. I would always recommend choosing diamonds or pieces that have been certified by either the AGS or GIA.
In terms of quality, the reviews are conflicting. Some state they are happy with what they received, while others find that what they paid and what they got do not match up. In terms of their prices, Na Hoku jewelry seems a little bit too expensive. You can easily find better quality, less costly diamonds and diamond jewelry elsewhere, such as at Whiteflash (round and princess cut diamonds), James Allen (fancy shapes), or Blue Nile (cheaper options).
I find that brick-and-mortar stores to always be more expensive on average than online stores, and that’s usually due to the overheads of running a physical shop, leading to an increased price bracket.
In store, their customer service seems to be adequate. There have been issues of staff simply not knowing enough about diamond jewelry, which can be seen as a big problem, but it is one slightly remedied by developing a good knowledge of the basics yourself.
On top of that, Na Hoku offers a variety of extra benefits:
- Warranty: A three-year warranty is offered with their watches, and a lifetime warranty for other jewelry.
- Refunds: Any refund requested is offered within 21 days, only after the product is returned in the original packaging, including the sales receipt.
- Repairs: They offer services for jewelry inspection and repairs, however non-warranty repairs will cost.
- Shipping: Na Hoku does offer to ship internationally, but you must be deemed to qualify beforehand.
My Final Thoughts
Na Hoku evidently carry some pretty unique pieces, and their focus on bringing Hawaiian designers to the front and center is fantastic. However, they fall short in other areas:
- Their certification is inconsistent.
- Their prices are very high.
- Their diamonds aren’t the highest quality.
My bottom-line recommendation is that you can definitely go and explore one of their stores, but don’t except the best experience or the best piece of jewelry. If you do decide to visit, make sure you’ve brushed up on your diamond knowledge. In my opinion you can get a much better experience and quality of diamond elsewhere. I would highly recommend taking a look at Whiteflash (they specialize in high quality round and princess cuts and now serve lab diamonds, Brilliant Earth (a great place for lab diamonds and James Allen.