As owner/designer of Nalukai jewelry, Big Island resident Tricia McCarthy has found a way to inspire others. The collection, which launched two years ago, is built around positive mantras and features inspirational words in both English and Hawaiian, such as Believe, Strength and Harmony. There are styles for both women and men, ranging in price from $125 to $6,800 for its yellow diamond signature piece.

Born and raised in New Jersey, as a child McCarthy often spent her summers in Hawaii with her family. She fell in love with the natural beauty and culture of the Islands, and later returned for her wedding to husband Steve on Maui, and eventually the couple decided to make the Big Island their home.

But the inspiration that started Nalukai came after her sister-in-law Laura fought and survived breast cancer twice. “During this time, while undergoing chemotherapy, raising two very young daughters and working full time, Laura had a mantra: Believe,” shares McCarthy, a longtime attorney and nonprofit consultant. “Laura came to the Big Island during her chemotherapy treatments to heal with her family.”


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Aileen Kunewa: Nalukai ‘Annie' bracelet in rose gold $275, ‘Annie' bracelet in yellow gold $275, ‘Caroline' necklace in yellow gold $295, ‘Caroline' necklace in rose gold $195, small round ‘Move Forward/I Mua' necklace in yellow gold $185, onyx and jade beaded earrings in yellow gold $175, emerald ‘Infinity' band ring in yellow gold $350, and large round ‘Move Forward/I Mua' ring in rose gold $195

As McCarthy explains, the experience led her to think how, on any given day, we each can use a mantra — whether going through good times or bad. She also wanted to include a piece of Aloha and the culture of Hawaii, so she started designing and incorporating the Hawaiian word for each of the English mantras she believed would resonate with people.

Because of its popularity, Nalukai now also offers apparel with the same mantras in English and Hawaiian, available for men, women and babies. In the spring, it plans to introduce a collection of pieces with new mantras, priced under $100.

There also is a Pretty in Pink collection, with a portion of the profits benefitting Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and an America’s Bravest collection benefitting services to returning injured veterans.

Nalukai can be found at and at various fine retailers throughout the Islands, including on Oahu at Tommy Bahama and The Kahala Spa at The Kahala Hotel & Resort. For more information, call 415-401-8140.

photos by Nathalie Walker // page design by Kamele Eskaran