One Maui jeweler is offering hundreds of dollars worth of free jewelry repair services to people whose sentimental gold and jewels were tarnished or damaged in the wildfires last year.
The generosity and resilience of the Maui islanders has been inspiring in the aftermath of the wildfires, and jeweler Omi Chamdi, owner of No Ka ‘Oi Jewelers in Kahului, is a perfect example of this.
Chamdi told NPR he got the idea after being moved by stories of jewelers repairing pieces in the aftermath of the Californian wildfires in 2018.
“These are not just ordinary items, these are the most precious possessions that people go back to the ruins and dig through the rubble to find,” he said. “That’s why I feel this is something I want to do and must do, because this is within my expertise.”
No Ka ‘Oi has repaired over 150 pieces of jewelry and has another 300 objects sent in by residents who had jewelry boxes and safes burnt up in the fires. Diamonds and other precious stones are mostly immune to the effects of fire, but gold can be severely tarnished or disfigured, with settings falling apart and stones tumbling down into the darkness.
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In such cases, soldering, polishing, laser cleaning, or rhodium plating might be required to restore the shine, and it might cost a person $150 or more. But Chamdi is doing it all out of pocket.
Chamdi said that people have routinely brought in pieces that took them days to find amid the ashes of their homes and possessions. For example, NPR shared the story of one Lahaina resident, Michelle Quirk, who used a shovel to dig through the ashes of her house in order to find 6 rings belonging to her great-grandmother—No Ka ‘Oi restored all of them.
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“Just finding the rings honestly has helped me emotionally,” Quirk said. “Before, I couldn’t even really talk about it or understand what happened. Then once those rings were found, it gave me hope.”
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