Demand drops for Hawaiian gold bracelets - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Demand drops for Hawaiian gold bracelets

Pat Breeden Pat Breeden

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - 

The labor is painstaking. The results are beautiful.

Hawaiian gold bracelets are works of art and a mainstay of Hawaiian jewelry. But that mainstay has fallen victim to a modern day gold rush.

Two years ago an eight millimeter gold bracelet cost $300 to $400.

"Now you're up to $900, $1,000," said Pat Breeden, owner of Royal Hawaiian Heritage Jewelry.

As the price of gold has sky-rocketed, his company has had to raise prices, making it harder to sell product. The fallout hasn't been pretty.

"We've closed a couple stores that weren't producing," he said. "We had to layoff quite a few people to keep up with what was coming in. If you didn't have it coming in how do you make your ends meet?"

Merrill Lynch director George Kaluhiokalani said the US dollar and developing countries dictate gold prices.

"If they see it as the dollar declining you'll see that the gold prices move up higher, especially if foreign countries buy more gold, you'll see it go up and that appears to be the trend right now," he said.

The trend with retailers has been to sell more silver. The percentage at Royal Hawaiian Heritage used to be 90 percent gold sales and 10 percent silver. It's flip-flopped.

"I want to see the price of gold drop considerably. I don't think it's going to happen," Breeden said.

Breeden has run his business through other gold rushes but this one is by far the most challenging as he's watched the high price of gold decrease demand for what used to be his hottest seller.

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