This only-in-Hawaii material has a loyal (and royal) following.
Koa is not your run-of-the-mill wood. On the showroom floor of elegant Martin & MacArthur, the price tag on a hefty dining table reads $38,000. While this is one of the more expensive pieces in the Honolulu store, what you pay for is a slice of something special. This rich-brown-colored wood, once harvested for alii (Hawaiian royalty) only, is endemic to these islands.
A single craftsman is commissioned to work on each piece, and that person signs into the wood, says Thelma Alvarado of Martin & MacArthur. The koa for the six-digit table is estimated to be over 80 years old, she says. (The store uses only foraged koa; it does not cut down trees.) “In the 16 years I’ve been here, I’ve only seen a table like this twice.”
Those who spring for furniture get a bonus: a koa tree planted in their name, along with the coordinates to track the growth of the tree.
Prince Albert II of Monaco is a regular. But for the non-alii, we suggest a solid koa pen, starting at about $40.
Photos courtesy of Exploration: Hawaii.