The Meaning of Puka Shells

by Lynn Wood

Puka shells are found in Hawaii and are recognizable because of the naturally occurring hole found in each one. Because of this hole, the shells are easily made into "good luck" and "well wishes" jewelry.

The Hawaiian Meaning of Puka

The Hawaiian word "puka" means "hole." Puka shells originally contained mollusks who died or were eaten. As the empty shell was knocked about in the ocean, a hole would wear in the weak center of the shell.

Puka Necklaces

Hawaiians typically give puka necklaces to wish the recipient goodwill or good luck. If given to a sailor, a puka necklace is supposed to help bring him home safely.

Puka for Good Luck

Finding puka shells is good luck. The more perfectly symmetrical the shell, the better your luck will be.

About the Author

Lynn Wood is a professional writer who grew up on a dairy farm in rural Missouri. After completing her bachelor's degree in English and journalism at Brigham Young University-Idaho, she stayed there and taught in the university's math department for three years before settling down in Preston, Idaho. Wood now teaches high-school English.

Photo Credits

  • A necklace made of shells. image by Saskia Massink from Fotolia.com