pineapple bead earrings

The Pineapple: More Than Just a Fruit in Hawaii, a Symbol of Hospitality and Aloha Spirit

The Story Behind Pineapple Beads: A Symbol of Hospitality and Friendship

Aloha, Ohana! It's Jamie from The Bead Gallery, Honolulu. With us celebrating International Friendship at the end of July, it's a perfect time to share a short story about our favorite fruit, The Pineapple!!  Pokey on the outside, sweet on the inside, it's a cutie with a lot of fans! Let's hop on a journey of the pineapple, a symbol far richer than its sweet tropical flavor, deeply woven into the fabric of my family's history and life in Hawaii.

pineapple charm bracelet

Pineapple: A Universal Ambassador of Hawaiian Spirit

Hailing from our sunny Hawaiian islands, the sweet pineapple's voyage reaches global corners, carrying a slice of our tropical paradise to tables worldwide. Essentially, each pineapple is a miniature ambassador, taking a piece of our Aloha spirit wherever it goes.

This amazing fruit that could withstand long sea voyages somehow traveled from South America pre-1800s, and became the highlight of Hawaii's top exports along with sugar!  Yes, we like it SWEET on the islands :)

Pineapples: From South American Plantations to Victorian Hospitality

The pineapple's symbolism took root in South American villages where they were displayed at entrances to signal “welcome” to visitors before flourishing in Victorian England designs and Southern plantations in America. When hosts wanted to impress their guests, they would display a pineapple as a centerpiece, signaling their wealth, generosity, and warm welcome.  And, we still use the pineapple as a centerpiece in buffets and get-togethers today!

Adorning furniture and designs of the era, the pineapple became an emblem of warmth, hospitality, and prestige. (Because you had to have money to be able to get a pineapple!)

Extra bonus: After I wrote this, I found this really cool article about the history of the pineapple called The Hidden History of the Housewarming PIneapple.  LOL, I could have just referred you all there!

Make sure to check out the opening photo of a home in Scotland that features an amazing Pineapple that is just GRAND!

The Dole Plantation and Our Pineapple's Journey

The Dole Plantation, a vital part of our island's history, was critical in escalating the pineapple's global journey and developing an easily recognized relationship between Hawaii and pineapples!  If you visit Hawaii, stopover on your way to or from the North Shore and grab a yummy Dole Whip!


A sweet reminder of our past, the plantation is a testament to our enduring worldwide connections through this excellent fruit.


Hang on, I have one more plaque fact!

The pineapple was originally called "anana" which meant "excellent fruit."  While most European countries kept this indigenous name or only modified it slightly, like the French "ananas," the English called it a pineapple because it was tall and prickly like a pinecone, but fleshy and sweet inside like an apple.  PINEAPPLE!

pineapple bracelet in pineapple field

Family, Hard Work, and the Aloha Spirit

Growing up and witnessing my grandparents, aunties and elders working in the pineapple fields for their summer jobs, instilled in me a deep understanding of the Aloha spirit - an ethos of hard work, love, and community. After hearing about their experiences, I never took for granted any job that included a chair, air conditioning, no squatting or heavy lifting - and learned not to complain about what I thought was “hard work”.

This lesson remains a guiding beacon in my life and my work ethic with The Bead Gallery. :).  I'm sure past employees remember me saying, “Counting beads is nothing compared to picking pineapples in the hot sun!”

"It took long, but it had a really cute reward!" - Jason

Another life lesson is growing your own pineapple! It's amazing adaptable and willing to grow from the top of one you just ate… but you just need lots of patience.

I think Jason waited a couple years for this one to come to fruition - aha, showing his ability to play the long game and stay the course in small business life!

jason and his homegrown pineapple

Pineapple Beads: More Than Just Accessories

pineapple charmsOur pineapple beads and charms embody this history and symbolism, connecting you to our vibrant Hawaiian culture, familial dedication, and worldwide love for this special fruit. Every time you hold our pineapple beads, we hope you, too, feel a piece of this remarkable story.

Our pineapple-themed goods aren't mere trinkets. They're symbols of cherished friendships, and the warmth we feel in Hawaii, and it is a sweet reminder of the connections we build across miles and culture.

We used to take pineapple candy (gummies, chocolate coated, flavored…) when we traveled to Japan or to the mainland (aka continental United States) to express friendship from the islands! Now, we take earrings and stretchy cord bracelets too!

We also include pineapple candy as a special goodie when we ship!! I guess we live and breathe that aloha spirit, and the pineapple is one of the nicest ways we know how! 

We all have the potential to share a bit of hospitality and friendship wherever we are!

When you craft with our pineapple beads, you share their story, extend their symbolism, and spread the Aloha spirit.

pineapple earrings

Unleash Your Creativity with The Bead Gallery

Just like the pineapple, we believe in standing tall, wearing our crowns, and being sweet on the inside. As you craft with our pineapple beads, remember their story, share their symbolism, and continue to spread the Aloha spirit with your creations. We invite you to explore our Pineapple Bead Collection and start your creative journey today!

Oooh, one more cute thing to note… You can equip yourself with eco-friendly pineapple themed items! A local company down the street, Eden in Love designed our 25th Anniversary Bead Gallery bag, and makes one of our favorite pineapple characters on their “Bloom Queen” adorable printed bags and Swedish Dishcloth! Check it out!

5 Fun Facts About the Pineapple!

  1. The pineapple isn't a single fruit, but a group of fused berries. Cool, huh?
  2. This tropical treat can take up to three years to reach its full size. Talk about growing at your own pace!
  3. Despite its name, the pineapple is not related to the pine tree or apples. It's a member of the bromeliad family.
  4. You can actually regrow a pineapple from its top. Just twist the crown off and plant it.
  5. The pineapple is a symbol of hospitality and has been since the times of the early American colonies. That's why you'll often see it incorporated into architecture and design.
jamie and a pineapple

Pineapple Stand

Back to blog