Lot 80: Elvis Presley Owned and Worn Puka Shell Necklace - Worn During the Time He was Filming Blue Hawaii
October 29, 2016
Memphis, TN, USALive Auction
Elvis fell in love with Hawaii at first sight and would often return. On March 18, 1961 Elvis headed to Hawaii for the USS Arizona benefit concert he would perform on the 25th, and also to begin filming for the Hawaiian-themed film Blue Hawaii, which was released by Paramount Pictures later that year. Elvis began recording the soundtrack for the film on March 21 and the location filming for the movie was complete in just three weeks. Blue Hawaii would be the first of three Elvis movies filmed on location in Hawaii. Elvis would return many times during his career and for his own personal holidays as he adored the island culture. No doubt during his stays Elvis learned that the Hawaiian word for hole is puka and that Hawaiians often create necklaces from the shells of sea snails, which have a naturally occurring hole at the center that makes these rounded-edge shells natural beads.
The offered necklace with four turquoise stone beads and seven small silver-colored beads was gifted from Elvis to Dr. George Nichopoulos, who was told that Elvis wore the necklace during the period he was filming Blue Hawaii. The necklace is mounted against a turquoise-colored background in a framed display with a plaque that states, "THIS SHELL AND TURQUOISE NECKLACE, WORN BY ELVIS PRESLEY, IN BLUE HAWAII, WAS GIVEN TO DR. GEORGE NICHOPOULOS, "DR. NICK", BY ELVIS PRESLEY." The wording on the plaque is somewhat inexact, as Dr. Nick clarifies in the accompanying letter when he states that the necklace was "worn in the time period of filming (italics added) Blue Hawaii." The necklace was not worn in the film. In a related interview, Dr. Nick also detailed how Elvis and his entourage were all wearing these puka shell necklaces while in Hawaii during filming, and that he wanted Dr. Nick to have one as well. The framed display measures 15 by 11 1/2 inches (38.1 x 29.21 cm), and the necklace, as displayed, is 6.5 inches (16.51 cm) in diameter. This island necklace is accompanied by a notarized letter from George C. Nichopoulos, MD dated February 18, 1998, and by a letter of authenticity from Graceland Authenticated.
Condition Report: The necklace presents with few if any defects, and the framed display shows only minor distress. Near Mint condition.