The family-owned retailer even makes the championship rings
Brothers Gale and Flint Carpenter and Gale’s son Chance Carpenter, come face to face with a certain level of majesty on a daily basis. The proprietors of Big Island Jewelers are based in beautiful Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, after all, where they catch glimpses of dolphins doing acrobatics from their shop’s windows.
But once a year, for 20 years now, they play an important part in one of the world’s most impressive displays of human athletic ability: the Ironman World Championship—essentially the Super Bowl of triathalons.
The retailer is the official jeweler of the athletic event, and the second-oldest sponsor overall (Timex signed up as a sponsor just a few months before Big Island Jewelers). “Pretty cool for a small family business,” notes Chance. “We not only make the official pendants, bracelets, earrings, rings, but also the championship rings,” which are given to two first-place competitors (a male and a female). “It’s like the Super Bowl ring for triathletes!”
Ironman cufflinks from Big Island Jewelers
The original Ironman triathlon has been held in Kailua-Kona since 1978, and athletes need to complete a series of qualifying Ironman events to enter. The race is known for its grueling swimming, biking, and running challenges—and the fitness phenoms who complete them. This year’s competition is scheduled for Oct. 8.
This year’s rings for the Ironman World Championship winners
Gale says the shop’s association with the Ironman brand was a natural for many reason, not the least of which was the fact that “the starting line for the race is about 40 feet away from my office.”
The Big Island Jewelers Ironman collection—which the store sells to competitors and the general public—is created with a computer design technique called stereolithography, and each piece is individually cast and hand-finished. Pieces are available for order in 14k and 18k yellow or white gold and sterling silver.
Top: Ironman pendant from Big Island Jewelers (all photos courtesy of Big Island Jewelers)