Forming the Paua shell into the small cabochons and make it ready to dispatch

I have been lucky enough this week to learn the next step in the process – forming the Paua shell into the small cabochons and fitting them into our designs.

Each piece of Jewelry is hand crafted individually before being plated with 22ct gold or palladium right here in the factory to exacting standards.

The shell is individually cut to the correct shape, then polished and a lacquer applied before being fitted to the “panel’.

The next step is to attach any attachments which may be required such as chains etc and then carefully pack into our packaging before being made ready to dispatch.

So much care and detail go into this process – I am truly proud to know I have played a small part in producing such a quality timeless product.


Image from our company presentation. Click on the image the read our profile and watch the full movie.

A crisp cold winter’s day on the Kaikoura coast

The Paua themselves are harvested from the harsh environment of the pure waters along the coastlines of New Zealand – their size and colour are determined by how they have “grown up”. Their diet consists of seaweed and minerals from the sea and the quality of these lends to the better formation of their shells in more vibrant colours.
I have been lucky enough to be involved on a very small scale on the harvesting of some of these large edible sea snails.

It was a crisp cold winter’s day on the Kaikoura coast – the extreme coldness of the sea along this coastline lends itself to a better environment for the Paua but not for me unfortunately – the wind blew down from the snow covered mountains and whipped around us as we clambered into wet suits, donned our masks and snorkels, and waded into the sea.

This was my first experience swimming in the sea let alone diving under the water as I searched for the Paua clinging to the rocky out crops. I gasped as the icy sea hit my face. Thousands of fish swirled around me and I could see other shellfish and wildlife clinging to the rocky bottom. My anxiety soon diminished however when I dived down and seen a large perfectly placed Paua.
It looked so different in its natural environment that it was hard to believe that it would eventually become one of our beautiful pieces of Jewelry.

The outside of the shell was covered in barnacles and weeds – the Paua itself had a large “foot” which was suctioned to the rock. I remembered the instructions I had received from our guide to flick the Paua from underneath with a plastic stick he had given me – but in all my excitement and enthusiasm I reached down and wedged my fingers underneath the rather large shell at the same time – The Paua sensing impending doom clamped down hard with the fingers underneath it! Fortunately with a little effort and leverage with the stick it finally “let go” and I managed to extricate my now throbbing painful fingers. Lesson learnt!

What an experience – magical and inspiring I certainly will be trying that again but maybe next time I will wait for a nice summers day to venture into the water.
With my precious shell then divulged of the thick black meat of the Paua I returned back up the scenic majestic coast line to Blenheim and to the factory where I will be able to clean, grind and polish it to reveal the vibrant colours hidden underneath the thick outer layers. (Below you will see a photo of the two extremes)



A myriad of ways to celebrate the natural beauty of the Paua Shell

Our clever jewellers and designers have found a myriad of ways to celebrate the natural beauty of the Paua Shell.
As you will learn, the jewellery is inspired by our beautiful country and enhances the shell to make a unique piece of jewellery to be worn with pride.
Our designers use the natural environment as inspiration for some of our pieces, the cute little starfish, the graceful sleek dolphins, sea turtles and sea horses found in the pristine waters of the New Zealand Coastline are just a few examples.

Paua Whale and Baby Pendant - Ariki New Zealand Jewellery Paua Dolphin Pendant - Ariki New Zealand Jewellery

Our national heritage is celebrated with the iconic ethnic pieces, inspired by the native ferns, flora and fauna which grace our lands. And of course our national symbol the Kiwi.

Paua Silver Fern Brooch - Ariki New Zealand Jewellery Paua Kiwi Brooch Large - Ariki New Zealand Jewellery

We also pride ourselves on our beautiful classic pieces of Jewelry which would enhance any outfit with their timeless elegance.

Paua Swoosh Earrings - Ariki New Zealand Jewellery


I’m never lacking in choice of Jewelry to wear each day that is for sure! In fact I have found it hard to limit my purchases.