Squares and rectangles: cufflinks and long bar earrings in Paua and Jade



Another shape or symbol which features predominately in our unique New Zealand Paua Shell Jewellery range is the square and rectangle shapes.
To me these shapes represent stability. In fact, the rectangle is the most used area shape in the majority of designs. Whether it be jewellery, furniture or even websites.

The reason for its popularity is because it is a trusted familiar shape that represents honesty, solidity and stability.
And when I think further about the humble square shape it leads me to think that the four sides of a square could symbolise:

  • The four cardinal directions (north, south, east, west).
  • The four major season (winter, spring, and summer, autumn).
  • The four cosmic elements (suns, moons, planets, stars).
  • The four common phases of human life (birth, child, adult, death).
  • The four prime elements (fire, earth, air, water).

As squares and rectangles have straight lines and right angles they have a very mathematical, balanced feel. These shapes scream rational, practical and conformity. As far as shapes go, these are neither flashy nor attention seekers – some may even venture to say that they are boring, however our clever jewellery designers have twisted and turned them to add interest to the humble square or rectangle New Zealand Jewellery pieces.

Square Cufflinks – Paua  – GP211/PO211 
Square Cufflinks – Jade – GO211

Square Cufflinks GP211
Square Cufflinks (Jade) GO211

I don’t personally wear cufflinks of course but I have purchased a few sets for my three brothers who wear them with pride adorning their business shirts.
The myriad of colours on the unique New Zealand Paua Shell cabochon shimmers and shines when worn against a plain white business shirt – but also have the bonus of taking on the colours of any other shirt that is worn. This makes them a truly versatile set to wear on any occasion.
The shiny deep green of the Jade cabochon also adds an air of sophistication to any plain business shirt.
Our most popular cufflinks in our range are in fact the Square Cufflinks which lend themselves handsomely to any discerning gentleman’s attire. And the perfect unique New Zealand Jewellery for men.

Long Bar Earrings – Paua – PE224/PE124 
Long Bar Earrings – Jade – JE224 

These beautiful stunning Long bar earrings represent understated elegance and sophistication. The striking combination of smooth sleek lines and the beauty of the cabochon combine to make a set of New Zealand jewellery which I wear with pride.
With their smooth, straight lines and perfect right angles, rectangles lend a sense of stability and formality. Something about four points just feels solid (think about the four points of a compass). We trust the shape because it feels dependable and safe.

The Long Bar Earrings are certainly one of my statement pieces of fine New Zealand handcrafted jewellery.

Long Bar Earrings (Jade) JE224

Circle shaped Paua Shell Jewellery



Another shape or symbol which features predominately in our unique New Zealand Paua Shell Jewellery range is the circle or round shape.

To me the circle is a universal symbol with extensive meaning. It represents the notions of totality, wholeness, original perfection, the Self, the infinite, eternity, and timelessness.

As the sun, it is masculine power; as the soul and as encircling waters, it has a feminine maternal nature. It implies an idea of movement, and symbolizes the cycle of time, the planets’ journey around the sun (the circle of the zodiac), and the great rhythm of the universe.

To the native people of New Zealand – the Maori – a Circle or Porowhita represents the never ending circle of life and nature.
The closed circle is said to represent the circle of life which is has no beginning or end, is seamless and of which we are all a part. It also tells of the stars and planets which are part of the circle of life and contain the knowledge of our origins.
It is often used to enclose other elements such as the Koru, linking love and new life or new beginnings with the circle of life.

For an artist the circle represents the relationship or oneness between the artist and his craft, bringing together head, hand and heart.
Just as our elegant timeless pieces of Paua Shell Jewellery are handcrafted by our staff artists to perfection in every way.

Large Double Round Bangle GB102/PB102

I find this piece a more of a “special occasion” piece. Its understated elegance completes any special outfit. I recently attended a wedding and was rapt to see that this piece had been chosen for the bridesmaid’s jewellery. Certainly a special memory and a piece of jewellery for them to treasure always.

Small Round Ring – GP912/PO912 

I see my Small Round ring as having great meaning – Circles have no beginning or end. They represent the eternal whole and in every culture represent the sun, the earth, the moon, the universe, and other celestial objects between – Our elegant round ring reminds me of the clear night skies we experience at this time of the year – with the moon shining brightly in the crisp night air.

Wrap Around Ring – GP941/PO941

Probably the most versatile and beautiful of our range is the Wrap around Ring. The ornately scalloped edge frames the slightly rounded cabochon elegantly on our Wrap around Ring – the smooth sleek panel then extends to wrap around the finger gently creating a truly unique piece of jewellery. It has become a forever treasured keepsake.

Round Stud Earrings – PE213/PE113
Antique Round Earrings – PE251/PE151 

These simply elegant Round shaped earrings are another of my “go to” every day pair of Paua Shell Earrings. The advantage of having two pierce holes in each ear means that I can where the small Round Stud earrings in the top hole and the gorgeous Antique styled Round Earrings in the bottom hole. They also go perfectly with my Small Round Ring (GP912/PO912) as a Set which showcases the unique New Zealand Paua Shell Jewellery perfectly.

Antique Round Earrings PE251

Abalone Jewellery beauty and origins

Abalone jewellery is unique to several places in the world but specifically in New Zealand, where the shells are extracted by the Haliotis iris, whose meat is used for food. However, the shells are used to make beautiful and unique jewellery, which is renowned all over the world giving New Zealand’s jewellery a brand name. The beautiful jewellery is made of the shells extracted from pure and fresh waters of the New Zealand coast. After which they are prepped and then they are given the desired shape.

Here at Ariki, we have abalone jewellery and other things crafted out of the beautiful shells.

Abalone shell

Abalone jewellery has a range of iridescence, strong, changeable colours, which make them attractive and popular for the use of decorative objects and jewellery. They are also a source of the colourful mother pearl. These shells are also eaten raw as they are extremely flavourful.

Abalone shells in New Zealand

‘Paua’ is the name given to abalone in New Zealand. It is of sentimental value to the Mãori people (New Zealand’s indigenous race), who have been using the Paua shell for personal adornment and as ornamental beauties for centuries. It is extremely popular as there are some unique species that inhabit New Zealand. They are used as souvenirs and New Zealand jewellery. Although they are extremely popular for their meat the vibrant colours in the shell also make for striking shell jewellery.

Buy Abalone Jewelry Online


Abalone Jewellery (in American English “Abalone Jewelry”)

With its rich greens, blues, and fiery flashes, these shells are used to create beautiful shell jewellery which is worn and used by both men and women across that world. It is often referred to as sea opal due to its blue and green colours. The individual swirls and patterns on each piece of this remarkably unique abolone shell jewellery further enhance its beauty. Click to view our Abalone Palladium Jewellery online collection.

Abalone Jewellery

Preparing the Shells

After being harvested, the shells are coated with a thick layer of marine growth and lime. When the growth is removed it reveals the dazzling designs of nature in each shell. To complement nature’s own design, Ariki’s skilled craftsmen polish, cut, and shape the best whole abalone shells into “cabochons” ready for setting into superbly designed and crafted genuine abalone jewellery that is in demand throughout the world.

Difference to Other Shells

Ariki’s Paua is harvested from areas well known for their superior water quality, which is both pollution-free and rich in minerals. Ariki Paul carries an intense depth of colour is just one of the many factors that distinguish the original from the others. As a result, this jewellery truly reflects the purity of New Zealand’s environment.

Unique Patterns

Each of Ariki’s hand-crafted cabochons is unique in all their colours and patterns. Considerable time and effort are spent matching cabochons with complementary colours and patterns to create pairs of earrings and items such as bracelets that use multiple cabochons. Each piece, as a result, is a magnificent piece, with its matching vibrant colours and swirls.

Reasons to clutch your Paua shells

A simple way to add glamour and lustre to one’s life is by wearing stone or shell jewellery that shines iridescently as you go about the business of the day. Walk into any jewellery store and the choices to make are countless- Should you select a pendant with ruby and diamond setting? Is a sterling silver bangle encrusted with emeralds the appropriate graduation present?

Discerning buyers know that the best place to find quality jewellery is where you can find genuinely natural items. Ariki’s website offers the region’s best Paua Shell and Nephrite Jade jewellery with multiple variations of designs and metals in everything from brooches, rings, earrings to necklaces and pendants.

While browsing Ariki’s collection it may seem like the native Paua Shell jewellery closely resembles Sea Opal and Pearl Jewellery, albeit with a distinctively sea-blue tint. Pearl or nacre, the lining that surrounds any parasite that enters a shell, is an iridescent inner lining that is also called the ‘pearly layer’. When the lining wraps itself around a parasite and hardens, its transformation from a foreign object that entered the mollusk’s shell into a brilliant, glowing pearl bead is now complete. Both pearl beads and paua shells belong to small group of organic materials that are highly-sought after for their use in adornment, including ivory, jet, amber and coral. The main difference between Pāua Shell jewellery and Pearl jewellery is that the sea snails that are the source of Pāua are scarce and must be harvested.

Large edible sea snails, called Pāua in New Zealand and Abalone in Australia as well as the United States, are the source of Paua Shells. The Paua Shell is a predominantly green or blue-coloured shell that shifts hues in natural lighting and is found deep underwater in the region surrounding South Island. Ariki’s master craftsmen have designed a variety of delicately assembled studs, hoops, tops and dangling Paua Shell earrings to suit every occasion. Paua Shell earrings and pendants are crafted in the highest quality sterling silver, palladium and gold plated metals.
As one of New Zealand’s top-most jewellery designers, Ariki Jewellery specialises in the use of ethically-sourced local stones and shells like Greenstone or Nephrite Jade and Paua Shell. Every piece of jewellery from Ariki’s is hand-crafted in the factory based out of Blenheim, New Zealand.

Vicky’s blog: The paua shell – treasure from the sea

It has been just 12 short months since I was fortunate enough to join the Ariki Family and be able to immerse myself in the Paua Shell Jewelry manufacturing process which takes place in our factory here in Blenheim New Zealand. Located in the heart of the world famous Sauvignon Blanc wine making region we certainly live in paradise.

I’ve learnt so much along the way that I can’t wait to share this new found knowledge with you all….the fascinating world of the iconic Paua, this jewel of the sea also known as ‘Sea Opal’ is unique to New Zealand and the most colourful species of Abalone.

Regarded by Maori (New Zealand Indigenous people) as ‘Taonga’ or treasure. Legend has it that Paua was a special gift from The God of the Sea and I can certainly see why this would be believed.

There is no other shell in the world that has the colours like the Paua Shell – I have seen that the swirls in the natural shell vary considerably- from intense greens and pinks to purples and deep blues – vibrant changing rainbows of colour, no two shells are identical.
These iridescence colours change with the light as I view them at different angles, they hold me transfixed and mesmerised by their beauty.
Please feel free to check back each week and join me on my fascinating journey.


Paua Shell Jewellery