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Proud to New Zealand made

To me one of the most special and unique aspects of working for Ariki New Zealand Limited is the knowledge that we are New Zealand made – this is our, in my opinion, point of difference to all other Paua Shell Jewellery brands on the market.

All Ariki New Zealand jewellery is hand crafted with precision and quality at our factory based in Blenheim in the heart of the Marlborough region in the South Island of New Zealand.

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Right time to get on the road!

Right time to get on the road and find out where some of our product goes to!
Our little pieces grace the shelves of stores all over the world and I would love one day to have the chance to visit some of these and see them for myself but in the meantime I have been fortunate enough to get out and about and visit some of our local retailers.

I travelled from Blenheim to Nelson on a stormy winters day around the winding hills draped in low cloud and misty drizzle but the view when I came to the top of the hill was well worth it.
The snow-capped mountains were mirrored in the dazzling blue sea and I found myself wondering if there was any Paua clinging to the rocky coastline.

The stores display our product beautifully, the pieces shine under the bright white lights and look absolutely stunning. The colours of the each shell piece changes when viewed from different angles

It is no wonder they are so popular with people from all over the world. I came away from the stores with a feeling of pride in our product, to know that all the care and attention that goes into producing the pieces pays off when you see them on display in stores.

To find a store nearby, please search here



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)



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