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.

Rightful names of birth

Some of you may have noticed that the products on our website have now been officially been given their “rightful names of birth” – that is that I have spoken with the designers and found out the inspiration behind each and every product.

What an honour and a truly fascinating journey I have been on learning the history and inspiration behind our uniquely beautiful pieces of jewellery across all the different ranges – from the sterling silver jewellery, the Greenstone (Jade) jewellery right through to the “shining star” of our range – the uniquely special New Zealand Shell – The Paua Shell.

I have now been able to share these “wee stories” with you all by publishing them to the Website. This has been a truly proud moment for me as my journey within the industry continues.
Here is a few examples for you but please feel free to take the time to read about your favourite products.

GP801/PO801 Ornate Heart shaped Pendant
“The eternal symbol of love – The beautiful Paua Shell heart on our elegant timeless pieces of jewellery symbolises the love of many things – including those for whom we may purchase it.”
New Zealand Paua is considered the rarest and most beautiful in the world and is loved by all that may wear it. ”



GP803/PO803 Crocus Pendant

“With the emergence of springtime the crocus flower is one of the very first to bloom, It is often referred to as the light bulb flower because it looks like a bright light bulb until the petals unfurl into the cup shaped flower. It is no wonder it has a reputation as a symbol of cheerfulness and glee as it brings the landscape alive with colour after a long winter. Our cheerful bright pendant will remind the wearer of these wonderful feelings.”


SE11 Star shine Earrings – Sterling Silver
“The ideal gift for someone who shines like the stars in the night and fills your life with light. Their eyes may sparkle like stars and you don’t want to take your eyes off of them.
Just like the diamonds in the sky these sterling silver Star shine earrings sparkle and shine when worn.”


Unique to New Zealand’s environmentally pure coastal waters

This week I have had the privilege of travelling around our pristine beautiful country – New Zealand and visiting some stores a little further from home.

It was mid-summer here in “The Land of the Great White Cloud” as New Zealand is affectionately known and I have experienced some perfect long hot summers days as I travelled around, and have had the opportunity to see some absolutely stunning breath-taking scenery.

The Paua Shell is unique to New Zealand’s environmentally pure coastal waters and its opalescent blues, rich greens, pastel pinks and purples mimic the colours of our land – from the most brilliant blue of the summer sky to the greens of the native bush covered hills, the pinks and purples of our sun rises and sun sets – the ripples of our pristine clear lakes and waterways the white of our glaciers – it is essentially the most beautiful shell that nature ever intended.

It is this country and this shell which has inspired our designers to create the most stunning classical pieces of jewellery. I feel truly proud to be a small part of this process as well as living in this remarkable country.

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A cute wee lighthouse, a seahorse and a crocodile

I have had such an awesome week at Ariki no two days are ever the same and there is always new things to see and learn – we have recently launched a few new items to our range and I’m excited to show them to you.
The cute wee lighthouse pendant is inspired by those guardians of the sea standing vigil on coastlines all over the world keeping sea faring folk safe from disaster.


Our seahorse pendant – featuring this majestic creature of the sea – how apt considering that the Paua shell that adorns it is just as majestic.


The crocodile pendant – who would have thought that such an ugly creature would inspire such a beautiful piece of jewellery?


Find an Ariki store nearby

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.

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