- Ocean Inspired Jewellery – Made in Australia -

ocean inspired jewellery free diving

One of the questions that most customers ask me when we are talking about our jewellery designs is How did you come up with that idea?” or “Where do you find inspiration for your pieces?”

So I have decided to put pen to paper (or more accurately fingers to my keyboard) to reveal what inspires us to design sustainable ocean inspired jewellery.

One of the things I love most about designing and making jewellery is that every piece is unique. No two pieces are exactly alike, and that is part of what makes handmade jewellery so special.

Handmade sterling silver ocean inspired ring

The biggest source of our inspiration is the ocean. This includes the beauty that surrounds the ocean as well. The organic shapes and all of the little details including shells, small pieces of coral that wash up and the rugged coastline. This really inspires our imagination. Sometimes nature is beautiful just as it is. But as sustainable jewellery designers, we are always trying to create a new composition. This is either by combining different elements from nature or by adding something extra of our own. We have the most treasured memories of sailing around the islands on Australia’s beautiful coastline. The azure expanses of crystal-clear water that sparkles like jewels. We met pods of dolphins that swam alongside the boat.
We witnessed beautiful white sand quays in the middle of nowhere. These secluded quays offered plenty of diving opportunities and we explored the delicate shallow coral reefs surrounding them. We made friends with rainbow coloured fish seeking protection under our boat whenever we anchored. It’s impossible to not be inspired by the endless beauty of the ocean and this is why our jewellery line is inspired by the beach and ocean.

We wanted to capture it all and carry it with us to remind ourselves of the feeling of being there. The serenity and tranquillity of the places we loved to sail, and the dazzling light reflecting above and below the water. Going outside for a walk on the beach or for a swim in the ocean, we are always continuously inspired by nature even in this busy world we have to come back to. We are always  keeping our eyes open and spend our time looking out for beautiful natural details. We might take pictures to use as a reference later or pick small details from nature and bring them home to our studio. That is where the real fun begins!

The Creative Process of KaiKoa Designs Ocean inspired Jewellery by Co-Founder Sally

Ocean Inspired Jewellery - Made in Australia - Kaikoa Designs

I start my creative process by playing around with natural items. I will combine them to try out different shapes and compositions. Sometimes I’ll see a ringpendant or an earring design in a new combination and work further in that direction. I usually don’t sketch my ideas for these types of designs on paper. This is because they grow organically while I’m working at my bench. If I have found a composition that I find interesting but I’m not sure how to implement it into a piece of jewellery. I will often sketch a little to figure out what style of jewellery it could become.

How Does KaiKoa Designs Make Their Sustainable Jewellery?

Ocean Inspired Jewellery - Made in Australia - Kaikoa Designs

We use a technique called the lost wax technique. It is one of the oldest techniques in jewellery making history. Keep an eye out for an upcoming blog with the full technique. When we are happy with the designs in wax we will then cast into solid Sterling silver. To me, handcrafting is more than a process. It is a belief in human connection and community. Making something for another person, or wearing something made lovingly by hand, is to take part in a human tradition as old as time. Whenever either of us feel uninspired, we push each other to get out in nature and spend time near the ocean. This is because inspiration kicks in as soon as we do. I (Sally) have the tendency to over think and I must remind myself to stop thinking and start doing! I know that when I start actually doing, I feel like a kid again. Full of new ideas popping into my mind constantly and I love that feeling of letting my creative imagination flow! Maybe you can relate?

What Is Sustainable Jewellery?

handmade sterling silver Shark tooth pendant

Jewellery is an important part of most people's wardrobe. Most of us wear some form of jewellery everyday, even if it is just a simple pair of studs or your wedding ring. How often have you considered how your jewellery was made? Where did the materials come from? Who actually created your jewellery? What are the environmental impacts of the piece? This is where sustainable and ethical jewellery comes into the equation. Unfortunately fast fashion has also bought fast jewellery into our world. This culture of jewellery made from poor quality materials, not designed to last and made with cheap labour is devastating.

The truth behind these unsustainable jewellery practices is that the waste of resources is also exposing the consumers and the manufacturers to toxic materials along the supply chain. Similar to fast fashion, cheap jewellery is often only worn a few times before it ends up in landfill. Any items that are plated with silver or gold will fade and leave behind a green mark on the wearers skin. Once in landfill the metal and plastic will not biodegrade and instead end up releasing toxins into the air and water. It is not all doom and gloom, there are environmentally friendly options for every jewellery lover out there.

A recent study showed that more than 80% of consumers wanted sustainable jewellery and were willing to pay more for this style of ethical jewellery. There is a need for sustainable jewellery and this is where KaiKoa Designs is making waves. With an environmentally conscious, hand crafted jewellery collection that is inspired by the ocean and beach. The pieces are handmade from 100% sterling silver and can be worn in the ocean with you. Sally and Marc, the founders of Kaikoa Designs, are passionate ocean lovers and strive to create the most beautiful pieces in an environmentally conscious and sustainable way.

Sustainable jewellery is a holistic approach to crafting jewellery where both environmental and ethical principles are considered and applied. It tackles not only the metal mining but also the production, nature and people impacts. For KaiKoa Designs this includes donating 5% of their profits to the Tanagaroa Blue Foundation. This organisation is an Australian not-for-profit organisation that is dedicated to the removal and prevention of marine debris. For the jewellery creation process any waste products are recycled and all of their sustainable jewellery is shipped in either recyclable or compostable packaging. KaiKoa Design’s mission is to run their studio on renewable and sustainable energy sources. Kaikoa Designs jewellery is not only beautiful but also good for the planet as well. The love and respect for nature and the ocean is the focal point of sustainable jewellery designs. All of the pieces are hand made and crafted with expertise and passion. All of their jewellery is designed and manufactured in their workshop on Gubbi-Gubbi Land (on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia).

Handmade Australian Beach Jewellery

gorgeous girl wearing ocean inspired silver jewellery

The inspiration behind KaiKoa designs started when the founders Sally and Marc spent time sailing through beautiful islands off Australia's coastline. This magical experience struck a chord with the designers who witnessed the breathtaking beauty of the ocean. The inspiration for the collections for KaiKoa Designs does not just include the ocean but also the nature that surrounds it. This includes shells that can be found in rockpools, the breathtaking cliffs that dive into the sea and even coral that is found washed up on the beach. These natural inspirations are collected by the founders and taken to their studio to be used as part of the creative process. By playing around with the natural inspiration the designs for the sustainable jewellery pieces come to life right in front of their eyes. This is a truly creative process that is as hands on as crafting the jewellery is. All of KaiKoa Designs jewellery is handmade from their eco-friendly studio which is powered by sustainable and renewable energy sources. The designs are created in wax using a technique called the lost wax technique. After the beach inspired designs are finalised, it is then cast into solid Sterling silver. This process is an intimate process between the craftsperson and the piece of art. The connection between the two is a tradition that is as old as time and KaiKoa Designs is thrilled to bring it to you.

Feature photo taken by Hannah Jessup of the beautiful @jackicasey