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- Ocean Inspired Jewellery – Made in Australia -

ocean inspired jewellery designer snorkeling to find jewellery ideas

Where does our jewellery design inspiration come from?

One of the questions that most people will ask us when they speak to us about being a jewellery designer creating handmade sterling silver earrings, pendants or stacker rings is “How did you come up with that idea?” or “Where do you find inspiration for your designs?”

So we decided to explain our process as Sunshine Coast jewellery designers in Australia to give you a bit of insight behind the scenes of our company, how we work, why we founded the company and how we come up with our unique sterling silver jewellery pieces.

It has been an amazing journey so far, both Sally & I are inspired by the incredible shapes and diversity of the ocean. One of the things we love about designing and making jewellery in Australia is that every single piece is unique, it is handmade which means no two pieces are exactly the same, just like everything in the ocean. Sure, a starfish is a starfish, but just like humans we are all a little bit different in our own way, our jewellery is the same.

Our goal is to produce beautiful pieces that are made sustainably for those who love to wear ocean inspired clothing, accessories or jewellery.

Ocean inspired jewellery handmade sterling silver ring designed in Australia

The endless ocean

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.

Salty sea breezes

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!

Blonde woman wearing sea shell shaped earrings made in Australia in sterling silver with white top
Sterling silver earings in the shape of a shell made in Australia

Captured by Australia’s beauty

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. 

Eco-friendly and sustainable

All of KaiKoa Designs jewellery that you can buy is handmade from an 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.

women wearing a sterling silver ring with ocean inspired coral design made in Australia
Handmade sterling silver ring on a finger made in Australia with the shape of a wave

Crafting by hand organically

Sally starts her creative process by playing around with natural items. She will combine them to try out different shapes and compositions. Sometimes I’ll see a ring, pendant or an earring design in a new combination and work further in that direction. 

She usually doesn’t sketch ideas for these types of designs on paper which is unique for an Australian jewellery designer.

This is because they grow on her organically while she works at her design bench. If she finds a composition that is interesting but she can’t work out how to design it as a wearable piece she will then do some sketches to see what it may become.

Ocean inspired handmade jewellery designer sunshine coast australia workshop

A timeless creation technique

We use a manufacturing process called the lost wax technique. It is one of the oldest techniques in jewellery making history. 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?

handmade sterling silver pendant Shark tooth designed and made in Australia

Knowing where things come from

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.

Ethical and sustainable for the environment

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.

beach jewellery silver shell pendant designed and made in Australia
ocean inspired beautiful sterling silver sea urchin pendant designed and made in Australia

Giving back 

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).

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