Paua Shell Earrings
These Dropper Paua Shell Earrings have been made with 925 Sterling Silver earwires. Also sterling silver coils and blue Swarovski Crystal above the shell bead. Length 37mm.
These large sea snails whose shell is used to make the various beads used in art and the jewellery trade. The Pāua snails are commonly found in shallow coastal waters along rocky shorelines of New Zealand in depths of 1 to 10 m. Where they survive the strong tidal surges by clinging to rocks using their large muscular foot. Therefore they feed on a diet of seaweed.
To Māori, pāua are recognised taonga, or treasure. Esteemed both as kaimoana (seafood) and as such a valued resource for traditional and contemporary arts and crafts. Therefore Pāua are frequently used to represent the eyes in Māori carvings and traditionally are associated with the stars or whetū, the symbolic eyes of ancestors that gaze down from the night sky.
The pāua is iconic in New Zealand: its black muscular foot is considered a delicacy. The shell is frequently used in jewellery, notably by me to make paua shell earrings and cufflinks.
Highly polished New Zealand pāua shells are extremely popular as souvenirs with their striking blue, green, and purple iridescence.