E Komo Mai!
Do you crave escape and adventure? To grasp the unknown and trespass the edges of comfort? To experience things extraordinary. Its an itch that needs scratching, but is often out of reach – to glimpse other lives, other worlds.
Wear your story as you plan your next exploration. ‘Alohi Kai makes hand-sculpted jewelry for adventurous souls who know that style is a choice – a hint of your world within as you face off with daily life. We design for people who believe in slow ways, slow living, and that beautiful adornment persists through time and trends. And we believe in the ocean.
Who are you? Always on-trend, or do you seek things that are personal to you? Unusual shapes, compelling energies, mysteries to uncover. Do you seek unique and exceptionally made things? The thing that calls your name, and with that je ne c’est quoi that makes you want to touch it. A bauble that brings an unbidden smile to your lips when you see it in the light, and gives you lift when the day gets too heavy. Something that brings a little bit of wonderful into the universe of banal.
Our jewelry is bourne from a love of the deep blue, and created by hand with sweat and fire and aloha in Hawaii. Wear secrets of the sea to accompany you on your daily journey to be extraordinary.
We stand against the undervalued. We fight for their voice. Young women, small players, and things that are different. Like them, our pieces are not disposable. Our designs represent experiences, have a story, and are meant to last generations. Each design is a tale of ocean survival, hardship and uniqueness, a symbol of perserverence.
Our jewelry evolves in a similar way; using ‘slow’ methods we hand carve and sculpt our models using a knife or flame. We set stones, wire wrap, fabricate and polish our jewelry by hand. We’re small and do things in small batches to ensure each piece meets our quality standards. We don’t use overseas labor for production and all our metals are sourced from the US. And we make decisions with the impacts of what we do in mind – opting for non-toxic processes and reusable (or recycled materials) packaging. We live on a tiny rock in the middle of the ocean, these choices matter.
The results are small scale, hand-carved sculptures steeped with strength and luxury you can feel.
Our designs are often conceived underwater. After selecting (and usually photographing) a subject, I sketch designs and angles before carefully carving and sculpting it in a very hard jeweler’s wax. These small scale sculptures are prepped, smoothed, then cast in silver; master castings are finished with many iterations of ever finer files, sandpaper, flexshaft, and polishers. Watch the video to see a bit of how we make a master for casting in silver.
We make silicone molds from masters and use castings to fabricate larger pieces of jewelry like our Zoanthid bracelet (below left). Others are finished as a final piece like the octopus bangle (below right). Every item is hand-finished at each stage – the process is surprisingly labor-intensive.
Shera Mercer is an ocean-obsessed designer, maker & underwater photographer based in Hawaii. Despite starting silversmithing at 17, she found herself in corporate life in the US and the UK. Rethinking that path, she hung up her business suits in favor of wetsuits and now dives every week in the blue of the Pacific with her husband Joe.