He’e Nui Statement Necklace
A very special necklace made for a design challenge. The brief was a 5″ wide, 4″ high statement piece with blue stones. (The final is 5″ x 2.75″) But the inspiration was that the challenge came from Alaska – to my Neptunian mind, the giant pacific octopus was the immediate first thought. Alaska is one of the few remaining vast areas of wilderness in the US. Of course we know of its expansive beauty and space. Less known are the astonishing marine creatures that inhabit the oceans there. Giant pacific octopuses are not your garden variety cephalopods. These mythic beasts grow bigger and live longer than any other octopus species. The largest recorded is 30 feet (9.1 meters) across weighing over 600 pounds (272 kilograms). More common sizes are 16 feet (5 meters) and 110 lbs (50 kilograms).
Like many other octopuses, giant pacific octopuses hunt at night, primarily preying on shrimp, clams, lobsters, and fish. But as is the law of the sea, the bigger you are, the less you need to play by the rules; these magnificent creatures have also been known to attack and eat sharks as well as birds!
This necklace was actually modelled after a large Hawaiian Day Octopus I photographed as it skulked along a reef wall. I watched it a while, mesmerised, as it struck some very expressive poses for an octopus! After drawing the design, it sat in my drawer for nearly a year before I finally decided I had to make it. The design and carving took the longest time. Carved in two pieces for movement and flexibility, the wax has to be refined more and more until it’s absolutely smooth. Once carved, refined, and fit, the pieces are cast – one mistake, and it has to be carved from scratch. Pieces are assembled, stone settings soldered on by hand, and further refined and polished. The final touch is to set each stone – diamonds, sapphires and lapis.