A He’e love affair

Hawaii people love octopus! Interchangeably called tako (from japanese), he’e (from Hawaiian) and octopus, Hawaiian reefs house nine kinds of these cephalopods, but we usually only see one, the Hawaiian Day Octopus. He’e have a well-deserved reputation for being extremely intelligent, with short and long-term memory, problem solving skills, and formidable camouflage abilities.  But they are amazing in other ways as well –  for example, they have three hearts! One to pump blood through its vascular system, and two to oxygenate the blood. Its reported that even Jaques Coustou found them mesmerising, describing octopus movement “like a silken scarf”.

For me, one of the more fascinating aspects of these cephalopods are their amazing ever moving legs – twisting, curling, and unfurling, yet never getting tangled. Two-thirds of their neurons are located in their legs, and when they touch something, they also taste it. Interestingly, they have excellent eyesight which is necessary to keep track of their legs; while they can execute commands, there apparently is no feedback pathway to know if the legs carried were executed except what they see.

Octopus close up

We dive and very often will come across a lovely tako in the reef. Some are big, measuring in feet, others are just little babies, measuring just a few inches. They never cease to entertain. I’ve logged hours and hours of time observing and when lucky, interacting with them, (playing peekaboo in the reef mainly) and generally being entertained by them.

With such fond experiences of them. they seemed a perfect subject for jewelry. Crafty and enthralling as they are to watch, in designing the octopus bangle, it seemed right that the visual essence of an octopus would come down to those wonderful legs. Carving it was so much fun! Each suction cup is individually formed on the bangle – labor-intensive, but well worth it we think. This bangle is cast in sterling silver, and also comes with with a rhodium finish, and in gold vermeil.

octopus full
octopus outstretched