May 11th, 2016 / posted by paularath
Courtesy of Shera Mercer

A bracelet and pendant from the Alohi Kai Sunray Zoanthid Collection          Photos courtesy Shera Mercer

Jewelry designer Shera Mercer, whose line is called Alohi Kai, is passionate about diving. She and her husband Joe hit the ocean every chance they get, in search of new adventures and inspirations.

During a recent North Shore dive in Haleiwa Trench, she discovered a sea anemone that has inspired an entire collection. Called a Sunray Zoanthid, it was something she had never seen in any of her previous dives in oceans all across the globe. (Shera and Joe met while diving in the Maldives.)

Zoanthid flower in ocean

Sunray Zoanthids in their natural habitat.

Although the conditions were not ideal for diving the Haleiwa Trench that day, Shera said, “I often see unusual things there that we don’t see at any of the dive sites, so it’s always fun to go and poke around. As we combed our way in the green water with low visibility, I came across these amazing-looking anemones. It turns out, Sunray Zoanthids are not very common at all on Oahu. In fact, these were the only ones I’ve been able to find. There are other kinds of Zoanthids, but these are particularly lovely as they sit alone on a stem, as opposed to other types that form a mat on the reef.”

Alohi Kai one deck

The necklace can go gracefully from day to evening, with jeans or a cocktail dress.

In spite of the “murky and green and un-ideal for diving” waters, as Shera described them, she was struck by the anemones’ beauty and intrigue. The images stuck with her and a year later she began work on her new collection. Her first design was a double layered necklace. “Wearing it is so great! It makes a pleasing noise like coins as you move,” she explained.


The "double decker" necklace, which makes a lovely sound as you move.

The “double decker” necklace, which makes a lovely sound as you move.

The "double decker" necklace is blessed with a little gemstone.

The “double decker” necklace is blessed with a little gemstone.

The collection includes several styles of rings.

The collection includes several styles of rings.

Sunray Zoanthid earrings and necklace.

Sunray Zoanthid earrings and necklace.

Alohi Kai pendant

The collection is currently sold online only (priced at $89 to $649), but you can find other Alohi Kai pieces from previous collections at Riches Kahala, such as the piper fish, marine heart, honu, cowrie, sea snail and mushroom coral.

Here’s an added photo bonus: Shera just finished making these two necklaces she describes simply as “wire wrapped.”Whoa! They’re quite different from the typical style and format of a wire wrapped piece.

alohi kai wire wrapped 1

alohi kai wire wrapped 2

– Paula Rath


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