Paua shell jewellery is a significant icon in New Zealand’s cultural history. This exhibition looks into the lesser known artisanal paua shell jewellery produced in New Zealand before the 1970’s, and prior to the re-assessment of paua jewellery made in the 1980’s. The pieces in the show have been selected from three major private collections in New Zealand, and many have not been displayed before.
This show at Objectspace is also the launch of Elly van de Wijdeven's book Vintage Paua Shell Jewellery: Art souvenir, tourist kitsch, Kiwi icon, which explores the rich history of paua shell jewellery in New Zealand. Published by Bateman, the book will be available as a fully illustrated hard copy, together with an accompanying e-book, New Zealand Paua Shell Jewellery: A Cultural History, which gives a more detailed account of this story.