Cat & Kai Handmade Jewelry

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A few weeks ago, I hinted that I was going to be featuring the new artistic project of my sister-in-law Kaila. Well, the wait is over.

Kaila has partnered with another Cat (not me, I promise) and recently started Cat & Kai Handmade Jewelry; a gorgeous silver jewelry line that blends sea glass with art.

Each piece is individually designed and works with the natural shape of the glass, making no two pieces ever the same. I am happy to report that despite their uniqueness, their brand’s lovely pendants, rings, earrings, etc. are reasonably priced. To my girlfriends reading this post, please let me know which ones call out to you so I know what to get for your birthdays.

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I invited Kaila and her partner Catherine Ham to share a little bit more about their collection. Here’s a tip: if you see anything you like, I suggest contacting them by liking their FB page soon after reading this post. Their pieces go fast!

Cat JL: Tell me a bit about Cat & Kai Jewelry. How did the two of you meet and when did you start working together?

Kai: Cat and I met through the Danjugan Island Marine and Wildlife Camp, where we introduce kids to the wonders of nature.  We both love the ocean, nature in general. Cat had the idea of producing jewelry for divers, as it’s uncommon here in the Philippines. She had seen some great marine life jewelry in the Galapagos where she worked for a time. So we started with that. Solid silver marine creatures. We just got along with the idea and work well together, even if Cat is Melbourne based. We manage a great partnership, which is rare nowadays.

Cat: It was my second time to volunteer with Danjugan. I was an adult leader at the Marine and Wildlife Camp for kids (the camp increases their awareness of environmental impacts and encourages them to do their part to protect the environment while still having fun). On one of our spare moments, Kai and I started talking about unusual marine jewelleries that I saw in Galapagos when I volunteered there. We’re both divers so our love for marine life resonated and we both got excited at the thought of producing these jewelry pieces, especially since the Philippines is such a marine rich country! It took us awhile to gather momentum as we were both living in different countries (Kai in Philippines and me in Australia) but we did eventually get there! It’s been really smooth sailing so far. We’re both pretty easy going. Kai is the designer/creator of the pieces while I’m looking after the financial/business side.

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What makes your jewelry line different from others out there?

Kai: Each piece is hand formed and hand carved. No molds are used. Each piece is lovingly handcrafted and designed by people who love the environment.

Cat: Apart from being handcrafted, it’s locally produced. I love how we’re also stirring and supporting the local economy and producing locally crafted pieces.

Why the decision to incorporate sea glass into your jewelry? Where is the glass from?

Kai: As a kid, I used to love picking up shells, stones, leaves and whatever caught my eye. Growing up with an environmentalist father and eventually working as a environmentalist myself, I learned we should leave these natural things where they are. So seaglass was my hunt this time. It’s man made and yet still so naturally beautiful. So I kept collecting seaglass from beaches, I thought this definitely didn’t harm the natural environment.  For my wedding, I decided to make them into jewelry for my bridesmaids. From that idea, I fused sealife/nature idea of Cat and created inspired forms with the seaglass, depending as how they’re shaped. So really, no two pieces are alike, just as no two seaglass pieces are alike.

Cat: You would think that seaglass is just rubbish being thrown out by people onto the sea. However, as the sea transforms it into interesting shapes and texture, it turns into this unique treasure with its own story! Living in Australia has made me much more environmentally conscious and the thought of upcycling the seaglass and transforming them into unique wearable jewelry makes us proud that we’re doing our bit for the environment. I’ve picked up seaglass throughout my travels and in the beaches in Australia (mostly in Melbourne) so it was a natural progression to extend our jewelry line to incorporate seaglass.   I’ve also noticed that most seaglass jewelry only feature the seaglass (simple pendant where the maker drills a hole into the glass) but don’t fuse it with the design. Kai’s creations incorporate the seaglass into the design, which makes our products really unique!

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Your line definitely has an aquatic theme, what affiliations do you both have with the sea? 

Kai: Yes that is how Cat and I met and why we got along. But our jewelry is not limited to the aquatic theme… we can really produce anything the client wants. We try our best to make what people ask us to do, from airplanes to origami pieces to named/personalized pendants.

Cat: We’re both divers so we’re both really inspired by the sea. It shows with our main jewelry line. However, we can design anything and everything the customer likes (including personalizing it with their names or initials).

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Can you tell me a little more about how each piece comes to life?

Kai: First a sketch is made on paper depending on the seaglass piece, a design is made. Like a roundish piece looks like a turtle carapace or a triangle one may look like a seahorse body… it really depends on the shape I get. Then each seaglass is encased in silver. To create the form, you heat up the silver then it softens, this is when you can mold them into shapes… solder pieces together. Then each is filed, buffed and polished to get them to look as they do.

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Do you custom make pieces? What kind of pieces have been made so far?

Cat: We’ve had requests from a crocodiles, frogs, ducks, clovers, pet’s paw to origami planes/horses/elephants. So yes, just send us a message on Facebook and we’ll cater for it. (Cat JL: They made this piece for me as per Carl’s design.)

Where can people purchase your jewelry? Do you ship internationally? 

Kai: Yes locally through our  Facebook page. We ship from the Philippines and Australia for now.

Cat: We’re also joining the Suitcase Market at Melbourne Fringe Festival on the 29th of September.

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For inquiries and more information, please message Cat & Kai via their Facebook page.

All pictures shot using my Lumix GF2 20mm

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Comments

  1. These are lovely. It will surely sell on a global marketplace like Etsy and Bonanza.

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