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Article: The Making of Ocean Dance

The Making of Ocean Dance

The Making of Ocean Dance

Did you know that before our jewelry reaches our signature blue shopping bag it takes over 30 local Hawaiian designers and artisans to create a final piece? Your favorite Hawaiian jewelry from Maui Divers Jewelry is founded in Aloha. That's why we want to take you through our entire design process and show you how we created our latest labor of love, the Ocean Dance Collection.

Inspired by the moments that make us feel alive, that move us, and remind us to "seas" each day, the Ocean Dance Collection captures the exciting experiences of Hawaiʻi! Whether you’ve been whale watching, diving with dolphins, swimming with manta rays, snorkeling with starfish, or just love majestic creatures that live in the blue waters of Hawaiʻi, you will love the latest creations from our Ocean Dance Collection.


Dolphins Underwater in the Hawaiian Islands


It all starts with inspiration. When we started to create the Ocean Dance Collection, what spoke to us were moments in Hawaiʻi that make us feel alive. Many of our team members have gone diving and if they got lucky, sometimes they would see groups of dolphins hidden just beneath the surface. Playing, swimming freely, and squeaking, the dolphins brought the magic of the ocean to life. The sheer amazement and awe found in these moments are what brought us to create this collection. From whale watching on Maui to snorkeling with a manta ray on the Big Island, some moments remind us that life is truly remarkable.


Sketches of Starfish, Seahorse, and Whales on Sketchbook

Now the fun begins! Putting pen to paper. Our inspirations give life to the initial sketches made by our designer. No ideas are too big or too small when it comes to creating a new collection. The first drawings go through a rigorous revision process until they are ready to be turned into 3D models. 

CAD / 3D Model

Designer Creating Models on CAD Program

To breathe life into the sketches, we recreate the designs in CAD. CAD is where we build the design and create a 3D rendering. CAD allows us to create a life-like look, by adding dimensions, diamonds, pearls, and a gold finish.

Depending on the complexity of the design, the process typically takes a few days. Once 3D modeling is complete, we can print the design in resin.

3D Model of Jellyfish and Manta Ray

Did you know? It takes 4-6 hours to print a single 3D model.

Once the designs are finalized, the 3D models are ready to make their way into our factory! It's important to note that before items are created in 14k gold, we must create models in metal. The 3D models are used to create metal models. Metal models are a useful tool that allow us to create silicone molds quickly and efficiently. The impression of a 3D model delivers accuracy and exquisite detail.


Ocean Dance Collection Items in Wax Mold

In the silicone molds above, take a look at the impressions. The metal models create this impression by being pressed in between two pieces of silicone. Once an impression is complete, the wax mold will hold a mirror image of the finished product. A wax mold is incredibly important. If it is not correct or there is a slight error, the design will have imperfections.

Wax Machine

Now that the silicone mold is created, the next step is to shoot hot wax into the silicone mold to create the design in wax. To do this, we place the silicone mold onto a machine where hot wax shoots into the opening. After a few seconds, the wax cools, revealing the design in wax. The wax is plied out of the mold and sent to DIP (diamond in place), where our team sets diamonds in wax, hence the name DIP.

DIP (Diamond in Place)

Wax Models and Setting Diamonds in Wax

DIP takes skill, a steady hand, and patience. Each diamond is painstakingly set by hand. Using a tiny tool with a small cylindrical end, the diamond is picked up and placed onto the wax. It may take untrained hands hours to complete this process. Do you have the steady hands it takes to do this?


Wax Tree

After DIP, next comes the tree. In jewelry, a tree is just what you would expect to see. Taking the wax designs with diamonds in place, our team glues the wax designs to the tree. Our skilled artisan can glue over a hundred designs on a single tree. Do you think it looks like a tree?

Investing & Casting

Finally, we are at the stage in the process where we will create the items in gold. With hundreds of wax designs, diamonds set in place, and trees ready to go, the next step is to invest the tree. 


Investing is done by placing the wax tree into a cylindrical tube where the plaster is poured, holding the tree in place. After it solidifies, the plaster is heated. Wax trees dissolve as heat rises, leaving an empty place where the designs used to be. 14k gold is then heated as pressure pushes the gold into the empty spaces. The 14k gold then forms into the shapes left by the wax trees.

After cooling, the plaster, holding the now 14k gold trees, are plunged into the water, breaking up the plaster and revealing the 14k gold trees. Pressured water removes any remaining remnants of the plaster. 

14k Gold Tree

Fun fact! An entire tree can weight several pounds since it is entirely 14k gold.

Pearl Selection

Tahitian black Pearls

Selecting the perfect pearl for a new collection is never an easy task. For the Ocean Dance Collection, our pearl experts selected from hundreds of Tahitian black pearls. Our experts select based on the overall shape, size, color, and a few other factors.

What you’ll expect from the Ocean Dance Collection pearls are gorgeous Tahitian black pearls that showcase natural overtones of green, purple, blue, and even hints of pink.

If you truly love a customized look or prefer a different color pearl for Ocean Dance, our pearl experts can even swap the pearl for purple Freshwater pearls, South Sea gold pearls, South Sea white pearls, and many more!

Book an appointment to customize the collection with your favorite color.



Polishing Gold

With all the pieces in place and hundreds of hours of hard work, our team is ready for the final step in the process. Finishing! Finishing is where our jewelry is polished and engraved. Polishing is performed using a rotating brush to reveal a smooth, glamorous 14k gold finish. Once polishing is complete, the final step is to engrave each piece.

Ocean Dance Back - Engraving

Engraving is done using a laser. The laser machine has powerful glasses that magnify the jewelry for our team to see where they are engraving. Using the machine and setting the jewelry in place, we add our brand “M” stamp. This signifies that this piece belongs to us. Next, we engrave “14k” to represent the gold type, and last but not least, we engrave the famous words, “Made in Hawaiʻi.” Can you spot it in each design?

Ocean Dance Hawaiian Jewelry Collection GIF

The Ocean Dance Collection is a true labor of love. Made from start to finish at our Design Center in Honolulu, our artisans have poured their hearts into every single piece. We hope you wear each piece as your reminder to dance like the jellyfish, play like the dolphin, and dive into adventure like the whale. Live fearlessly, passionately, and full of heart with the Ocean Dance Collection.

Ocean Dance Collection Hawaiian Jewelry Pendants with Tahitian Black Pearls and Diamonds


Wonderful new collection!
My favourite!


I’d like to see your different colored pearls. Will you send me a link to view and to select some pearls.

Rebekah Crump Clausen

What, no Sea Turtle? How did that get missed :)

Eric Johnson

Since 1982 which was the first time in Hawaii and as I saw a Maui Divers presentation and the quality of your jewelry I knew that nothing else would be worn by me. Comes important events in my life, always celebrated with a Maui Divers Creation.


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