Jenny Byrne, Zealandia’s creator, was born in New Zealand and has woven her initial love of the natural materials found on the beaches and rivers of the world, and a fascination with spiritual and mythological art, into an unusual line of silver, gold and fossilized ivory jewelry.
At Zealandia Designs we use all natural materials, combining several elements such as sterling silver, 14kt gold fill, fossilized walrus tusk, ancient mammoth ivory, semi-precious stones, Moroccan ammonites, mother of pearl, and the vibrantly colored paua. The fossilized ivory, shells and fossils we use are like human fingerprints, in that no two pieces are the same.
The fossilized walrus tusk we use in our ivory jewelry can span the neutral tones from creamy white to honey, reddish brown to black, depending on the minerals the walrus tusk was in contact with and the length of time it was in the ground. This ancient fossilized ivory is anywhere from 500 to 3,000 years old. It is legally obtained from native owned land, having been excavated by Eskimo families from old village sites on St. Lawrence Island, Alaska.
Ancient mammoth ivory is a byproduct of gold mining being found in the layer just above the gold by both American and Canadian gold miners. We use mammoth ivory for polar bears, or when we want a nice creamy skin tone. Occasionally we will use mammoth ivory from Siberia, which is generally whiter than North American mammoth ivory from resting in ice rather than soil.
Jenny selects the fossilized ivory and shells, like paua, appropriate for her design concepts. “The richness of hues developed by the fossilization of ancient ivory makes each piece of our ivory jewelry unique. The idea of using ivory as old as the petroglyphs and cultures that inspire me is very exciting as I like my designs to tell stories that honor the wisdom ancient people developed to explain and understand the forces surrounding them. I see early expressions of writing, art and ritual as having an innate power, and incorporate this into my designs as silent incantations or mantra.”
Each piece is individually hand crafted in Bali, Indonesia. The craftsmen who carve both the mammoth ivory and the walrus ivory, and the smiths who make the silver jewelry do their best to reproduce the same likeness as in the photographs, but because of the variations in the color and carving, the pieces you receive will differ from the ones illustrated – each piece is remarkably distinct. Your fossilized ivory jewelry will be as unique as the fossilized ivory it was created from.