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Meet Artist Shera Mercer ( Alohi Kai Jewelry)

Shera Mercer is an ocean-obsessed designer & underwater photographer based in Hawaii. She first learned silversmithing at 17, but after university found herself working globally in corporate life. Diving became a way to enjoy all the places she was working in, from Europe to Africa to the Middle East. Rethinking the corporate path, she hung up her business suits in favor of wetsuits and moved back to her childhood town of Honolulu. Now she dives every week in the blue of the Pacific.

See Shera's incredible jewelry designs HERE

Follow her work on Instagram

1. What is your favorite shark and why?

Hard to choose! Love them all. But i’ll say thresher sharks - they're so unique! Their gorgeous tails cut a beautiful line in the water and I admire their innovative use of their long tails to hunt. Such an interesting evolution

2. What is one shark you would love to see/swim with?

Again, a thresher shark - they are so elusive i’ve only seen them in the distance! Hoping to one day get a decent photo

3. Why did you start creating shark and ocean jewelry?

I love seeing and photographing sharks. When I was working in Europe I started to do a lot of dive trips to see different kinds of sharks. The more trips, the more I learned about them, and their role in the food chain, the deeper my fascination went. I wanted to find a shark necklace to wear when I wasn’t on a dive trip but most of them were cartoonish or gratuitously aggressive. Those that weren’t were static, with no movement. And I thought, that’s not what they’re like, no wonder people don’t like them. I wanted something that showed their grace and power in the water, something that came from respect rather than sensationalism. So drawing on some dusty skills I decided to carve my own. When I moved back to Hawaii we were in the ocean every week and it really hit home just how much damage we are doing to reefs and marine life. So all these things just clicked into place, that through making marine life jewelry that respects the sea, I could to raise awareness about the ocean, and use it as a way to provide information to people

4. In your opinion, is art/jewelry important for conservation?

I feel art is necessary in society, as an escape and as expression. This past year of seclusion really showed us how much people turn to art when things are stressful! It speaks to people in a different way than facts can. People protect what they love, so one of the ways to promote conservation is to show people the beauty of the ocean. When you hear that gasp of delight, there's an opportunity to win both hearts and minds. I’ve always felt that if more people saw sharks for what they are instead of seeing media sensationalism, they would be more open to learning about them. So my work strives to show the essence of the animals in the ocean - how they swim, how they move. What it is that makes them special.

Founder Jillian Morris wearing a beautiful lemon shark necklace

5. What message do you hope people take away from your pieces?

I want people to learn something about marine life, so we send photos and information with each order about the things they purchase. But above all, I want them to be inspired! Inspired and delighted so that they want to share it with others. The more people who are exposed to the magic of the ocean, the better chance we all have to protecting it.

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