About Us

Hello Shell-o! My name is Rina, and I am the founder and beachcombing jewellery artist of Nostalgem.
My creative journey started as a curious child, always exploring and collecting bits of nature from my grandmother's garden. A tin chocolate box, shaped like a tiny house, served as the keeper of my eclectic collection.

From oddly shaped pebbles to dragonfly wings, leaves with bug holes... and even dead dried beetles!
My fascination with nature persisted into adulthood, especially during our family holidays in the Bay of Islands. I'd often be found beachcombing with my children, turning shells and seaweed air bladders into whimsical necklaces.
In 2016, we made the move from leaving Auckland city to our holiday home in Kerikeri. 
Because of my addiction to beachcombing... and most recently to sup surfing, the beach became my habitual hangout. 

I am inspired by the traditional cabinets of curiosities, where explorers of the past showcased their natural discoveries. 
These finds, often overlooked or considered "ugly" and ignored, undergo a transformation. Very much like a hero's journey, evolving into something celebrated and cherished — much like our own life stories.
At Nostalgem, these modest organic fragments become the gems of my designs. Each piece is truly one of a kind -- as I use the actual elements from nature (not cast replicas). Embracing the wabi-sabi aesthetic, I also honour the beauty of imperfection and transience, preserving every crack, hole, and flaw.
My creative processes include hand-sculpting with clay, kintsugi gilding, and electroplating. 

I believe that nature is our silent storyteller, with each piece reflecting the authentic narratives of our lives.I hope you can find a piece of my jewellery that shell-ebrates your story.

Whelk-come to Nostalgem,
Rina Ward