Style Snapshot: Tiki Jewelry

Design Idea EB13 Home Décor Wall Art
by Leslie, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®

Tiki jewelry is fun and bright. But, what is a tiki? In most Polynesian cultures, tikis were large, typically wooden, carvings in a humanoid form. These often marked the boundaries of sacred or otherwise significant sites. It's not uncommon for symbols and icons of ancient cultures to inspire modern jewelry trends. However, the fascination with tiki forms isn't entirely new; in fact, it's a throwback.

Style Snapshot: Tiki Jewelry A Little History

In 1930s America, tiki lounges, bars, restaurants and more started to open and flourish. These businesses used stylistic interpretations of tiki forms and masks, including décor that resembled island flora such as palm leaves and leis made from plumerias or pikake. As this interest grew, so did a fascination with surfing, which is said to have begun with the ancient Polynesians. The surfing fad hit its peak in the '50s to '60s, especially in Hawaii, California and Australia.

So what does all this mean for jewelry design? Tons of possibilities.


Tiki lounges used colors such as burnt reds and oranges, which are seeing resurgence in all forms of design, including jewelry. If those aren't your colors, try using tropical hues found in ripe fruits or floral blooms (think hibiscus flowers), green foliage and turquoise with black or brown bases. Tiki forms have also been seen in a beach-inspired variety of rockabilly jewelry (counterculture designs with a retro vibe from the '50s) called surfabilly, with palettes of mint, pastel pink and brown, accented with bright yellows and base browns.


We're seeing everything from natural wood to high-shine resins used with tiki faces or forms. If you're going for a more original island feel, consider natural or brightly dyed fibers, gemstones, shell and coconut. Or make faux versions of bamboo rods, leaves and more made to look real out of polymer clays. See also acrylic or plastics, and metals aren't out of the picture either. Start from an existing tiki form, such as these fun focal components, or create your own by sculpting or carving soft materials like wood and gemstone.

Tiki jewelry is fun to design and wear. Whether your inspiration is that of ancient and mysterious forms of original Polynesian culture such as the Easter Island heads or the stylized interpretations brought to popularity in the '30s-'60s, explore your creative side with tiki faces in jewelry.
Style Snapshot: Tiki Jewelry

Tiki Lounge Beads and Components

Style Snapshot: Tiki Jewelry Design with ... Additional Resources ...

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