An Interview with Tahitian Pearl Designer Kelly Hinerava Bailey of Hinerava


An Interview with Tahitian Pearl Designer Kelly Hinerava Bailey of Hinerava

June 24, 2013

French Polynesia is famous for its Tahitian pearls. Known for her one-of-kind “island-chic” designs that feature Tahitian pearls, designer Kelly Hinerava Bailey’s jewelry line, Hinerava, is showcased in the boutique aboard the m/s Paul Gauguin and the m/vTere Moana

Raised in Tahiti surrounded by the wonder and breathtaking beauty of the islands, Kelly developed a passion for Tahitian black pearls. Growing up, she particpated in local artisan fairs, fashioning black pearl jewelry and often combining the pearls with precious and semi-precious stones.  After completing a bachelor of science degree in geology, a Gemological Institute of America (G.I.A.) graduate program specializing in pearls, and a master’s degree in business adminstration in the U.S., she returned to Tahiti to continue her life-long interest in jewelry design and creation.  In early 2011, Kelly started her jewelry company Hinerava, meaning “Tahitian beauty.”

Tahitian Pearl Designer Kelly Hinerava Bailey of Hinerava

Q. How long have you been designing jewelry?
KHB: Professionally for five years.  But I’ve really been designing jewelry since age 10, making jewelry for my mom with shells and plastic beads.  She still has some, and we have a good laugh when she brings them out. 

Q: Was designing jewelry something you always envisioned doing?
KHB: Yes, I have always had a passion for gemstones and I love the creative process of design and production.  I’m blessed to do something I love and to receive such positive feedback for my work.  I put a piece of myself into each thing I make, and it’s very satisfying to see someone fall in love with one of my creations and know that they will wear it and think of their experience of the islands.

Q: What was your inspiration in starting Hinerava? 
KHB: I saw an opportunity in Tahiti to mix colored stones in my designs with Tahitian pearls.  The hues and shades of the stones pick up and reflect off of the iridescent colors in the pearls.  They play off each other.  No one else was doing this.  I think it adds a fresh and contemporary look to my designs.  Of course I also do more classic pieces as well.  

Q: Describe the essence of your collections.
KHB: Hinerava is an island-chic line of Tahitian pearl jewelry that is easy to wear and can be dressed up or down.  I believe in simplicity as the ultimate sophistication, and I try to design this principle into my jewelry.

Q: How do you come up with the jewelry designs for Hinerava?
KHB: I like the delicate shapes and colors of ocean life.  In fact the seafoam green that I have chosen for the Hinerava logo was inspired by the color of the Bora Bora lagoon shallows.  And of course the pearls themselves are very inspiring!  I try to match them depending on specific colors and shapes.  For example, I recently came upon some astonishing aqua-blue Tahitian pearls, and right away I thought of pairing them with deep blue kyanites or soft blue aquamarines.

Q: On average, how long does it take to design a piece of jewelry, from concept to final product?
KHB: From design to creating a mold or sample, depending on the piece, and then adjusting the sample to desired specs and moving finally to production, it can take months!  Creating strands of pearls that have rare colors and matching shapes and sizes of similar luster can take even longer, sometimes months or even years. Colors such as pistachio, aubergine, and aqua blue occur very rarely in nature, and collecting enough of them to make an entire matching necklace requires a lot of patience!

Kelly Hinerava Bailey Designing Tahitian Pearl Jewelry

Q: What is your favorite piece to date? 
KHB: So far my favorite piece was a pistachio pearl necklace that it took me 2 years to make. It was so striking, I thought of keeping it myself!  One day a lovely woman fell in love with it and all of a sudden it was sold. I almost cried.  From what I hear she wears it every day.  This makes me so happy. 

Q: Most popular item of your collections?
KHB: Some of my most popular pieces are the Black Diamond Lariat and matching earrings, the Lasso, the Tahitian Rainbow necklace, the Lucky Charm bracelet, the Coral Fan earrings and Coral Bloom necklace.

Lucky Charm Bracelet


Lariat Necklace


Tahitian Rainbow Necklace

To learn more about Hinerava and Tahitian black pearls, visit