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New Zealand Greenstone or Pounamu

Posted by Melanie McLachlan on
New Zealand Greenstone or Pounamu

In New Zealand, Nephrite jade is known as “greenstone” or “pounamu” and it plays a very important role in Maori culture. It is considered as a “Taonga” (or treasure).

greenstone pendant
The jade is only found in the South Island of New Zealand, known in the Maori language as “Te Wai Pounamu” (“The Greenstone Water”).


Traditionally weapons, tools and a variety of ornaments and jewellery were made of jade. Treasured items are still passed on as valuable heirlooms and are often given as gifts to loved ones or as gifts to conclude important agreements.

greenstone
In New Zealand, Greenstone was formed by great heat and pressure on the ocean bed over 2300 million years ago. This beautiful gemstone was uplifted high into the mountains 10 million years ago during the formation of the Southern Alps.

Over time erosion has released greenstone boulders into the glaciers and rivers that carry them to today’s remote valleys and streams.

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