New Zealand Greenstone also known as Pounamu is considered a precious and powerful stone by Māori people. It is often carved into a pendant or necklace which carries special meaning for its wearer, especially for Kiwis living abroad in Australia and across the globe.
Traditionally, pounamu, or greenstone, is regarded as a talisman. Māori designs and symbols carved in pounamu carry spiritual significance. More than just a beautiful art form, pounamu can represent ancestors, connection with the natural world, or attributes such as strength, prosperity, love, and harmony.
There are many different designs that Greenstone necklaces are carved, here are 5 of the most popular designs you can find.
- Toki (Adze)
Worn as a symbol of strength, toki carries with it the closest of all connections to traditional Māori pounamu stone carving. With deep symbolism associated with mana and reverence, it can also mean wisdom, courage and bravery.
In Maori design, the greenstone koru has a dual meaning. It is commonly used in Maori art as a symbol of creation due to its fluid circular shape. The koru is also said to represent new life. Literally speaking, the baby fern frond slowly unwinds over its adolescent life as it grows into a mature frond.
The fish hook shape of the hei matau finds its origins in Māori legend, which holds that the North Island of New Zealand was once a huge fish that was caught by the great mariner, Maui, using only a woven line and a hook made from the jawbone of his grandmother. The fish hook denotes the importance of fishing to the Maori people of New Zealand and their strong relationship to Tangaroa, the god of the sea. It was originally a practical tool used to catch fish but slowly became ornamental, particularly when Maori began trading with Europeans.
The twist jade carving represents the many paths of life and love so is regarded as the original eternity symbol. The single twist shows the joining together of two people for eternity while the double and triple twists have a similar meaning but refer more to the joining of two peoples or cultures.
Heart designs are often associated with feelings and meanings of love, unity, and cohesion.
We feel a quickened heartbeat in our chest when we see a loved one walk through our front door after months of separation, to a drop in our heart when we hear terrible news. There is a clear connection between the physical sensations of our body and the emotions that arise in response to the world.
This clear, real connection, between the feeling in our 'hearts' when we experience emotion is why greenstone heart shapes are given to express our feelings. Give them to those you care for, those with 'big hearts.' People who are selfless individuals that deserve to be reminded that your life and the lives of those around you, are better off with them in it.
All New Zealand Green stone/ pounamu is sourced from riverbeds and boulders in the South Island, especially the West Coast. The colour and markings of each stone vary according to its river source.
To see our range of New Zealand Greenstone check out our website.