We are often asked what the historical Maori traditions are around the gifting of greenstone necklace designs, and what Maori believe today. :
In Maori culture pounamu necklaces were crafted into powerful traditional symbols, and gifted to the powerful, spiritual tribesmen. Maori spiritual leaders handed down this greenstone for generations, and leading by example the practice of gifting became widespread. Certain pieces of greenstone were actually recognized as having their own spirits, which chose their wearer, so carving or taking one for yourself was bad luck as it would anger the spirit or guardian of the jade.
Today however, it is increasingly common to purchase a piece for yourself. We live in a globalised world where the walls surrounding traditions are more permeable, so many international customers are motivated by personal beliefs which are removed from Maori custom here in New Zealand, and that's ok. Consider what's important to you; this will determine the course of action you should take when buying a greenstone necklace.