About New Zealand Greenstone
Greenstone is our name for the nephrite jade that comes from the South Island of New Zealand. We also call it pounamu.
Nephrite is principally a calcium magnesium silicate. Its structure is made up of tightly felted crystal fibres which is the reason for its' incredible toughness (Mohs 6.5) and its unique structure, it is also the reason we can do what we do with it and why the surface of a finished carving possesses a smooth glowing lustre and a greasy or wax-like quality.
Greenstone has a long tradition of being used and revered here starting with the first Maori inhabitants who fulfilled an ancient prophecy by travelling over the seas to find 'the God stone' as it was known then.
It was shaped into tools, weapons, and jewellery. This tradition for jewellery making has continued through to today.
The spiritual significance of greenstone has long been recognised in New Zealand and I believe that if a person is attracted to wearing a carving it will have an enhancing and empowering effect on their life.
Types of Greenstone
The main types of greenstone that we use are : kawa kawa, kahurangi, inanga, and flower jade
is named after our native pepper tree as like the tree it has a medium to dark colouring with black spots or lines.
which means clear like the sky. This greenstone is usually clear light green with few inclusions or markings.
this greenstone is pale greyish in appearance usually with few markings. It is named after a native fish with similar colouring.
or Marsden stone is a greenstone with orange brown markings giving very beautiful features.
The Story of Pounamu The Sacred Stone of Aotearoa
Long ago, when there were different stars in the heavens,
the ancestors sailed the oceans seeking the stone of the Gods.
When they came to the shores of Aotearoa, to the
Arahura river, they found a stone born of the stars,
and held it close to heal the people and the land.
They called it Pounamu.
Pounamu is of the jade family. It is a superb jewellery stone,
one that also served the ancestors when they needed
sharp, fine edged tools.
For more than a thousand years the trail walkers of the Waitaha
nation moved this precious stone over the high passes of the Southern
Alps on the peace trail. There it gained its mana, a
wonderful birthright of spiritual power.
Then it was carried by the great double-hulled waka to all parts of the land, and the old homelands of the Pacific Rim.
Name your stone for it is your companion on the trails of life.
In accord with ancient lore it is usually gifted,
its enduring power is being given with love.
It is a stone of the wairua, the world of the spirit realm that surrounds all.
(reprinted with the authors permission)
Copyright© The Stone Studio NZ 2007