The green, green stone of home

Here in New Zealand, we are familiar with greenstone, also known as jade or pounamu, and know it for the significance it holds within Maori culture.

A lot of us tend to think of Greenstone as being unique to Maori and New Zealand. But did you know Greenstone is found all over the world, including China, India, and Canada?

There are 2 distinct types of jade in the world – Nephrite and Jadeite. Nephrite is our NZ Greenstone. Nephrite is also found in Canada and Russia, but the NZ one has a distinct yellow ‘flowering’ which is unique to us.

Jadeite has a much lighter colour and is often found in China.
Jade, as it’s referred to internationally, is featured prominently in ancient Asian art. Different cultures have different traditions and beliefs around the use of the stone, and what it represents.

Maori hold greenstone in high regard as a symbol of status. It was used for tools, jewellery and gifts. Items containing or made from pounamu were treasures.

In the Maori culture, pounamu is gifted, whereas the Chinese are traditionally encouraged to buy jade for themselves. There are many more customs around greenstone, too many to list here, and ultimately it is up to you to decide what feels right for yourself.

If you feel particularly drawn to a piece, but don’t want to purchase it for yourself, put it on your wish list or let a loved one know, and they can help you out!

A lot of people choose a carving based on the symbolic meaning. Maori symbolised different designs with different meanings – here’s the meanings behind some of the traditional designs in our collection:

Pikorua – Triple Twist
Bonding of friendship, two lives becoming one for all eternity.

Hei Matau – Fish Hook
Strength and determination and brings peace, prosperity and good health.
Provides safe journey over water.

Manaia – Stylised Figure
The carrier of supernatural powers.
Head of a bird, body of a man, tail of a fish represents sky, earth and sea.
Protects the wearer from evil.

Koru – Spiral
Depicts new beginnings, growth and harmony.

All our greenstone at Showcase Jewellers Te Awamutu is sourced and carved in NZ. Our team take a lot of care when choosing each individual piece to ensure we have a meaningful, unique selection of greenstone to offer you. Come instore to see our collection and see which piece feels right for you.