Maori Greenstone (Jade)

The following is some basic information on Maori Jade. If you would like to see some beautiful Jade Jewelry offered by one of our affiliates go to The Bone Art Place.

Upon arriving to New Zealand the Maori discovered that their new home had an abundance of a beautiful green stone they called Pounamu (Jade) which translated means Greenstone. They discovered that this stone had not only beauty but practical uses as well. It is a hard and tough stone making it useful as a tool or weapon. They also used it to carve beautiful Greenstone Jewelry (Jade Jewelry).

There are two types of Jade, jadeite and nephrite. Nephrite is the only type to occur in New Zealand. It is found only in the south island.

It has been illegal to export raw greenstone (jade) from New Zealand since 1947 due to it's limited supply.

The Maori classified Greenstone according to the shades of green. The names they gave the various types of Greenstone are:

Inanga (Whitebait): Very pale green.
Totoweka: Very rare form of Greenstone - streaked or spotted with red.
Kohuwai: Called after the greenish moss growth in a slow running stream.
Kawa-kawa: Has a strong green color with varying shades throughout.
Kako-Tea: Dark green with black spots.
Kahurangi: Bright green with light streaks resembling rolling clouds.