Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Nov 1- The quest for Green Stone

Green Stone is seen everywhere in NZ. From jewelry to pieces of art to old Maori weapons. Pounamu (the Maori word) is Jade. In China they find Jadeite which contains different minerals then nephrite, which is the NZ Jade. The are both precious. While it is valued for it's beauty, durability and strength, it is considered by the Maori to have MANA (status) and to be TAPU (sacred). The story goes:
 Originally, it is alleged, there were two stones, Poutini (the greenstone) and Whaiapu, which belonged to Ngahue and the chieftainess Hina-tua-hoanga respectively. The latter became jealous of Ngahue's stone and drove him from Hawaiki.
Eventually his canoe, Tahirirangi, reached New Zealand and Ngahue hid his greenstone near Arahura on the west coast of the South Island. It was very well hidden and lies there to this day; however, small portions are occasionally broken off and carried down the river. These pieces provide the Maori with his source of greenstone.
Folks who know me well will fully understand my interest in this stone. For as long as I can remember I have been drawn to collecting rocks and shells and odd shaped stones. 
I see this Jade everywhere here. beautifully carved into jewelry :
 Green stone is only found on the South Island. I am on the North Island but there are places that sell rough cut pieces of green stone (who can afford the finished pieces)
"Can we make our own jewelry?" I ask Rainer. His answer , "Let's give it a try" off we went on a quest to find inexpensive pieces of green stone. Not as easy as one might suspect. While it is plentiful, it is also valuable. Those having the raw material are well aware of what finished pieces are worth and they want their share of the monetary pie. WE refused to pay $5 for a small piece like those pictured above, so the quest continued for a few hours until we found a place that was willing to sell "cut off's" for $1.
We were both like kids in a candy store. We touched and felt every piece. I liked smaller ones while he went for  bigger , bulkier ones.
We came back to the house, each with 5 pieces and a vision of what we could do.Rainer broke out the drills and buffing wheels while I did some research on how to approach this stone.
The one thing I found out was that this stone is very, very hard and there is a reason the pieces made from it are so expensive LOL Considering the Maori made weapons from it..DUH! So after a long time of slowly graduating to finer and finer sand paper (wet) and then a polishing wheel, I decided that I may have to find other ways of using this stone.

 Here are my 5 pieces. Can you tell which one is "done"?

It would be this one LOL Go ahead and laugh...we did. I'm already coming home with some very special jewelry. I doubt I will be "investing" in any Green stone  symbols, but the quest for the stone and dreams of grandeur were certainly a fun way to spend a day of rest. Paua shell is also something seen all over NZ, I wonder where they find those...and then there is Gum...hmmm I wonder where one finds that? Stay tuned

No comments:

Post a Comment