New Zealand nephrite jade (aka pounamu or greenstone) is formed by intensive heat and pressure some 10km deep under the earth of the Southern Alps. Also known as pounamu and greenstone, this precious material has been forced to the earth’s surface by the movement of Pacific and Australia tectonic plates over thousands of years.
New Zealand’s jade fields may be small, but they’re home to the finest nephrite specimens in the world. Our jade is rare and offers incredible variety in colour, pattern and texture. New Zealand pounamu undergoes a unique weathering process and holds incredible significance among Maori people, making it a sacred material for many.
These days, it’s incredibly rare to find New Zealand nephrite jade in its origin rock, with the pounamu typically freed by erosion from streams and rivers. Due to its specific gravity of three, jade boulders become a third lighter in water and are more easily moved. Alluvial float jade is most commonly discovered on or near the coast after heavy rainfall, which has a loosening effect on the boulders.
In the late 1990s the New Zealand government vested ownership of pounamu to the South Island tribe of Ngai Tahu. Under the Waitangi Tribunal settlement, ownership of all pounamu occurring in its natural state in Ngai Tahu’s tribal area, including the coastline, was vested in Ngai Tahu. Under their leadership the Ngai Tahu Authentic Pounamu scheme was borne, and is a way for customers to verify the piece of New Zealand pounamu (jade) they're purchasing is genuine and from New Zealand.
We're the first New Zealand retailer to be registered under this scheme which means every piece of New Zealand Pounamu (aka nephrite jade or greenstone) we carve in our studios is authentic Ngai Tahu Pounamu which we have purchased directly from Ngai Tahu. Each carving comes with a unique code which you can enter online to verify the carvings New Zealand origin and see exactly where it was found and in which South Island river. By buying Ngai Tahu Pounamu you're buying sustainable, ethically sourced New Zealand jade, and are acknowledging its' importance to Maori and New Zealander culture by supporting a scheme that ensures it lasts for future generations. We also sell pieces from some of New Zealand’s finest independent artists, who source their own NZ Pounamu.
We have a broad range of carefully carved pieces made from this cherished stone. Our goal is to protect the resource so it lasts into the future, creating pieces from the material that do it justice while respecting Maori culture and heritage.