Jewels of the Earth
Paul Beinssen’s pounamu (New Zealand jade) is gathered by Ngāi Tahu people, the stone’s traditional custodians on the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island. Each piece journeys to the Indonesian island of Bali, to be set in silver by a hand-picked team of craftsmen.
Paul – a carver and silversmith himself – trained the men to interpret his designs while establishing the island workshop. All ten employees receive an ethical wage, as well as accommodation for themselves and their families.
“I’m not sure if it’s a match made in heaven or earth,” he says “But Balinese people are incredibly skilful with silver and New Zealand has this stunning raw material.”
His boyhood scavenging on pebbly beaches has developed into a ceaseless search for pounamu with intriguing graphic patterns and contrasting hues.