Maori have been gifting pounamu (or greenstone) for centuries. The stone was revered – a true taonga (treasure) - thought to have the power capable of evoking different feelings and retelling powerful stories through the lines etched into its design.
Each piece would express a different meaning and furthermore it was thought that by wearing the item against the skin, the stone would take on something of the person's essence. An adornment gifted by the giver and amplified by the wearer, to become a piece which is wholly something of both people.
A carving would often take months, even years, to make and the permanence of the material and the intention of the gift meant it was something to last a lifetime – something to seal friendships and relationships – something that would connect two people, for all time.
As we reach Valentine’s Day, it's hard to think of a gift with a greater expression of love or meaning than greenstone, or jade.
Whilst very masculine and traditional designs such as the hei tiki still remain, there are many contemporary designs with a feminine aesthetic.
The graceful lines of a pikorua (or 'twist') that symbolise the bond between two people are much loved and amongst our most popular choice of design. Great care and attention goes into the design which must be balanced. It takes great skill and art to make, and a twist is a piece which comes from years of learning.
The koru design is based on the unfurling fern frond of the native New Zealand silver fern. Meaning harmony or new beginnings it's the ideal gift for reaffirming one’s love, or as a statement of kinship.
And of course, this Valentine’s Day, what could be more apt than a pounamu heart. Commitment, unity, fondness, adoration. Whatever the intention, the gift will resonate as one of love. Something to keep and cherish forever.
This Valentine’s Day gift something truly special to your someone special.