Formed by the movement of Pacific and Australia tectonic plates over thousands of years.
New Zealand nephrite jade, also known as pounamu or greenstone, is formed by intensive heat and pressure some 10km deep under the earth of the Southern Alps. 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. These days, it’s incredibly rare to find New Zealand nephrite jade in its origin rock, with the pounamu typically freed by glacial movements, landslides, and erosion from streams and rivers.
New Zealand Inanga Jade
Our jade is rare and undergoes a unique weathering process
Our jade is rare and offers incredible variety in colour, pattern and texture, with each region tending to produce different variations. Some New Zealand pounamu, such as flower jade, undergoes a unique weathering process where the stone gets its colour after being formed, rather than during formation like most other jades. The colourations in this particular stone have occurred over thousands of years of weathering, while it sits in the river getting tumbled and smoothed, the flowing water pushes minerals into the stone through minute fracture, causing oxidation and a unique yellow gold colour – reflecting its name, flower jade. 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.
Respecting Māori culture and heritage
Pounamu holds incredible significance among Māori, making it a sacred material for many. The strong spiritual connection Māori have with pounamu is reflected in the way that various stone types were named, with each pounamu type being given an identity that corresponded to the world in which they lived. Stones were named after native birds, fish, plants, locations or legends. Inanga, the lightest of our pounamu is named after our native whitebait fish. Kahurangi is a highly translucent green and was the most prized in early times, named after the clearness of the sky. Kokopu is the Māori name for the native trout fish and the stone has distinctive brown spots, like the trout. Kawakawa pounamu is one of the darkest and richest shades of green, and gets its name from reflecting the colours of the kawakawa tree. Tahutahi is one of the rarest types of pounamu with its white flecks being names after snowflakes.
New Zealand Kahurangi Jade
Intense depth of green / Named after the clearness of the sky / Highly translucent / Rare form of jade and highly prized / Pure stone with little to no imperfections
Protecting our treasure for future generations
New Zealand is the only country that does not mine for their jade, the stone is instead fossicked in riverbeds and glacial valleys. This ensure the taonga (treasure) is safeguarded for future generations. 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 were the first New Zealand retailer to be registered under this scheme which means every piece of New Zealand Pounamu (nephrite jade or greenstone) we carve in our studios is authentic Ngai Tahu Pounamu which we have purchased directly from Ngai Tahu. By buying Ngai Tahu Pounamu you're buying sustainable, ethically sourced New Zealand jade, and are acknowledging its' importance to Māori 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 Māori culture and heritage.