Oblong / Serpentine Pounamu
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Oblong Serp is an elegant pendant carved from a mottled olive green marbled 'Serpentine' pounamu, sourced from the Westcoast, South Island NZ.
These beautiful pieces are hand crafted by Mia and Sarah from Simply Westcoast Stones. They source and carve all their own pieces from the Westcoast (South Island) of New Zealand where they are based.
Stone size: (l)100mm x (w)30mm
Colour: Olive green with mottled brown barbling
String colour: Brown
A brief History of Pounamu
Pounamu is a Māori term that refers to 3 different stone types, Nephrite, Bowenite and Serpentine.
Nephrite (Greenstone, Jade) being harder and tougher was used to make weapons and tools used for sacred projects, such as the carving of waka, as well as ceremonial pieces and adornments for those of chiefly lineage. It was never wasted or thrown away and as the tools wore down they were turned into pendants to be worn.
Nephrite Jade is the most sacred for Maori and traditionally to be only gifted and not purchased for oneself.
The Māori classification of pounamu is by colour and appearance. The main classes are kawakawa, kahurangi, īnanga, and tangiwai. The first three are nephrite jade, while tangiwai is a form of bowenite. Bowenite is found only at the entrance to Milford Sound. It is an iron magnesium silicate mineral that is an unusual, translucent form of serpentine.
Serpentinite is formed under similar conditions to greenstone Pounamu, deep within the earth, but it hasn't quite reached high enough temperatures to form the pure green colour that we call Greenstone or Jade. It is a warm heart stone combined with Copper and Magnesium, creating a range of colours from green to mottled brown. The Serpentine Pounamu was used for more everyday tools, food preparation tools and pendants. Serpentinite has been treasured since ancient times for its energy holding properties.
Serpentine have become a popular New Zealand stone in jewellery for its colour variations. Not as expensive as pure nephrite jade, but still a beautiful and unique stone found mainly in the Westcoast of the South Island. Serpentine stone can be purchased as a gift for yourself. Most carvers do not see it as 'tapu' (sacred) like Nephrite, which traditionally had to be gifted.