The Provenance of our Pounamu

At Benjamin Black Goldsmiths we love creating beautiful jewellery with pounamu (greenstone). We feel privileged to work with a professional greenstone carver from the West Coast of New Zealand's South Island, which is located just a few hours drive from Nelson.

Garth Wilson has family connections with pounamu spanning hundreds of years, to the Maori tribes Ngati Mahaki and Ngati Waewae, the original traders of pounamu on the West Coast.

Pounamu was the God Stone of the Maori people, and was very important to pre-European Maori. It is an extremely hard stone, with the tensile strength of steel. Made of interwoven fibres, it will actually bend before breaking and holds a sharp edge.

Garth says a special Karakia (prayer) over the pounamu before he removes it from the River, which has been passed down from his elders, along with a blessing that he says over the piece when it is finished.

"We just take pounamu from the rivers and mountain sides that has been gifted to us by the land. We never cut the pounamu from the source.  Part of the Karakia is to say thank you for the pounamu," says Garth.

Here are just a few of the beautiful pieces we have made with pounamu. To enquire about having a custom jewellery piece made, please get in touch with us.