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I Want Pounamu not that Jade Stuff

There seems to be quite a bit of confusion over what is Pounamu and what it isn't, as we constantly get asked the question "is this Pounamu and not Jade?"

All of our greenstone Poumanu is sourced from the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand and carved by NZ carvers.

The main source of contention is overseas nephrite jade primarily sourced from British Colombia, which has and is being sold as Pounamu here in New Zealand by shops who are unaware of this issue or don't actually care where their product is from. Both the nephrite jade from New Zealand and British Columbia is the same type of jade and chemically and molecularly identical. Pounamu is the name reserved only for New Zealand-sourced greenstone. Because the market has had very limited supplies of Pounamu for commercial use, the addition of British Colombian jade has been a cheaper option for the supply of NZ-themed tourist souvenirs and carvings.

The Māori word pounamu, refers to two main types of green stone valued for carving: nephrite jade, classified by Māori as kawakawa, kahurangi, īnanga, and other names depending on colour; and the translucent bowenite, a type of serpentine, known as tangiwai which is not a form of jade but is still classified as pounamu.

In conclusion Pounamu is and is not jade, It is nephrite Jade and Tangiwai which is not jade. Jade is a type of rock and Pounamu is the term for only jade and bowenite (Tangiwai) sourced from New Zealand. What most people are actually asking is if our toki is pounamu or jade thinking Jade is bad, rather than if our product is New Zealand sourced or not. ALL of our Pounamu is sourced from the West Coast of NZ, none of it is British Columbian. Hope this clarifies the issue of what Pounamu and Jade are.


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