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Pounamu or Greenstone, is a treasured stone in Māori culture. Wearing a Pounamu necklace is a significant part of Māori tradition, and it is essential to understand the proper way to wear it. For centuries, Maori Greenstone has been used by the Maori people as talismans for personal safety and is frequently given to family members or gifted as a symbol of companionship. The stone fragments are often inherited by succeeding generations, known as taonga, which refers to a treasured gift in Māori traditions. It is believed that they aid those who wear them to establish contact with their forebears in the spiritual realm.
In this blog, we will discuss how to wear a Pounamu greenstone necklace, the cultural significance of wearing one, and some things to remember when choosing and wearing a Pounamu. 💚
How to Choose the Right Pounamu Necklace?
Choosing the right necklace is an essential part of wearing a Pounamu. The necklace should reflect the wearer's personality, and the design and size of the pendant should be proportionate to the person's body shape and size. When choosing a Pounamu necklace, consider the meaning behind the design. Each shape and symbol holds significance, so choosing one that resonates with you is important.
For example, if you are giving the necklace to a loved one, a classic twist Pikorua necklace that represents your connection may be a suitable choice. On the other hand, if the carving is for a strong-willed male in the family, starting with a Toki design may be a great option as it symbolises determination and strength. 💪🏻
It's a good idea to familiarise yourself with the meanings behind each design before exploring our offerings, as the symbolism may help you in making a decision. Each of our greenstone pendants is accompanied by a description of the shape and its meaning. To learn more about the origins of these meanings, we invite you to read our blog post titled "The Meanings of Different New Zealand Greenstone Shapes."
How to Wear a Pounamu Necklace?
Traditionally, Pounamu necklaces are worn with the pendant resting on the chest. The necklace should be worn close to the skin, and the length should be adjusted to sit just above the sternum. The pendant should be facing towards the wearer's heart, as it symbolises the connection to the land and the people. It is essential to show respect when handling Pounamu, as it is considered a taonga and should be treated with care. 🏻
How do I take care of my Pounamu?To ensure your Pounamu necklace lasts a lifetime, it is essential to care for it properly. Pounamu is a porous stone and should not be exposed to harsh chemicals or extreme temperatures. To clean your Pounamu, gently wipe it with a soft cloth, and avoid using abrasive cleaning agents. Over time, the natural oils from your skin will enhance the lustre and beauty of your Pounamu, making it unique to you. Apply a small amount of oil with your hands, leave it for 5-10 minutes, and then wipe off any excess oil with a soft cloth. This process gives your stone its distinctiveness, transforms it into your personal treasure, and will become a holder of your wairua. Your Pounamu's beauty, uniqueness, and specialness increase as you wear it over time. ✨
Although Pounamu is a stone, it is prone to breakage when dropped or struck against hard surfaces. Therefore, it is advisable to remove your taonga before participating in physical activities or sports that may cause it to collide with such surfaces.
Please be aware that longer cords are more likely to swing and collide with objects such as countertops or sinks when you lean forward, which may cause your taonga to chip or break. We recommend tucking it into your clothing if you are moving around such areas to avoid this.
Can I buy Pounamu for myself?
In Maori culture, greenstone necklaces and artifacts held significant traditional meaning and were gifted to powerful spiritual leaders. These precious greenstone pieces were passed down for generations, and the practice of gifting became widely adopted. 🙏🏼
Some greenstone pieces were believed to possess their own spirits, which would choose their wearer. Consequently, carving or taking one for yourself was considered bad luck as it could upset the spirit or guardian of the jade.
Do you bless the Pounamu?
We do not perform individual blessings on each Pounamu. The topic of blessings, or karakia, is complex and requires specific alignment with time, space, and place. They are tailored to the receiver rather than the giver or carver and must be performed in a way that is appropriate for the individual.
Carvers only perform karakia within the house of carving, and their role in the creation of the taonga ends once it leaves their hands. It is then up to the receiver to seek out a kaumatua or spiritual leader to have their piece blessed. ✨
If you would like your taonga blessed but are unsure of where to start, we recommend reaching out to the iwi of your rohe or your local marae, where you will be welcomed with care and respect regardless of your background.
What is the significance of a broken Pounamu?
According to Te Ao Māori, a broken Pounamu signifies a message from our spiritual guides, urging us to pause and take notice of our life and the events happening around us. 😌
What should I do with my broken Pounamu?
According to some iwi, a broken Pounamu should be returned to the land by burying it. However, the decision to do so depends on your personal beliefs and connection to Māori culture and traditions. We suggest seeking advice from your marae for further guidance. 🤲🏻
Wearing a Pounamu necklace is a significant way to connect with Māori culture and show respect for its traditions. Choosing the right necklace, wearing it correctly, and caring for it properly are all crucial aspects of owning and wearing a Pounamu. When worn with care and respect, a Pounamu necklace can become a treasured taonga, passed down through generations as a symbol of connection to the land and people of New Zealand.
We hope that these FAQs have been helpful in answering some of your questions on how to wear and care for your Pounamu Greenstone.