Maori Necklaces are usually carved out of bone, greenstone (NZ Nephrite Jade - Maori Name "Pounamu"), paua (New Zealand abalone) shell, or wood.
Maori Bone Necklaces
Maori Bone Necklaces were traditionally made from various bones - dog, albatross, other birds, and whale bone. Nowadays, most Maori Bone Necklaces will be made from Cow Bone, a by-product of meat processing plants.
There is also a small amount of whale bone carving that goes on. When whales beach and die on New Zealand shores, their bones are usually given to the local Maori iwi (tribe) for their customary use, which includes carving. Some whale bone inevitably ends up on New Zealand beaches too.
Bone carvings are used as a form of adornment, usually as a bone necklace or pendant, but also in the hair as a hair comb (heru), and in the ear as an earring.
Here are some examples of Maori Bone Necklaces:
Maori Bone Carving Designs
There are 5 main traditional Maori carving designs, each with a spiritual meaning.
Maori Bone Tiki Necklace - The Maori Tiki is believed to refer to the first man. It is a good luck charm, and it is often the Tiki that is handed down from one generation to the next.
The Tiki is also believed to be a fertility symbol.
Maori Koru Necklace - The Maori Koru design is inspired by the unfurling fern frond. The Koru represents peace, tranquility, personal growth, positive change, and awakening.
The Koru design also represents new life and harmony.
Some people like the Double Koru design, and a Black Koru is also popular.
Maori Twist Necklace - also called the Infinity Loop or Pikorua, the Maori Twist design depicts the bond of true friendship or love between two people or families. Despite all its twists and turns, there is no beginning or end.
A wonderful gift for a friend or loved one.
Maori Fish Hook Necklace - probably the most popular Maori design ( Hei matau) as it is a good luck charm for catching positive energy.
The Fish Hook is an important symbol of New Zealand, as in Maori mythology Maui fished up the North Island usig a hook made from his grandmother's jawbone.
The Maori Fish Hook signifies abundance, strength and determination. It is believed to bring peace, prosperity and good health. It is also worn to provide for safe travel over water.
Maori Manaia Necklace - The Manaia is a Maori spiritual guardian, a carrier of supernatural powers. The Manaia acts as a provider and protector over sky, earth and sea.
The Manaia is a symbol of safety and protection, so has long been a preferred pendant for those in the armed forces.
Maori Jade Greenstone Jewellery
|Greenstone Jade Maori Jewelry|
Maori Jade is a type of Nephrite Jade, but called Greenstone in New Zealand, or by the Maori name - Pounamu.