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Mountain Jade Rotorua Pounamu

Mountain Jade Education

The European colonists of New Zealand called it greenstone, the geologist calls it nephrite, the gemologist calls it jade, and the Maori call it pounamu. Each is a different term describing the same material. It is credited with an array of highly desirable properties and is as highly-prized today as it was by the ancients some thousands of years ago.

Today as in ancient times, jade carving is a painstaking and exacting art form and care must be taken not to shatter the stone or make wasteful cuts. A carver first needs to study the heart of the stone; to see where its strengths lie in terms of colour, clarity and patterning, then work to illuminate the best of those elements within a piece.

It is a very time consuming process, and a single carving, depending on its intricacy, can take anywhere from half a day, to an entire day to complete. With the more complex designs, like a hei tiki for instance, it can take between two to four days to complete.

Mountain Jade School group tours feature:

  • A short journey into the history of jade from around the world
  • An exploration on the symbolic meanings behind the carved designs
  • A tour around the workshop and an explanation of machinery in the carving process
  • An opportunity to meet the carvers, see then at work, and ask questions
  • An insight into the artistic process in creating jade pendants and sculptures
  • The tour takes approximately 20 minutes

Contact:  Sabine Willemsen

Location: 1288 Fenton StCentral Rotorua

Phone: +64 7 349 1828



Mountain Jade Education – learn about the properties of pounamu and nephrite from around the world.