Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Discovering New Zealand: Bone, Stones and Shells

Several of you know that I've been traveling for a few weeks and have gone quiet on my blogging. All for good reason. I've been down in New Zealand visiting my sister who lives there. It's been 10 years since my last visit, so in some ways it was a whole new experience. 

I love exploring places, and nothing is better for me than starting at a local museum. It is a great way to ground youself in the culture, history and with any luck the jewelry. New Zealand is a jewelry jackpot. The native Maori are creative and prolific in their designs and use of symbols. The eternity twist design (pikorua) represents the lasting bond between two people in life. Even though people may move away, their paths will cross again --whether friendship, love or blood. 

I spent hours in the museum looking at the designs and various materials the Maori use to create jewelry. The large twist (above) is a natural New Zealand greenstone (similar to jade) and is simply stunning. It is scarce and expensive, so I didn't buy much of this stone. But I did pick up a few pieces. I couldn't help myself!

Over my few weeks there, I looked in local bead shops, galleries filled with original style and of course the Auckland Museum.  I was in search of materials to bring home with me to create a series of New Zealand inspired designs. There was no shortage of paua shell (left) which is New Zealand's version of abalone but with much deeper, richer colors. It came in all shapes and sizes. And I included a few simple shell beads to use as accents in patterns.  I also found bone carvings (above right) that I picked up with native New Zealand designs. The one above is called Hei-Matau (or fish hook), which means prosperity. Fish were so plentiful to the Maori that the simple ownership of a fish hook meant prosperity. 

I took lots of pictures, and have lots of ideas running through my mind about this stash. I'll post again soon to give more background and history on the meaning behind the symbols.  I can't wait to get started!


Christine Altmiller said...

these are fantastic~i can't wait to see what you create!

Marcela Gmd said...

Even though people may move away, their paths will cross again!!!!

Besos, desde EspaƱa, Marcela♥

Miss Val's Creations said...

What awesome goodies! The eternity and prosperity symbols are so beautiful and meaningful. That expensive green stone looks amazing!

be-rare! said...

Real treasure you have :) Paua shells look amazing, cant wait to see them in your projects.

AntiquityTravelers on Etsy