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Types of Pounamu


Pounamu or Greenstone are used interchangeably here in New Zealand when referring to Nephrite Jade. Pounamu is found in the West Coast and upper regions of the South Island of New Zealand and we are lucky to have such a wide variety of colour in such a small area of land.

Maori term of Pounamu does in fact include other forms of green stones here such as Bowenite and Serpentine, but most commonly refers to Nephrite Jade.

Listed are some of the most common examples and names we use to describe these:

KAWAKAWA 

Is our most common variety and comes in shades of rich lush greens to deep dark green hues. It is named after a plant with many healing properties.

SOUTH WESTLAND

Is another common variety named after the area to which it is found. Known for it light to mid green colour with swirls of darker colours and inclusions.

INANGA

Is named after one of juvenile native fish we call Whitebait. It comes in a variety of colours from pearl white, grey to an almost blue shade of green.

KOKOPU

Another variety named after one of native fish. It has distinct patterns that resemble the fish it is named after.

It comes in a variety a pale almost milky colours of green, blue to even quite yellow brown tones. Whiles it’s not a high-grade stone and is softer compared to other varieties of pounamu it is much sought after due to its uniqueness.

FLOWER JADE

This variety is one of the most beautiful with its deep green and blooms of yellow to orangey browns. Mostly found in the Marsden area of the West Coast.

RUAKARAKA

A rarer form of Kawakawa named after the Karaka tree with its yellow orange fruit. The stone is quite striking with paler shades of green intermingled with streaks of yellow or orange.

TANGIWAI

Is actually a form of Bowenite not Nephrite Jade but is still embraced as a form of Pounamu. It is found in the beautiful Fiord lands of the South Island and has amazing translucency almost glassy like appearance. Tangiwai can come in shades of bluish green to quite olive tones.

KAHURANGI

Prized for its clarity and depth of crisp apple green colour. It can often have small black flecks thru the stone.