Author: Wallace Kelly

Tips on buying a bone carving necklace

Bone carving necklaces are a vital aspect of Maori culture and tradition. In New Zealand, many people wear stone or bone carving necklaces, proving that this jewellery is still significant to the culture even now. The designs are infused with symbolism and considered precious artefacts by the Maori community. If you’re thinking about buying one, here are a few things you should know.

The purpose of bone carving necklaces

Because the Maori people had no written language, carving was an essential practise in Maori culture. Carving embodied beliefs and carried stories through the ages. It is possible that bone carving necklace also serves a number of functions in addition to adornment. These include identification, protection, self-affirmation, and awarding opportunities. Whalebone or pounamu are the traditional materials for carvings. A person’s bone colour begins to alter when they wear it on their skin. This is a representation of the carved object absorbing the departed’s spirit. They are often passed down from generation to generation with the soul of the people who wore them attached to them. There are just a few areas in New Zealand where you can find Pounamu (also known as New Zealand greenstone), a form of jade. Pounamu carvings, on the other hand, can be found all around New Zealand, and the Maori highly esteem the strong, beautiful stone. Pounamu comes in a variety of shades of green, each distinguished by the presence of specks of colour. 

Pounamu was originally a woman by the name of Waitaiki, according to folklore. Poutini, the son of Tangaroa the sea deity, took her away from the coast of the South Island one day. She fled with Poutini to the Arahura River, where her husband, Tama-ahua, chased after them. Pounamu’s protector, Poutini, is revered. 

bone carving necklace

Different styles of carvings

There are a wide variety of typical carving patterns in bone carving necklaces. The fish hook and the koru are two of the most popular carvings. 

Fish hook or matau 

A hei is a necklace worn around the neck. The Maori have a strong connection to the sea and fishing, and the maori fish hook is a symbol of prosperity, life, and happiness. Traveling over water can also be safer thanks to this device. 

Pikorua or a single twist 

As the route of life, the twist serves as a visual representation of eternity. This form represents the eternal connection of two people’s spirits, despite the fact that they may be physically separated from one another from time to time. 


This spiral, which depicts the unfolding of a silver fern frond, represents the cycle of life, as well as new beginnings and fresh begins. Harmony, calm, tranquilly, as well as personal or spiritual growth, awakening, and change, have all been added to the definition. 


Bird’s head, human body, and fish’s tail combine to form this bizarre hybrid monster. In addition to being a messenger, it can also serve as a guardian. It is also a symbol of harmony between the heavenly, terrestrial, and maritime realms. 

It has long been considered a good luck charm. It can also convey a sense of pride in one’s ancestors, as well as wisdom and clarity. It is frequently passed on from father to son. 

Whale tail

Upon their arrival in New Zealand, the early Maori placed great value on whales. For seamen, the whale tail is a symbol of safety and direction. 

Bone carving necklaces have a great deal of cultural significance and make an excellent gift as they are heirlooms that can be passed down for many generations. If you’re looking for a great present idea, then a bone carving necklace is a great thing to consider.