Jade get its name from the Spanish "piedras de ijadas," (stones of the loins). It has been used throughout time for tool making and for adornment; to many it has a special spiritual significance and it is believed to have healing qualities (esp for the kidneys). The Latin translation of "piedras de ijadas" is "lapis nephriticus" (nephrite stone). It came to be called simply, nephrite. GREENSTONE is what New Zealanders call nephrite jade. POUNAMU is the Maori word for the nephrite jade (greenstone) found in Aotearoa (New Zealand). Pounamu can also refer to stones such as serpentine and bowenite that is found in New Zealand. Black Jade (aka Cowell jade) from South Australia is a true nephrite green jade; higher levels of iron give it a black appearance. When held to the light hints of green can be seen.
The fish-hook shape of the hei matau finds its origins in Maori legend, which holds that the North Island of New Zealand was once a huge fish that was caught by the great mariner Maui using only a woven line and a bone hook. Legend holds that the [...]