Jade: Imperial green gem (Part 4) – the symbolic and spiritual gem

Sonja McLahlan (UK) In this part of fourth part of my series on jade, I will discuss the alternative and spiritual uses of jade, its symbolism and the various names different cultures have given it over time. Jade is considered to be a powerful and influential gemstone in both modern and traditional cultures. In ancient Egypt, jade was admired as a stone of love, inner peace and of harmony and balance. In many other regions and cultures, jade has also been regarded as a lucky or protective stone. Fig. 1. Fish hook. Fig. 2. Manaia. Fig. 3. Triple twist. These influences were especially important for the Maoris, Mayans and the Chinese, and can still be seen today reflected in modern jewellery and sculpture. Maori symbolism The Maoris have up to 200 different names for jade, but only 20 are in common use. A few examples are discussed below: Pounamu: this is the common Maori name for nephrite jade.Inanga: this is named after whitebait (a small fish) and is characterised by pearly white or bluish-green colour. It is the most highly prized of all the jades.Kahurangi: this means a treasured possession, jewel or prize, and is a very clear apple green jade with very few flaws.Kawakawa: this is named after the native kawakawa plant and is a name given to a darker green jade, sometimes distinguished by small, dark inclusions.Rimu: this is named after the Rimu Valley along the Arahura River and is a very dark-green.Maori symbolism is reflected in the … Read More

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