Incorporating the koru design
23 Dec 2020

Incorporating the koru design

At the beginning of each year our thoughts are always drawn to one of our most popular designs - the koru - and it's symbolism of life, hope and new beginnings. Depicting the unfurling frond of the native New Zealand silver fern, the koru design is beloved throughout Aotearoa and a fundamental symbol in Māori art, carving and tattooing. It is an integral element of kowhaiwhai designs which are elaborate Māori scroll patterns traditionally painted on whare tipuna (meeting houses) or on waka (canoes). Beautiful kowhaiwhai patterns tell stories passed down through generations, and are often inspired by elements of nature- such as the koru


greenstone koru shop all


The koru's outer coil and its fluid circular shape portray the idea of growth and perpetual movement as we continue on life's journey. While the inner coil suggests a return to one's point of origin. 

We love to incorporate the koru and its many meanings into our greenstone carvings. Whether it be replicating the shape of the koru, etching it into stone, or harmonizing it with other designs to create something new and exciting.

Let's see how we embrace the koru in our work.....


Replicating the shape of the koru

Some of our most loved designs are the open greenstone koru and closed greenstone koru. They are crafted to simply portray the natural shape of the koru and connect people to Aotearoa. Luke Gardiner and our Mountain Jade Workshop team carve many of these popular designs. 


Pictured above: New Zealand Pounamu Open Koru Necklace, New Zealand Flower Jade Polished Koru, New Zealand Flower Jade Koru Necklace.


Harmonizing with other motifs

With many of our carvings we combine two or more designs to create a contemporary greenstone necklace which incorporates many meanings. This is one of the ways we try to push the boundaries with pounamu carving and move the art form we love into the future. 


Pictured above: New Zealand Pounamu Koru Hook, New Zealand Greenstone Twist with Koru, New Zealand Pounamu Koru Breastplate.


Etching the koru into stone

Etching greenstone involves carefully scooping away parts of the stone to create beautiful patterns with are smooth to run your fingers over. Tamaora Walker is well-known for his exceptional etching skills. 

greenstone tooth pendant


Pictured above: Canadian Jade Large Stingray Necklace, New Zealand Jade Woven Toki Necklace, New Zealand Pounamu Disc with Koru.


Creating something new

The koru also drives our inspiration to create new carvings which are not based on the traditional shape of the koru - but you can see the influence of the motif throughout the finished piece. 


Pictured above: Canadian Jade Double Koru TeardropNew Zealand Flower Necklace with Koru detailNew Zealand Pounamu Triple Koru Pendant


Koru share sets

You'll often see the koru motif used in our same stone share sets designs, as when brought together the flowing circular shapes of both pieces fit peffectly together as one. 


Pictured above: New Zealand Pounamu Same Stone Toki SetNew Zealand Pounamu Koru Design Same Stone Set


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