Pounamu necklace designs that are strong and durable
14 Feb 2016

Pounamu necklace designs that are strong and durable

Pounamu designs and the strength that comes from them are two-fold. The strength of meaning comes from the design. The physical durability of the design and its ability to stand up to knocks is the second characteristic. Let's look at the durability aspect first.

1. Choose durability by jade stone origin

When we carve, we know that high grade British Columbian jade holds the sharpest edge without fracturing or chipping, so this variety is one of the most durable. In saying that, because pounamu (jade from New Zealand) has a tightly interwoven crystal structure as well, all high quality pieces of pounamu are strong regardless of their geographic origin. British Columbian jade is scientifically a whisker more durable but not enough to influence what stone you purchase.

2. Flawless stones are strongest

Pounamu is strong because of a mineral called temolite. All nephrite jade is made up of tremolite, which has a tight interwoven crystal structure. Selecting a piece of pounamu that is a flawless even colour with no visible imperfections when held to the light will be extremely strong. This is because there are less 'elements' impeding the tight crystal structure of the tremolite.

If you look at a normal river rock under a microscope you can see a large crystalline structure. The large crystals render it weak. If you look at a piece of jade under a microscope you see an extremely tight and interlocking structure of very small 'crystals.' This means it's strong and can hold its shape when carved into delicate forms.

A good example of this is the piece of British Colombian jade seen in the above image slider. The small black spots are made up of iron, these break up the tight interwoven structure of the tremolite weakening the overall structure of the material, much like holes in a blanket.

Within the bright green rings are small black dots of iron which also weaken the overall structure of this British Columbian jade. It is still of a very high quality and is among the strongest and hardest available.

All our carvings are crafted with pieces of pounamu that will last a life time of everyday wear. Knowing that perfect stones are strong stones is worth keeping in mind especially if you're going to be bumping or jumping off things outdoors!

3. The most durable Pounamu shapes

The most durable carved pounamu shapes tend to be square and circular because these shapes are more solid, and less likely to get chipped if they hit against something. Hikers, hunters, sports players and people that live an active outdoor lifestyle tend to purchase the square, rectangle or circle shaped designs because they are very durable and strong no matter activity they undertake.

4. Less 'negative space', means stronger design

This carving is highly intricate. Its form has many undercuts where the arms of the twist curl over and under one another. Because these arms are long they are more prone to breaking when being knocked. Also it has a lot of 'negative space' meaning there is more space for it to catch on something.

When compared to the thicker, shorter, arms of this New Zealand jade twist you can see how it would be stronger. It has less negative space around the undercuts of the arms which lessens the chance of it catching on something.

There are no sharp edges to the carvings, just fluid curves which is great because it lessens the chance of the necklace chipping when hit or dropped. Both are extremely strong, but the simpler New Zealand jade twist is more so.

When thinking about the strength of pounamu necklace designs in general, the simpler the stronger.

6. Avoiding brittle Pounamu

There are no simple tests for brittle pounamu that you can do easily when buying jade, so we do it for you when the stone is carved. Our carvers ensure the stone is cut with the grain as this will largely dictate if the carving is brittle or not, and thus easily broken. So we guarantee that our necklaces are made from jade which is cut with the grain and consequently, strong.

The carving process places a huge amount of stress on the jade as it is being carved, this weeds out brittle or weak jade that chips or cracks when it is being cut. After the carving is finished, whether that be in China, or here in New Zealand, each piece is fully inspected. If any fatal flaws are identified, it is either pulled aside, or sent back to the workshop to be fixed. This ensures only the best pieces of strong jade are for sale across our three stores, and online.

7. Lifetime Mountain Jade Guarantee

We provide a lifetime guarantee because our level of craftsmanship and the quality control process ensures all our products are strong and durable under every day wear conditions.

When we say 'everyday', that does not include dropping the carvings on hard surfaces, hitting them on hard walls, or against hard things. Just as car companies advise owners against driving into hard power poles as it will scrape, dent, and destroy the car, we also advise against hitting carvings against hard surfaces. This is not 'everyday' wear, just as crashing your car is not 'everyday' driving, and will unfortunately void the guarantee.

Twist necklaces

Larger twists are very durable. The largest size in any design of our twist range will be the strongest. A single twist is the strongest, and a triple twist the weakest (but still strong enough to last a lifetime).

The Maori toki that gives you strength

The Maori toki design imparts strength, courage and determination to the wearer. Originally the Maori toki was a practical tool employed in axes, chisels and weaponry. The Maori toki has since developed into a purely ceremonial taonga (treasures) symbolising strength, courage and determination. This is what makes the Maori toki pendant design a popular choice for men.

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