In Sisters Collective’s quest to find tāonga[1] in Te Tau Ihu (Nelson Marlborough, NZ) with Māori carver Timoti Moran, and to uncover some of the ancient knowledge around tāonga (reminding us of the power of nature) we found a super rare white hyrdogrossular garnet[2] in 2015, and we have also created red pounamu from Nelson inanga (through fire).

Creating red pounamu[3] really was an auspicious discovery. SIC often has issues with the very beautiful white Kōhatu, which fractures and breaks all the time, either as Tim is carving it, or as we wear our pendants.  A breakage is always heart-breaking.

In November, Tim was carving a SIC order of 10 white garnet Waiaroha (link) pendants, and became frustrated with his efforts due to fractures.  He rang us to offer pounamu inanga[4] as an alternative.  The crystals in pounamu are woven, and therefore don’t fracture as easily when cablogrved.  Sadly, the sisters are not really fans of the largely grey, black and white inanga, but we had heard him talk of an ancient Māori practice of firing pounamu, so asked him to “toss some in the fire”.  The results were incredible – turning his Nelson inanga bright gold and red!

It was auspicious that the creation of red pounamu, occurred around the time of the largest Perigee Psyzgzy Supermoon (11-14 November 2016) – a time when many women seemed to be searching for something deeper in their lives, and ironically, lots of us seemed to bleed out-of-cycle.  This supermoon has been described as the ‘time of the great reveal’, a time to make us ask deep questions and consider what is real in our lives, ourselves and our worlds. Since then we have all become a bit fascinated about seeing the tāonga together:

  • Kohatu  –  Hukatai    –    White   –    Masculine    –    Water stone
  • Red Pounamu –  Rehutai  –  Red  – Feminine   –  Fire stone. 

 Working with both of these stones has made the sisters very curious about the traditional use of Hukatai and Rehutai for gaining knowledge as it symbolises our own journey with taonga.  Not a lot is written about the practice which was largely a male domain, passed down through oratory, and largely dying out with colonisation, which valued the colonisers systems of western science and knowledge. While we know Hukatai was symbolised by white stones, and Rehutai by red stones, we know hardly anything of what tāonga were used.  By writing down what we have found, and sharing with people, we hope to uncover more of the ancient knowledge.   For now, we can start with discussing the symbolism of the Hukatai/Rehutai practice.

A Metaphor of Learning Journey to Wisdom

The symbolistic ritual of swallowing Hukatai and Rehutai was used by tōhunga as a metaphor for the student’s transition through knowledge into wisdom. The symbolic swallowing of Hukatai, followed by Rehutai, showed how wisdom could be achieved. The assimilation of intuition with knowledge symbolises the path to wisdom, a balance of natural forces with each other.

blog-2Hukatai – the white stone, represents knowledge.  White represents the search for Te Ao Marama, the realm of being and light and knowledge in the physical world.  White also symbolises harmony, enlightenment and balance.

Rehutai, the red colored stone represents emotional knowledge and intuition. Red represents Te Whei Ao, the realm of coming into being.  It symbolises the female element.  It also represents active, flashing, southern, falling, emergence, land and gestation.  Red is Papatuanuku, the Earth Mother, the sustainer of all living things. It represents the colour of earth from which the first human came.

Hukatai (sea foam) and Rehutai (seaspray) is a metaphor taken from a canoe en passage on the sea.  Hukatai – the sea foam or wake generated by the canoe in motion symbolises the pursuit of knowledge as an accumulation of facts.  By themselves information and facts constitute an un-organised set of ideas nonspecific to a person.   It is so fascinating that the white hydrogrossular garnet we found, fractures so easily – like a set of disjointed facts or knowledge.

For those who become open, who begin to think more deeply, and reflect on life, we come to believe that all things must be connected to a centre – no matter how specialised they are.  At the centre, rest our most basic convictions – ideas, thinking, reflection that transcends the busy world of knowledge, facts and information.  Our insightful-selves emerge.

Insight is not subjective or relative, nor influenced by convention. Without insight our actions inevitably lead to disaster. How often do people in the modern world block these core feelings and knowledge? 

If we have face up to the ultimate questions posed by life, our centre no longer remains in a twisty vacuum, which continues to ingest any new idea that seeps into it.

Swallowing Rehutai (listening to our inner voice) is a symbolic answer to the problem. Rehutai is a metaphor for the canoe that is heading out into the sunrise. As the sea foam is thrown up by the bow, the rays of the sun pierce the foam, creating a rainbow effect as we peer through.

By thinking deeply, reflecting, meditating and discerning, illumination comes. And, in that moment, an un-organised set of ideas can suddenly transform into an integrated whole, where tensions and contradictions are resolved. Knowledgeis thus transformed into insight – and insight into wisdom. Reflection in nature, can often bring us back to our core, because to live in balance with nature is to understand life.

It is thus hugely symbolic to us that on the turning of He Marama Nui[5], through reflection on these precious taonga, theforces of nature and the spiritual journey of many female friends (along with their physical symptoms of bleeding) and finally through collaboration with a timeless ancestral energy, Pounamu Te Whei Aō, has once again come to life.blog-1

Mā te whakatau, kā mohio, mā te mōhio ka marama, mā te marama kā mātau, mā te mātau ka ora.

 From discussion, comes understanding, from understanding comes light, from light comes wisdom, and from wisdom comes life.

Tihei Mauri Ora

 

 

[1] A most treasured possession – in this case, New Zealand gemstone

[2] Kōhatu – cutting stone

[3] Nephrite, Bowenite, Serpentine (also called tangiwai)

[4] Pale – cream nephrite

[5] Supermoon

‘And what is stone to the hand that shapes it?’

Stone! Hold it, touch it, listen to it. Does it sing the same sone to everyone? Some merely see hard unyielding strength, while others feel what moves deep within. Only women and men born to the colours of stone, and with the spirit to reach into it, were chosen to sail on this voyage to the Islands of the Double Sea. (Songs of Waitaha)

On Tuesday 20 September my daughter Raphaela and I had the privilege of observing kaitiaki Tim Moran harvesting taonga with the added privilege of staying on site for a night with his whānau -amazing wife Morgan and three kids Milleta, Tōha and Flora.

799ab9bf-3568-4b29-9f0d-be75ef2a9fe3Tim harvests along the Rakautara valley, once famous for the transportation of tōtara by both local and voyaging Māori.  Tane (men) would fell and float the massive logs downstream for use as carved seafaring waka.  During the warm summer months, the wāhine (women) would grow kūmara along the river banks.

It is an area steeped in both Māori and colonial history as well as being home to a huge array of amazing taonga: schist, tangiwai (serpentine), pounamu nephrite and bowenite, pākōhe and my favourite kōhatu (white garnet).

Tim has been collecting specimens for some time and knows immediately how to spot pounamu.  After saying our karakia and walking the riverbed, our eyes too were opened. f7b42b80-efcc-4c3a-b175-20b85bba9669

Tim is an incredible teacher and I know will realise his dream of opening a carving school on the banks of his whānau’s farm to educate on the beauty of pounamu and the importance of protecting the rivers which are so important for transport Pounamu Ki Uta Ki Tai (Mountains to Sea).

         5557e544-b2d2-4c24-90a1-edb75d809024                                                                                   While, I can now spot pounamu and I do love milky pale inanga, for some reason I just seem to gravitate to the kōhatu.  Perhaps it is because the taonga stands out like white marble all along the river bed or perhaps is its reputation as a stone of intellect – whatever, I just love it.

 

 

 

 

 Ahakoa he iti he Pounamu

Although it is small it is Pounamu

Many of you have a piece (or pieces of) Pounamu, gifted or collected over the years; sitting in a drawer unworn, because the string has become old, is too light for the weight of your taonga (treasure), or is made from a material that irritates your neck.

Re-stringing taonga for customers started as a really practical solution for a common issue but what we found was that by re-stringing Pounamu, with specific accentuating taonga, we actually bought new life to the Pounamu – accentuating its inherent beauty – adding the “yin to the yang” or as one of our followers stated:

It all starts with being connected to and recognising the beauty of nature for sure. The true artist has this connection and finds inspiration from it. This necklace is yoga – the unification of opposites. The Pounamu represents the male, the beads the female. Very spiritual…”1918153_997581486957543_7240294763459331853_n

Just like the whakatāuki (proverb) above, what began as a “small” idea to accentuate precious taonga, has since developed into a new business collaboration that is uniquely “Pounamu”.

Ngāi Tahu whānau are the traditional kaitiaki (intergenerational guardians) of Pounamu in their regions, with exclusive ownership and rights to market Pounamu in the Ngāi Tahu takiwā (traditional area) using the unique Ngāi Tahu authentication system. https://www.ngaitahupounamu.com

In May 2016, SIC started a conversation with Ngāti Waewae who are an enterprising Ngāi Tahu whānau company based in Hokitika, selling genuine authentic Ngāi Tahu Pounamu. Ngāti Waewae are leading Pounamu marketing to a world-wide audience, merging their unique history and culture with a sustainable business approach.

 

13781738_1060403200675371_6556402990496759934_nNgāi Tahu Pounamu and SIC are in the process of developing a specific new range that will showcase the best of authentic Ngāi Tahu Pounamu, carved by Ngāti Waewae, with SIC’s contemporary fashionable necklaces.

The new brand will incorporate a unique range of beautiful balanced taonga that we will each jointly market to our existing and new customers. Here are a few beautiful samples of what is to come – WATCH THIS SPACE!

 

 

Aotea, a unique treasure of Te Tai Poutini

In 2014, SIC sourced and sold 15 pendants of Aōtea a rare blue-green stone comprising a mix of Kyanite/Fuchsite in Quartz. to an eager fan base. We could not believe the demand for the tāonga but in our quest to uncover a sAotea2_edited-1upply source we also unearthed a beautiful tale of provenance and vision.

Aōtea is rarer than Pounamu, but has a similar origin being formed deep in the Earth’s crust.

 In July 2015, we wrote about Aōtea (Kyanite Fuchsite) which is only found around the Makaawhio area (Jacobs River) and is a treasured tāonga of kaitiaki, Kāti Mahaki.   What we didn’t say is that Kāti Māhaki are a group of whānau (grouped under Makaawhio Rūnanga) who trace their connection with the Jacobs River and the surrounding area, back hundreds of years and they are now working to protect Aōtea.

Makaawhio Rūnanga have an exclusive mining licence and following the Ngāi Tahu Treaty Claim, now own the Jacobs River bed. In 2015, Makaawhio placed a Rāhui (stop) on the sale of Aōtea to prevent people from taking, selling or tradig the tāonga.

SIC has been working with Makaawhio Rūnanga and GNS Science to develop a project to ascertain the natural sources of the stone, its occurrence, how much exists, and to develop a plan for the sustainable management (which includes harvesting and sale). We are really excited to share that in June 2016, the Ministry of Business and Innovation (MBIE) decided to support the Makaawhio vision for their tāonga, by awarding a Vision Mātauranga Connect grant, which will support GNS Science and the rūnanga work to better understand and manage Aōtea.

Here is the link to the wonderful news and congratulations to Kara, Paul, Susan and all ofthe Kāti Māhaki whānui. http://m.nzherald.co.nz/nz/nes/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11662933

We look forward to learning more about this beguiling, rare illusive stone and (we hope) trading Aōtea in the futureNew Aotea

WAIAROHA - Inanga (blue) pounamu wand with custom kōhatu strand

Waiaroha are an ancient gift of Papatuanuku (earth mother). These special tāonga are formed deep in the earth at very high temperatures compressing layers of the sea-floor, plant matter and fossils, to form the minerals Pounamu (bowenite, nephrite, serpentine), Pākohe (argillite) or Kapakara (garnet).

12316467_933669336682092_5204577594886940604_nAs the mountains were formed bands of these tāonga were forced upward. They were then tumbled down and eroded in river valleys, finding their resting place in deep river pools or washed-up along the river mouth or beach.

Sisters Collective has been working with Whakatū carver Tim Moran (http://www.facebook.com/taongabytimoti) to develop our collection designed as a tribute to the unique geological formation of the tāonga.Inanga & Turq

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exposure is symbolised by the thin waka shape and its water birth. The collection includes many unique variations of Pounamu, Pākohe and Kapakara.

Email us: Adrienne@sisterscollective.co.nz if you wish to view the collection or would lie more information.
onyxFlower Jade

peridot-08212012-1-2Passionate chameleon-like primaries; yellow, blue and red, are the key colours of August birthstones with the exception of the mighty-green peridot. Chrysolite or peridot is the most known and only truly-green gemstone of the nine birthstones associated with the big flashy personalities born in August. Peridot is especially significant for those fiery Leos born in August.


Peridot is gem-quality transparent olivine. Olivine (a relatively common silicate mineral) contains magnesium-rich fosterite and iron molecules.  Formed deep inside the Earth and brought to the surface by volcanoes, in Hawaii, peridot symbolises the tears of Pele, the goddess of fire and volcanoes.pele

Peridot is one of the few gemstones that occurs in only one color, olive green. The intensity and tint of the green, however, depends on how much iron is contained in the crystal structure, so the colour of individual peridot gems can vary from yellow—to olive—to brownish-green. The most valued colour is a dark olive-green.

A stone of compassion, peridot is believed to bring good health, restful sleep and peace to relationships by balancing emotions and mind. This transparent eye-catching green stone has many strong qualities from inspiring eloquence, creativity, delight and good cheer, attracting love, calming anger and providing a sense of renewal.

Peridot legend says that if the gem is set in gold (an influential metal for anyone born under the star sign, Leo), the stone will develop to its full potential as a talisman and will have the power to eradicate terrors of the night such as fearsome visions and nightmares.

Less known gemstones but equally passionate influences for the big personalities of August are:


l_alexandrite-natural-2719aAlexandrite
– A chameleon- variety of chrysoberyl (called cat’s eye when yellow) that changes color between day and night. Chrysoberyl crystals are known to shift from green/blue to red/pink/purple with temperature changes (day to night). Wear Alexandrite for prosperity and longevity.  It balances mind and emotions, pacifies the choleric soul and promotes spiritual growth.

 

CarnalianCarnelian – Opaque red chalcedony. A stone for fire and passion worn to stimulate desire and attraction.

 

 

 

 

diamondDiamond – The hardest and most marketable, highest ranked “precious” gem, worn throughout the ages as a symbol of indefinite, never-ending love and devotion. Found in almost every colour, yellow diamonds are the most rare and valued. Diamonds attract wealth and abundance acting as an amplifier of energies, goals and intent. Wear this “stone of invincibility’ for victory, superior strength, fortitude, courage, fearlessness, and supreme protection.

Moonstone

 

 

Moonstone –SIC simply can’t get enough of these glittery gifts of the goddess. https://www.sisterscollective.co.nz/?p=10853 The moonstone is characterised by an enchanting play of light or ‘adularescence‘, causing a shimmering of pale blue on an almost transparent background. The moonstone is a symbol of fertility, symbolises our being in its entirety, strengthening the emotions, intuition and our subconscious. A “lovers’ stone” that evokes tenderness, love and increases our capacity to understand.

rubyRuby – Another “precious” fire stone, sparkling transparent hues range from light pink, red through to deep magenta. Believed to boost courage, self-confidence, and stamina along with sensuality. This vivid stone of nobility can promote a clear mind, increased concentration and motivation, along with prosperity and achievement.

 

 

Sapphire_GemSapphire – Shimmers with magnificent, translucent light to dark blue celestial hues. A stone of wisdom and royalty, prophecy and divine favour, forever associated with sacred things. The sapphire aids learning, mental acuity and spiritual truth. Aids healing to the mind, lending strength and focus.

 

 

 

 

SardoynxSardoynx – An opaque variety of red-yellow or blue onyx with red banding especially good for boosting bravery and courage.

 

 

 

 

topaz-stone-colour-20Topaz – A transparent gemstone most widely known as a yellow(ish) or blue hues.   This August birthstone is believed to stimulate optimism and increase strength. Topaz is a crystal of truth and forgiveness. A symbol of chastity, happiness, true friendship and hope. It can aid the wearer to find their true purpose and destiny.

 

Blue-Moon-over-water-On Friday 31 July 2015, as you are casting your wishes for celestial blessings from the Blue Moon, think of the rare blue gemstone Aotea. Of all crystals we work with, Aotea is the gemstone we most associate with the celestial energies of the Blue Moon. Aotea (or chromium enriched kyanite) is a very rare blue-green gemstone; found only in a few places in the world (Norway, Slovenia, California) And…… in a few boulders along the Makaawhio River, South Westland New Zealand.

Aotea 4

Just like the rare Blue Moon, Aotea is a tāonga (precious treasure) of the indigenous Māori people of the Makaawhio area. It is revered as the manifestation of the goddess – Waitaiki – who was chased into the sea and cast into stone by the warrior taniwha Poutini. Aotea is at least as highly prized as pounamu (Ngāi Tahu’s precious greenstone) and in our view is far more rare and precious than any diamond.

Aotea or chromium enriched kyanite is a unique combination of minerals. Kyanite provides the beautiful turquoise blue, fuchsite (pronounced “fok-site”), the irridesent green hues, quartz and talc (it may snap or crumble) the white inclusions, and in some cases, sillimantite (brown bands). The mineral kyanite is an aluminium silicate and is found with other metamorphic minerals such as serpentine, jadeite, bowenite along fault lines. Aotea was created through huge pressure from uplifts in the earth causing metamorphous of ocean floor layers and amphibolite (fossils).

Aotea2Every piece of Aotea is different, some pieces are bright blue (more kyanite) and some have emerald green hues (more fuchsite). Inclusions of sillimantite are referred to as Toto Weka or blood of the Weka (bird).

Aotea has a gentle velvet, yet determined feminine energy. Feel how soft, warm and feathery it feels in your hand. Compare this with pounamu and its distinct male energy.

Kyanite stimulates intuition, personal truth and aids the wearer to be more attuned with the spiritual world. It is great for meditation. Kyanite reflects negativity and like citrine, never needs cleansing or cleaning (just leave it out in the light of the Blue Moon). Fuchsite aids self-worth and holistic thought and action. This is a great stone to access knowledge with practical value. Fuchsite can help you better relate to others on basic life issues. Quartz is the most common mineral on earth, and is a very powerful amplifying stone. Quartz helps to absorb, store, release and regulate energy. Sillimantite is good for unity and harmony, providing focus, self-discipline and order from chaos.

SIC only sources Aotea from the Makaawhio tribal group, who hold an exclusive mining licence for this rare mineral. Through their ancestral and spiritual connections we see Makaawhio as the rightful kaitiaki – or guardians of the stone. Any piece we source is treated with reverence, great care and consideration. If you are lucky enough to possess or be gifted this taonga, you have been blessed with a true gift of the Blue Moon and the sea-goddess Waitaiki.

United by a theme of clear colourless clarity, April’s main birthstone is Diamond. This is also the main birthstone for the zodiac sign Taurus, which falls in late April (19-21) and transits between May 20-21.

Diamonds are the hardest of all gemstones (10 on the MOHs scale). This incredibly hard and beautiful mineral is composed of carbon formed at very high pressure (i.e. in the earth’s crust, at the site of a meteorite site or in modern times simulated in a laboratory). Strong bonds between atoms mean very few impurities can enter.

UnknownPopularity and demand, strengthened by modern gemstone cutting methods and aggressive marketing, have ensured that the diamond remains one of the most highly-prized and sought after gemstones. Diamonds are not particularly rare but control of gem quality stones, guarantees their enduring desirability and popular appeal.

The name diamond means “proper, unbreakable, untameable” summing up both its physical properties and allure for blushing brides as a talisman for a long lasting marriage.

imagesRegarded as the “Stone of Invincibility,” the mighty diamond is associated with victory, superior strength, fortitude, courage and fearlessness, and not surprisingly, is considered to be strongly protective. A diamond is a symbol of wealth, a manifestation of abundance, and an amplifier of energies, goals and intent.

Possibly less well known is the diamond’s association with spirituality. Because the diamond symbolises perfection, it is regarded as an aid to illumination, thus enhancing inner vision. If perfection isn’t enough, wear a diamond to stimulate creativity, imagination, and ingenuity, aid psychic development, telepathic communication and clairvoyance. A diamond is highly effective in magnifying the vibrations of other crystals for healing.

If the mighty diamond escapes your budget or fails to fuel your desire, other traditional options following the sparkling, clear & colourless theme for April birthstones, are:

  • Good diamond simulants. These are indistinguishable to the human eye and will only be revealed as a simulant through carbon testing. Diamond simulants bear all of the same qualities as natural diamonds;
  • Clear Sapphire – a stone to aid creative expression, inner peace and meditation, personal expression and the alleviation of pain;
  • Clear Quartz – a stone of manifestation that energizes and activates the energy centres within the body. Quartz aids clear thinking, focus and clarity of dreams and desires. Assisting with spiritual development, clear Quartz assists in removing blockages in the body so that energy can flow smoothly; and
  • White Opal – a stone of angelic connections. Useful for clearing emotions to create more positive vibrations and powerful healing. A stone of hope, achievement and divine blessings.

 

For most of us jewellery is so much more than just a fashion accessory, rather it’s a form of self-expression, a reflection of our personality, a statement of individuality and for many a cultural custom. As well as enhancing ones overall look wearing jewellery gives us confidence and makes us feel good!

We all have different motivations for choosing the pieces we wear – whether it be: purely for fashion, a love of a colour or a particular stone, an emotional connection, a belief in the metaphysical powers or a whimsical fancy – whatever the reason it is really important to choose pieces that suit your personal style and that you absolutely LOVE and feel comfortable wearing – that what you wear reflects you!

images                      10994591_810003329048694_6459719887821707312_n

Jewels have always been a talking point when it comes to the rich and famous and what the celebs are wearing come Oscar night – from the crown jewels of the much loved Audrey Hepburn in the 1960s to the simple, classy elegance of Jennifer Aniston or the more edgy look that is Madonna anything goes on the red carpet!

图片112  9daa7def2769868540546a646812ca286d30677f                                            m

But while fashion trends come and go, we all have treasured jewellery we like to hold on to for its connection and the memories and emotion it evokes. This is a really important aspect of our Sisters Collective jewels – we create pieces with meaning based on the powers and energies of the semi precious gems and stones we source from around the world uniquely combined to suit the wants and desires of the wearer…designed to stand the test of time…

At the end of the day jewels make us feel good and are for wearing and enjoying – anytime, anywhere.

 

 

Bloodstone and Aquamarine – March’s powerful birthstones harness the ancient power of the Sun and calming influence of the Sea

Bloodstone – Ancient Sun Stone

Bloodstone (also known as “heliotrope”) was the traditional birthstone of March until the 1950s, when it was replaced by Aquamarine. It was the March birthstone in the ancient Roman, Polish, Arabic, Hebrew and old Hindu calendars.

Bloodstone is the zodiac stone for Aries and Pisces, both zodiac signs falling partly in the month of March. Translated from the Greek word for ‘sun-turner’, bloodstones were highly revered and even fashioned into mirrors to view sun-eclipses. A green/blue chalcedony (silica or quartz) mineral, bloodstones have spots of iron oxide, or (usually red) Jasper, which is another less-known birthstone for March.

BLOODSTONE

Wear Bloodstone to instil courage, strength and tenacity and bring your bodies energy into balance. Bloodstone’s strong vibration will help to dissipate confusion, bring peace and serenity, and repel negativity.

Aquamarine – Calming Sea Stone

aquamarine1-300x300

Aquamarine replaced Bloodstone as the birthstone for March in 1952 and is the zodiac stone for Pisces. Aquamarine derived its name from the Latin words aqua, meaning water, and marina, meaning the sea. This gem is a blue variety of Beryl, which when green, is called emerald, and when yellow, heliodor. Aquamarine is generally light in tone and ranges from blue, greenish blue to blue-green. The color usually is more intense in larger stones.

Aquamarine 1

Aquamarine was believed to procure favour from the spirits of the light and protect sailors, as well as to guarantee a safe voyage. The serene color of Aquamarine is said to cool the temper, allowing the wearer to remain calm and levelheaded. Another courage stone to be worn for its calming energies, or to reduce stress and quieten the mind. Aquamarine is particularly helpful for closure on all levels.

If the influence of the sun or the sea is not enough for those of you born in March, you can also choose from three other March birthstones: Jasper (Supreme Nurture stone), Jade (Purity, Serenity and Prosperity) or Gold-Shiva-Linga (a flesh-colored variety of Jasper) that is highly revered by Hindus for its ability to influence love, unity and harmony of the soul’s energy forces within the Universe.