MAURI ORA TAONGA - Behold the stones of life

We could square the blame on the 7th planet Uranus which drives the energies associated with magic, discoveries and inventions, and without a higher purpose, is to blame for individualism, rebellions and all things unpredictable….BUT for some reason the Sisters are always meeting inspirational people/whānau who change our lives in expansive, unnusal and inexplicable ways.

At the National kapa haka festival Te Matatini 2015 (Hagley Park, Christchurch, NZ), we met Timoti Moran (Ngāti Mahuta. Te Aitanga a Hauiti. Ngāti Porou. Ngāi Tahu. Ngā Puhi), a kaitiaki with an effervescent mauri (li11001537_818107744904919_4528858621006014254_ofe-force) on the begining of a new journey of exploration, whakapapa (ancestry), taonga (gemstones), carving, and the assimilation of mātauranga (knowledge).

Against a background of powerful haka and electric waiata, the Sisters were selling taonga, including some quite unspectacular Kōhatu (garnet)… as we later came to realise.  A steady stream of chattering from handsome wahine in our (adorned pink) tent must have drawn Timoti to us.  Whether by divine intervention or chance, Timoti struck up a conversation about his hometown Whakatū/Nelson, and the abundance of unusual taonga from that region and that was it – breath was exchanged and a meeting of minds occurred.

Sadly, our lives then separated for six long months.  The Sisters back to our whānau and responsibilities, and Timoti back to Whakatū, his whānau and day job – construction.   We met again in October 2015.

Tim shared with us his matakite (visions/dreams) where a green taniwha appeared and pulled him by the feet to the river.  Shortly after this, Tim began seeing large taonga (Pākohe, Kōhatu, Inanga-Pounamu) in his local waterways.Tim 1

Timoti’s matakite has touched our lives.  We see it not just as an ‘opportunity’ to learn/explore/potentially trade, but the responsibility, as is the way with kaitiakitanga (loosely translates as guardianship).

Kaitiaki-guardians (and that is anyone who chooses to take on the responsiblity) have to think wider and deeper than what is directly in front of our eyes (i.e. objects of nature, beauty, or commerce…) and look to the future world that our children and their children will inherit.  Kaitiaki ask hard)questions and balance our individual wants, with collective purpose – protecting lifeforce or mauri – looking after our natural taiao (environment) and taonga (all natural treasures) for the well-being of future generations.

All life is connected; we are not superior to the natural order; we are part of it….

Fast forward to 2016 – the Sisters, Tim and all of our whānau have been working with local rangatira (leaders), other carvers, taonga experts, and GNS Science, to unpick some of the unique geology of the area – earth science, the whakapapa – history, to identify the taonga and with the local mana whenua, to develop and protect (gemstone) taonga in their takiwā (tribal area).

SIC is now supporting education/mātauranga including the use of taonga in ceremonial and customary use, mapping of resources and exploring development of an authentication system for Nelson taonga (looking for inspiration from tools such as the unique pounamu authentication scheme developed by Ngāi Tahu).  There is a lot of unauthorised taonga harvesting /poaching in Te Tau Ihu rivers, and an authentication system can help to raise awarenss and to involve local iwi, in protecting against the unregulated harvesting of these precious taonga.

As a result of these life-changing conversations, SIC has actually changed the whole way we do business, moving out of trading general gemstones where we have no idea of their whakapapa or the way they were harvested –think diamonds into developing partnerships based on sustainable commerce and kaitiakitanga.

We want to inspire others to see beyond the face-value of taonga (or market-value of gemstones).  By sharing mātauranga – history, tradition and culture – we can spread awareness of the real gift of these taonga; their mauri, their extradordinary journey from deep in the earth down rivers to the sea – Ki Uta Ki Tai (from mountains to sea).  We hope by sharing knowledge, the taonga will guide a greater awareness of and desire to protect, our natural world.

Our work is strongly guided by values and we look in the first instance to the ancestral mātauranga of the mana whenua as kaitiaki, but we are all advocates for protecting our world.  People buying SIC taonga can share history and a unique Māori culture.  They can have confidence in the provenance and sustainable harvesting of their taonga, and realise that by wearing a small piece of the earth, they too are kaitiaki of this land, of our environment and our future.

MAURI ORA!

Mātauranga (links)

Te Matatini Ngāi Tahu – http://ngaitahu.iwi.nz/our_stories/te-matatini-2015-2/

(Environmental tools) – Iwi Management Plans Te Tau Ihu – http://nelson.govt.nz/council/plans-strategies-policies/strategies-plans-policies-reports-and-studies-a-z/iwi-management-plans

Taonga by Timoti – https://www.facebook.com/Taongabytimoti/

Kaitiakitanga (conservation and gemstones) – http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/kaitiakitanga-guardianship-and-conservation/page-1

The story of Pounamu – GNS Science – http://www.gns.cri.nz/Home/Our-Science/Energy-Resources/Minerals/New-Zealands-minerals/Maori-Legends/Pounamu-NZ-Greenstone

NZ Pounamu Expert Russell Beck – http://ngaitahu.iwi.nz/our_stories/pounamu-eyes/

Uranushttp://www.mermaid-uk.net/Esotericuranus.htm

 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

Last Christmas 2015, SIC completely sold out of our first batch of fashioned Kōhatu strung on white turquoise necklaces. The Kōhatu was sourced sustainably from Tīmoti, a wonderful local kaitiaki and carver, who has a strong ancestral line connected to Pounamu and was drawn to his own awa (river) and the tāonga through a series of revealing dreams.

At first sight, we were all sure our taōnga were a form of īnanga or white Pounamu nephrite but when we met with NZ Pounamu expert Russell Beck, he confirmed it wasn’t ‘white jade’ but Rodingite-Hydrogrossular-garnet – a tāonga that has traditionally been mistaken for jadeite. Our own journey to knowledge has inspired us so much we wish now to share information on this beautiful rare rock/stone.

Early Māori used stones including garnet to cut and polish weapons & implements – hence the name Kōhatu (cutting or hammer stone). Kōhatu was used as a tool to shape Pōunamu (Nephrite) and Pākōhe (Argillite). Kōhatu is very hard (around 7-7.5 on the MoHs scale) so perhaps it is only with the advent of the modern lapidary saw that Kōhatu can now be cut and fashioned for gems and adornments.

Garnet is the group name for several closely related minerals that form important gemstones, including Grossular. Grossular or Grossularite is the most varicolored of the garnets, and it’s colour is indicative of various impurities. Pure Grossular is colorless. A compact, massive calcium-rich form called Hydrogrossular is often regarded as a variety of Grossular, but is chemically distinct from true Grossular.13322152_1033254000056958_1631837953646600580_n

Hydrogrossular is found across New Zealand. Two other forms of garnet; Hessonite and common Almandine garnet are also found in NZ. Hydrogrossular is also found in South Africa, Russia, Canada, the United States. White hyrdogrossular can be sourced from Burma and China. Good quality gems are very rare.

Hydrogrossular can be carved into gemstones and polished in cabochons. Unlike other garnets it is never transparent. It ranges from translucent to opaque. The most common color is a green, to bluish-green, but we have seen Kōhatu in all shades of gold, grey, white, pink, and multi-colored. Flecks of black “pepper” reflect the magnetite within.   Because of its coloring and translucency, Hydrogrossular is often used as a jade substitute (hence our initial mistake).

Early Ngāi Tahu used Hūkatai (sea foam) or white stones (representing intellect/intelligence) coupled with with Rehutai (sea spray) red stones (representing intuition), to show the assimilation of the dual forms of wisdom. They were used practically for shrines, to protect tapu (sacred areas) māuri (life force) and practically in many healing and worship ceremonies (Robinson). We are really intrigued that in New Zealand this hdyro or ‘water stone’ naturally manifests as both Hūkatai- white and Rehutai – reddish stones.Carmelle's taonga

In modern Crystalogy, Kōhatu is regarded as having a strong calming masculine energy with the traditional Grossular powers of: protection, strength and balance along with the qualities of water stones: healing, soothing, enhancing wellbeing. Grossular helps to calm emotions and enable reasoning. It is a good crystal to deflect worry, and fears. It has particular influence for Aquarius, Cancer and Capricorns with an energy associated with family and the number six

NZ Garnet info: http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/interactive/5125/garnets

Great Video: http://www.healingcrystals.com/Grossular_Garnet_Articles_11768.html

If you would like to commission a unique piece of Kōhatu we can source many designs in clear Kōhatu, clear flecked, grey, grey-white, gold, green and brilliant white. Our unique tāōnga tracing systems guarantee provenance, cultural and sustainable harvesting practices. POA.

imagesRuled by the planet Mercury, pearls are the iridescent lustrous birthstone for those born under the zodiac sign Gemini (May 21, to June 20-21). Along with moonstones, alexandrite and agate, pearls are also one of the main birthstones for people born in June.

We associate pearls with the moon and its tides, the great blue ocean, and the salty brine of crashing waves for good reason. Unlike other gemstones pearls are not created in the earth but are a gift of the sea. Pearls can be formed in any shell and form because an irritant (such as a grain of sand) gets stuck inside the body of the shell and the animal tries to ease its discomfort by coating the speck in nacre – calcium carbonate, which is the same moon-bathed iridescent substance that lines the inside of the shell. Today, most pearls are created through cultivation (generally cutting a small slit in the body of an oyster).

For centuries people have revered pearls for their ability to heal physical, mental and spiritual ailments. Admittedly, modern science has not found anything “magical” about pearls but this has not diminished their appeal or reputation. Pearls are said to give the wearer a sense of calmness and centeredness, and to promote faith, loyalty, truth and purity and personal integrity. Lovers gift them to enhance partnership, marriage and fidelity.

SIC wearers can’t get enough of pearls –we love them in all their luminous shades: particularly black, grey, white and cream. One pearl is never enough, they look best in a cascade, a long swinging string.   They are the most womanly of birthSisters Collectivestones, linked to the goddess Venus; and totally necessary for those in need of a boost of feminine energy. Their shimmery appeal reminds us of the moon’s path to the ocean, the ebb and flow of the tides and the cycle of life.

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.

 

“Her eyes were of the utmost beauty, resembling

a kaleidoscope of green and golden citrine…”

November calendar birthstones are ruled by the sun’s influence. There are so many ‘sun-blessed’ energising crystals ‘Novemberites’ can choose to wear for protection, empowerment and inspiration, but nothing compares to the lure of Citrines.

Whether you are an emotional Scorpio in need of a little more joy, focus and inspiration or an optimistic Sagittarius looking for personal growth and prosperity, Citrines are a natural choice, with warm golden hues stirring feelings of celestial warmth, inner fire, imagination, awakening and manifestation.

Among the most beautiful transparent sparkling gems, Citrines come in every shade of sunlight; from pale yellow early morning shades, to blinding full sun-yellow, to the deep hues of marigold-vermillion fading light.

Citrines are beautiful to wear – they feel refreshing and energising to the skin, they can help to clear the mind and cleanse the body, enhance will, stir the soul to action and awaken creativity and imagination. With their sparkling transparent lustre, opulent radiance and pure energy, Citrines evoke the fullness of life, and help us to transform our dreams and wishes into reality. A lovely quality of Citrines, are their ability to cleanse – leave Citrines out in the sun to get the full benefit. Placing them close to other crystals will cleanse and revitalise the empowering energies of these gems.

To the naked eye, it is hard to distinguish between the equally beguiling golden Topaz (another November birthstone) and the glorious Citrines. We choose Citrines as they are affordable (especially the bright yellow shades) and readily available in both round and faceted beads.

Our favorite 2014 combination teams multi-faceted-sparkly Citrine beads with lurid Pink Jasper (another gemstone beneficial to those lucky Scorpio and Sagittarius born in November) and gold plated Hematite. These sun-blessed pieces are a must for your Xmas wardrobe. Citrine, jasper & pink pearl - resized

Let’s face it we all have those days/times in our life when a positive thought seems beyond our reach, when we need a little extra help to ‘get up and go’…well if you are a believer in the power of gems, find yourself some black tourmaline to lift your spirits and remove those negative energies.

Precious powerful tourmaline is one of the birthstones for those born in October (Opal is the other). It comes in a myriad of colours from pinks and greens to our very favourite black – why our favourite? Firstly because there are very few black gems and more importantly for its powers of protection and positivity.

Celeb couple and crystal advocates David and Victoria Beckham keep black tourmaline in their bathroom for protection from negativity and Victoria never leaves home without it when heading to fashion shows to ensure positive outcomes…

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Black tourmaline’s protective powers are massive – if you have nightmares pop some under your pillow, if you are dealing with annoying neighbours place at your front door and if in need of some positive energy at work, hold some in your hand for a few minutes to reignite your flame.

For those who are into mediation and healing, black tourmaline is an excellent, grounding stone, because it frees the mind to safely explore the spiritual world.

 

Tourmaline - Pink - resized

Precious – SIC tourmaline necklace with rose quartz and imperial jasper (tiki optional) NZD$179.00

 

 

Sapphire is the modern and only “precious” birthstone of September. However there are actually seven gemstones that are influential for people born in this month marking the transit of seasons to spring (Southern hemisphere) or autumn (Northern hemisphere).

The other six September birthstones are: Lapis Lazuli (alternate modern), Zircon (Hindu stone in many shades including deep blue), Moonstone (India), Peridot (traditional), Agate (Tibetan) and Sard-onyx (Roman). A common link for September birthstones is either the stone is a blue stone or the blue colouring is chosen.

Lapis Lazuli (Blue Stone) is a fabulous Libra gemstone, especially good for those Libra’s born in September. It is considered the modern alternate September birthstone, to Sapphire.

A regal stone, treasured and revered as magical since antiquity, Lapis has been worn as an ornament and ground for medicine as well as used as a beautiful ultramarine paint.

Lapis is an opaque stone and occurs in a range of blue, grey, green and purple shades with white-greyish shades and often flashings of gold fleck (chalcopyrite). Those stones that are a deep royal blue (generally originating from Afghanistan) are rarest and the most highly valued.

Lapis

Friendship, truth and enlightenment are the main influences of Lapis. Lapis Lazuli has a powerful spiritual energy that enables greater self-awareness, thus assisting enlightenment and the wearer’s increased ability to speak truthfully. It is also a stone that aids both spiritual and physical healing and can be beneficial for those recovering from an operation or hospital stay.

Because good Lapis is both expensive and a very distinctive colour, SIC tends to use this royal blue stone as an accent. We like to team it with Citrine, Labradorite and gold plated Hematite.

It is a great stone for men to wear.

New-Day-Come

Men’s Lapis bracelet: NZ$49.50

 

 

harvest-moon-deer-lynch-1024

Yes, it’s a little cloudy tonight but tomorrow Tuesday at 1pm (Monday night (9.38pm to be exact in the Northern hemisphere) will provide a harvest full moon. The Harvest Moon’s claim to fame is that it provides farmers with a little bit of extra moonlight so they can reap their crops.

This September Harvest Moon marks the third in a trilogy of ‘supermoons’ since April 2014. July and August’s full moons both fell during the moon’s perigee (closest point in its orbit to Earth). While the August supermoon was the closest, this month’s full moon also falls during perigee, and it’s also very close to Spring equinox (as a rule harvest moons generally fall during October).

If you are scratching your head and asking what this blog on Harvest Moons, moon power and ‘supermoons’ has to do with your jewels. It’s pretty simple. Moonlight is one of the best ways to charge and empower your gemstone crystals and restore their inherent power ESPECIALLY if your stones are influenced by the moon (for example – Pearls (especially White Pearls), Moonstones, Opalites).

Claim your stones under the supermoon to reap the full benefit of their influences – and, we repeat – if you have White Pearls, pay special attention to this. If you haven’t already claimed your gems, take this opportunity (and any other) to stand outside in the full moon, holding them in your receptive hand. This removes past energies and will personalise your gems for your use. You will receive the dual gift of charging and cleansing.

You can programme your crystals to bring their powerful attributes into your life. Hold your crystals, close your eyes and visualize what you need from them. Repeating this process frequently will attract the energies you are seeking.

Have fun and make the most of the last Super Moon for 2014.

 

An armful of wraps

A bounty of white pearl and other delicious gems…