Day 117 on the Road
Carving Our Own Greenstone in Hokitika
Today we are carving greenstone pendants in Hokitika! If you like this video and want more inspiration on things to do in New Zealand, head on over to our YouTube channel!
You’ve been waiting for it. We’ve been designing it, we’ve been dreaming about it, we’ve been teasing each other about it. Finally, finally, we are going to get to carve those jade necklace that we designed for each other.
This morning we are heading to Bonz ‘n’ Stonz which is a place in Hokitika where you can carve your own greenstone pendant so for the past couple of days Robin and I have been designing a greenstone pendant for each other and today we are finally revealing our designs and we’re going to start carving. So we are meeting up with Steve from Bonz ‘n’ Stonz and the first step of our whole carving process is to discuss our designs. We also have to transfer our designs doodled on a piece of paper onto something a little bit more professional so we can get it onto a stone. Design wise I came up with kind of a 8 shape for Laura which shows an infinity bond that I have for Laura as well as the koru shape inside which shows her love for nature. She came up with kind of a fishing hook which shows productivity as well as a whale tail because she knows my love for the maritime world.
Once our designs are finalised it is time to pick our jade. So jade or greenstone or pounamu as it’s known in Maori comes in loads of different shades and patterns so we are picking the perfect pattern and starting to carve.
Hokitika is also known as Jade Country and that’s because loads of this jade or greenstone can be found along Hokitika Beach and the waterways nearby.
After picking our stone the first step is to shape it into what it is going to be looking like later on and straight away as soon as we get started we can definitely notice that carving stone is much harder than carving bones. If you remember a few days ago we went to carve some bone necklace and it took us about a couple of hours but we’ve already been about three hours in and it’s time for lunch and we are barely with decent shapes it’s going to take a long time to come up with a finished product. So during lunch time we are taking the time to compare the progress that we’ve made as well as explaining each other the train of thought behind the design of each of those pendants.
Although the jade carving process is a pretty lengthy one it’s also a pretty relaxing one and Steve really makes sure of that we are having a few breaks here and there where we can regroup, see our progress, Steve is giving us loads of tips of how we can improve along the way and of course there is some delicious food to be had.
Steve is taking pride on being a really great teacher he’s following up on us on every single step of the carving process. Helping us repair any of the mistakes we will have made or I have made and also giving us some tips on how to use better the tools. Steve is actually really well known in Hokitika and everybody comes to him for advice on the greenstone matter. In fact we saw several backpackers coming in the shop and asking him if what they found on the beach were greenstone or not. He have us heaps of tips on that subject and we wrote some articles on NZPocketGuide.com with all his tips to find greenstone in New Zealand and also to know if it is actually greenstone. You really need to check that our because that could save you heaps on souvenirs. Alright we’ll be nice and share with you 3 of those many tips that we got from Steve of how to find your own greenstone out on the beaches of New Zealand. So number 1 look in wet areas of the beach because jade stands out more when it’s wet. And number 2 if you are looking in a dry area then rub the greenstone on your face or where it’s oily on your skin and it should show up whether it is greenstone or not, and number 3 if you have a pile of green rocks then it’s most likely going to be the odd one out that could possibly be greenstone. The power of the power tools that we are using is controlled by a foot peddle which allows us to control the speed of each of the machines as well as making it really safe if we think it’s getting out of control we just have to step our. Easy as.
This really helps for this step of the process which is the fine detailing then we move onto sanding our greenstone pendant which will give it this shiny and smooth look. i feel really in the zone for this whole process I’m just so focussed on getting this greenstone pendant right and doing all the fine little details it is a lengthy process but one that we can sort of share ideas on, talk between ourselves, be in our own zone, it’s really nice sort of therapeutic time as well.
But the thing that really makes our greenstone pendants look professional is this stage of the carving process where we are now starting to polish our pendants we are using all sorts of these buffering machines and then using just simple tools like toothbrushes and sanding paper to make these greenstone look like they are fresh from the gift store. And the last part of this process is to turn this pendant into an actual necklace and to do so we are taking some string which are I think dipped in wax and then we are braiding them together to give it this thick kind of hand made look.
And tah dah this is our finished product it has gone from a sketch to a pendant which now we are presenting to each other in a very awkward manner. This process was so much fun and we have now got an awesome souvenir with a whole story behind it to take home with us.
But now we are heading back to the mountain jade backpackers for some dinner we’re having whitebait which is a special cuisine in the West Coast of New Zealand.
So yeah the final thing to do is to present the necklace to other other and put it on each others necks which never goes so smoothly the first time because arms are everywhere and you’re like take it, so yeah, we’re happy with that. It was a long day it was a long day of making these things with blood sweat and tears but the final result is pretty epic.