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Did You Know?

November December 2014
Credit: CTR Photos/

Magic works for good or ill but sometimes understanding its symbolism gets lost over time. The hei-tiki of New Zealandís Maori is one example. These ornate carvings in greenstone (also known as nephrite or jade) are treasured symbols. They even have names of their own and gain great power for their owner as they pass one generation to the next. But, were they good luck charms, fertility bracelets or physical representations of power and ancestry? Theories abound.

Greenstone is found along many of the rivers that rage down the mountains in spring tossing boulders around their stony beds as they race to the ocean. Skilled artisans carve this beautiful, but hard, rock into stunning pendants traditionally worn near the throat. The New Zealand stamp honors the hei-tiki.