jade warrior The Bone Art Place

Hand carved Bone, Jade, Wood & Pearl shell pendants, carvings, gifts & art
from New Zealand & the Pacific

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Mother Of Pearl & Paua Shell Carvings

Pacific Pearl shell, or Mother-of-Pearl, is a true treasure of the deep and is absolutely stunning when polished and carved. It has layers of gold or black through the silver/white pearl which seem to shift and swirl around as the carvings are turned. Pacific Pearl comes in gold lipped or black lipped varieties which often reach 10 inches or more in diameter. Pearl is almost as hard as jade so is a wonderful long lasting material intricate carvings.

Paua which is similar to the American Abalone but much larger is a beautiful rainbow coloured shell which like pearl changes as the carving is turned. It is spectacular in the vibrancy and richness of its colour. Paua shell is often used as inlays in silver or bone carvings.

All carvings are supplied complete with a traditional style cord & bag.
Most cords are hand made from black waxed braid with a loop and toggle fitted. A woven flax presentation case and information on the meaning of the design is also included.  Some come with a silver chain and/or in a jewelry box as illustrated
Cords & Packing Detail

Fast airmail shipping worldwide is now just US$6.95 for up to 5 pendants.

These are truly unique pieces. Due to the wide range of coloration and layer formation in the shell, it is impossible for two pieces to ever be the same. The carvings also often look totally different on each side as in the example Hei-Matau below.  Colours are therefore indicative only and may vary considerably between carvings.

Please note that due to the relatively thin nature of pearl shell in general and black pearl shell in particular, larger carvings may be quite flat on the back.

Due to an extreme shortage of gold lipped pearl shell worldwide, many of these designs are now in very limited supply and will be withdrawn from our site when current stock is sold.

Don't be fooled by the web sites selling so called "Kiwi" or "Maori" pearl shell carvings very cheaply that are actually being made in factories in China, India and Malaysia, especially if the company is not even based in New Zealand
We support real local artists so all pearl shell carvings in the sections below are made right her in New Zealand

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Mother of Pearl Carving
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Mother of Pearl Carving
Front View
Back View
An example of the colour variations found in a Pearl carving as it is turned

Koru (Spirals):

The spiral is a Koru, represents the fern frond as it opens bringing new life and purity to the world. It also represents peace, tranquility and spirituality along with a strong sense of re growth or new beginnings.
The Koru is also often associated with nurturing so when interlocked with others is frequently used to represent the strength and purity of a loving relationship within a family.

Now Over 15 Designs In This Section


Hei-Matau (Hooks):

These very stylised fish hook jade carvings or pendants represent prosperity,abundance, fertility and strength. They are also seen as good luck charms, particularly for those traveling over water. Hei-Matau are symbols of power and authority which are held in great reverence by the Maori people.

Now Over 20 Designs In This Section


The twist with its crisscross form represents the many paths of life and love and as such is regarded as the original eternity symbol. The single twist in particular shows the joining together of two people for eternity. Even though they sometimes move away from each other on their own journeys, they will always come together again sharing their lives and blending to become one. It tells how the strength of bond of friendship, loyalty and love will last forever.

The double and triple twists have a similar meaning but refer more to the joining of two peoples or cultures rather than individuals. They also refer the the three baskets of knowledge.

Now Over 15 Designs In This Section

Other Pearl & Paua Shell Carvings & Gifts:

These pieces are a mixture traditional decorative styles along with some more contemporary designs. Many are based on Maori legend while some are modern designs inspired by ancient Maori styles with flowing lines, scrolls and soft forms. Some of these pendants are also based on Celtic or oriental designs.
- Pendants, Earrings & Gifts

Now Over 20 Designs In This Section


Large Polished New Zealand Paua Shells

Paua are related to the Abalone but in the cold waters of the South Pacific they have developed thick shells that feature a stunning rainbow of bright iridescent blue, green, yellow and red colours.
No two shells are ever alike so there is a wide variation in colour and pattern between Paua even from the same location.

130mm to 145mm Long (approx)
(5.2 inches to 5.75 inches)


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Featured Artists & Unique or Limited Edition Custom Carvings:

These are very special carvings are often spectacular unique or limited edition pieces in bone, pearl, wood or jade from guest artists and are not part of our normal range.

These often reclusive artists take their inspiration not only from Maori mythology but also from the many other cultures that now share our beautiful land. They also illustrate the deep respect these artists have for the natural and spiritual worlds.

As soon as each carving is sold it will be removed from our site permanently so check for updates often and be quick when you find one that you like, it may be your only chance!!

Each piece is crafted by hand so even if following the same design, no two pieces will ever be exactly the same. Unique pieces in bone and pearl can also be designed especially for you, telling your story through traditional styling and some may also include exotic inlays of shell or precious stones.

Every bone carving is supplied with a traditional waxed braid cord with a loop and pearl toggle fitted, a woven flax presentation case and information on the meaning of the design..
Cords & Packing Detail

Presentation Boxes (Wakahuia)
Available in several styles and sizes are the perfect finishing touch for these carvings

These can be found in our Wood & Wood Carvings section HERE

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Please Note:  All pricing on this site is in US Dollars

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Copyright Notice:
All designs, images and text on this site are protected under NZ & international copyright to the respective artists and The Bone Art Place.
Please respect the hard work and skill our artists have put into creating these designs.
Copyright violations will be pursued to the fullest extent possible under international law.
If you would like to use something from our site please contact us.

© The Bone Art Place 2008