I Carved Jade

Right before Christmas I had the opportunity to make myself the best gift.  I learned (probably a major overstatement) how to carve jade from Hamish in Barrytown, which is on the west coast of the south island of New Zealand.

Hamish picked up me and three fellow travelers early that morning in his rickety old van and drove us to his house.  He opened up his entire jade shop to us.  We explored some jade he had previously carved and then chose the pattern we wanted to carve.  I really liked the “circle of new beginnings” which is a popular symbol in New Zealand, but I wanted it to be a bit different.  Hamish was nice enough to listen to my ideas and then drew up a new pattern for me.

I got to help pick the stone it would be carved out of, Hamish drew the pattern on the stone and used the diamond blade saw to cut the basic shape.  Then it was my turn.

I used several of Hamish’s tools to grind down the design, drill a couple of holes, and polish it up.  That makes it sound so much easier than it was.  I’m not going to lie…Hamish helped me a lot.  I could have been stubborn and demanded that I do all the work myself, but in the end I wanted a beautiful necklace that I would be proud to wear.  I got exactly that.  I love it.

Now I just have to figure out how to keep it to myself.  I showed it to my mom over Skype last week and she’s already been working me over so that I’ll give it to her.  😉

Samples of Hamish’s work. We could chose designs from the blue board.
New Beginnings
The “new beginnings” circles. My design was based loosely on these.
First Cuts
Hamish making the rough cuts. I was happy to stay away from this blade.
Grinding the piece into it’s basic shape.
Basic Shape
The basic shape after the initial grinding
The Stone
Hamish showing me approximately where my piece would have been in the original stone.
Detail Work
Hamish helping me with some intricate details.
The Finished Piece
And, the finished piece.

To top the day off we had a little visitor.

A friendly visitor. It’s a Weka. A flightless bird similar to the Kiwi. They are curious guys…I have funnier photos than this to share later.


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