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Maori Green Stone Tiki Pendant Set in 18K Gold

New Zealand, Maori, late 19th to early 20th century CE. Finely carved from pounamu - a greenstone that in this case is likely bowenite, a variety of the serpentinite species of antigorite - this hei tiki Maori pendant is quite large and skillfully rendered. Hei tiki are created to be ornamental anthropomorphic pendants and are regarded as taonga (treasure) by the Maori. In Polynesia, the word "tiki" means carved human figure, originating from the myth of Tiki - the first man. This hei tiki presents the traditional form with joined hands and feet and head tilted dramatically to the side. In addition to its own beauty - the stone with marvelous veining and translucency, the form skillfully carved - the pendant is set in 18 karat gold. Size: pendant is 3.25" L x 1.875" W (8.3 cm x 4.8 cm); chain is 20" L (50.8 cm)

Tiki are common through Polynesia, but the hei tiki is uniquely Maori. The flat form of nearly all hei tiki stems from the fact that these are made from adze blades. Since contact with Europeans, the hei tiki have become symbols of the Maori people and by extension of New Zealand -- Air New Zealand passengers in the 1960s and 1970s received small tiki pendants, and photos from the Beatles 1964 tour of the country show them wearing them around their necks. Similar pieces are in the British Museum and Te Papa Tongarewa (the Museum of New Zealand).

This piece has been has been tested for the presence or absence of particular elements via XRF elemental analysis. A basic 1-page summary of the XRF screening will accompany purchase, identifying each element present in the sample, as well as the quantity of elements present. A more complete analysis detailing historical data / comparisons is available for additional charge – please contact us.

Condition: Setting is 18 karat gold. Chain is made of white metal. Setting and chain date later than the pendant. Excellent overall.

Provenance: private Southern California, USA collection, acquired in the 1970s to mid-1980s

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