Essence of Jade
Dunedin jeweller Jamie Fergus took a trip to the largest jade-deposit in the southern hemisphere, to Cowell in South Australia, after which he taught jewellery students in Adelaide how to carve the mine’s particularly dark variety of stone. The darkness is because of its iron content. “That’s the stone I fell in love with 10 years ago,” says Fergus. Pounamu or New Zealand greenstone is a nephrite jade prized for jewellery and which has strong mythological associations with water and aquatic beings. But while New Zealand has a strong carving culture, “nobody knows about it here”, Fergus says, who studied jewellery and metalworking at the Sydney Institute Design Centre. Coast-garde ’09, a collective of carvers’ work including Fergus’, is at Sydney’s Metalab gallery through September 26.