Caring for your Bone Carving

Hand carved, natural bone seahorse pendant. Made by NZ Pacific.

Your carving is made of polished quality natural bone…

This is a porous material and over time absorbs oils from your skin. As a result it will turn a soft honey gold colour. This is normal and one of the great beauties of bone crafted jewelry.

To bring back the shine to your carving just give it a buff with a soft cloth. In ancient times the high gloss polished finish of bone carvings was achieved by the wearer rubbing it, often in prayer, over many years.

A bone carving not only looks good but it also feels nice to touch. Handling the carving will keep it nicely polished and it will allow your body oils to enter the carving making it a part of you. Māori believe it takes on the spirit of all those who wear it so the more colour it develops the more highly it is treasured.

  • Be careful not to spill coloured liquids onto the carving, such as red wine, as these will also be absorbed into the material. If this happens rinse it off immediately in cold water. Any stains will usually over time fade and gradually disappear.
  • Though bone is a very hard material it can also be brittle and will break if dropped onto a hard surface - so be careful when removing it, slipping it off seems to be time when they are dropped.  
  • Check the condition of the cord from time to time. If you notice any fraying or nicks in the material that would be the time to change the cord. You can return it to us for this or you can do it yourself - we're happy to help you if you have any questions on how we put cords on to various pendants.
  • Never use household cleaning or polishing compounds on your carving. These are usually a little aggressive and they can damage the surface of the carving - this can make them more porous and they will certainly remove any oils in the bone. The oils keep the pendant from drying out and becoming brittle. If you think that your pendant is a little dry you can rub a little baby oil, or olive oil, into the surface with a soft cloth. It's a good idea to do this from time to time, especially if you don't wear the pendant all the time. If you do wear it all the time it is probably going to be absorbing body oils so it will be fine.
  • Rain and the occasional swim will not harm the carving but avoid sudden or extreme temperature changes such as wearing it in a hot shower or spa. Swimming with it then allowing it to dry rapidly in the sun is also not good for the carving, particularly when it is new. Over time your body oils moisturise and 'cure' the carving making it less prone to drying out, but protect it from extreme and rapid temperature changes if you can.
  • And remember - handle the carving often as the oils from your skin will keep the carving in good condition and protect it from the elements.


Caring for your Jade Carving

Hand carved jade matau pendant. Made in NewZealand by Brian Hill for NZ Pacific.

Your carving is made of high quality Nephrite Jade...

  • While jade is a very hard material, it can also be brittle and will break or chip if dropped onto a very hard surface. So take a little care when putting it on and taking it off - this seems to be the time when they slip from your grasp and hit the floor, usually in a tiled bathroom :(
  • As jade is non-porous it is quite safe to wear your carving in the rain or when swimming. Water won't harm it, so our advice is wear it all the time - these are really cool pieces and the more you wear them the better they become.
  • Please Note: If your jade carving has a shell inlay then it should not be worn in water. These little shell inlays are glued in and continual exposure to water and drying out can cause the glue to weaken. We haven't had any problems at all but just a heads-up to take a little more care with these pieces. If they do get wet don't worry, just wipe them dry and keep enjoying it!
  • To bring back shine on your carving buff it with a soft cloth. Do not use household cleaning compounds - use baby oil or olive oil and that will generally give it a wonderful lustre.


Caring for your Mammoth Tusk Carving

Mammoth ivory pendant. Hand carved by NZ Pacific.

Mammoth ivory is an ancient fossilised bone which is sensitive to its surrounding environment - it can be sensitive to extremes in humidity and temperature and to extended exposure to water. We take care to use the best pieces we can source for our carvings but it really pays to look after these beautiful pieces by following a few guidelines...

  • Avoid contact with coloured liquids, dyes or inks - if your pendant does come in contact with any of these rinse it in fresh water as quickly as you can and wipe it dry. This will usually do the trick, but if you do end up with a little stain in the material, continue to wear it and usually over time the stain will fade and disappear.
  • Try to keep your mammoth ivory pendant dry. Don't wear it in the water, and if it does get wet, dry it with a soft cloth as soon as you can. Don't panic if it does get wet, just dry it when you can and then rub a little baby oil into the surface with a soft cloth.
  • Try to avoid leaving it in direct sunlight - this tends to dry it out and because Mammoth Tusk is a layered material it could cause it to separate. This is very rare, and with a little care you can ensure this doesn't happen - any questions message, email or call us and we'll help you out.
  • Avoid letting your pendant freeze - it has probably spent the last 10,000 plus years in the permafrost and doesn't want to return there :)

You can protect your mammoth tusk pendant by rubbing mineral oil into it a couple of times a year to replenish its natural oils - Baby oil works just fine. If you don't have any mineral oil hand, use some olive oil - this will work just as well.

Cleaning Your Mammoth Ivory

If you want to restore the look of your mammoth tusk to its original state follow these steps - it's easy and won't take too much time.

All you'll need is a little rubbing alcohol and some cotton wool. Put a few drops of the alcohol on the cotton wool and gently clean the pendant in circular movements. Take your time and change the cotton wool as soon as it becomes dirty. When you're happy with the look of the mammoth ivory wipe it off with a clean and dry piece of cotton wool, or a soft, dry cloth.

Let the piece stand for 15 - 20 minutes and when its perfectly dry, wipe it off with a little olive, or mineral oil. That's it - good to go! Don't forget this step though - it is very important. The rubbing alcohol cleans but it will also remove a layer of oil in the bone and if this isn't replaced the bone will dry out.

Over time the mammoth tusk material will absorb your body oils and the pendant will change colour - usually it darkens. This is fine - your body oils will also protect the material from drying out and becoming brittle. 


Caring for your Pacific Pearl Carving

Your carving is made of high quality Pacific Pearl shell...

  • Pacific Pearl Shell is a very hard material but it can also be brittle and will break or chip if dropped onto a hard surface such as concrete. Small hairlines through the carving are normal and not a sign or weakness or damage.
  • Pacific Pearl Shell is non-porous so it is quite safe to wear your carving in the rain or when swimming.
  • To bring back shine to your carving simply buff it with a soft cloth. Do not use household cleaning compounds.

Handle your carving, it loves to be touched....

In ancient times the high gloss finish of bone, jade and shell carvings was achieved by the wearer rubbing it with their hands over many years. This was often done in prayer. So handling your carving will not only keep it nicely polished but it will also allow your body oils to enter the surface of the carving, increasing the shine and truly making your carving a part of you.

We know you will enjoy your carving for a very long time - they are hand made with a great deal of care and many of the designs have a historical significance and importance. The most important thing is that you enjoy your pendant - wear it, handle it, show it to your friends!


The Binding....

Hand made pendant binding with jade toggle closure. Made for NZ Pacific.

Most of our pendants are delivered with a hand-plaited and adjustable cord. These cords are very strong but check the condition of the cord from time to time and make sure that all bindings are nice and tight at all times. We hand make our cords so if you have a length preference let us know and we'll make it up for you.

One thing we'd like to point out is that most of our cords are length adjustable. This is so that you can position the pendant where it best suits you. When you are putting your pendant on and taking it off, we recommend you open it to a size that allows you to slip it over your head with ease. This will keep the pressure off the little popper (the binding just above the pendant) and will ensure that it isn't damaged.

We also offer cords in a number of different colours - you can view our single coloured cord options HERE and our multi-coloured cords HERE.