South Island Pounamu (Greenstone). Carved in Auckland, New Zealand. Every single piece is a unique slice of Aotearoa.
Ernesto Ovalle is an accomplished Pounamu carver and contemporary fine artist. Ernesto trained for years under the guidance of master carver Tangi Wepu and is one of a hand full of people who are certified by Ngai Tahu Iwi to source, carve and sell Pounamu (Greenstone) from Te Wai Pounamu (South Island of New Zealand). We are proud to stock his range of intuitively sculpted Pounamu.
Originally from Colombia, Ernesto Ovalle is a goldsmith and a sculptor with over 25 years of experience. He learned his craft from his family of jewellers and watchmakers prior to developing his skills at Bogota Fine Arts University. He is currently completing a Fine Arts degree at The University of Auckland’s prestigious Elam School of Fine Arts.
Arriving in New Zealand in 1999, Ernesto felt a strong affinity for both the local landscape and Maori and Pacific Island cultures, prompting a personal revolution in his craft. A Maori friend introduced him to wood, bone and greenstone carving – as well as the traditional protocols around carving that inspired him to get in touch with his own South American heritage.
A descendant of the Muiscas tribe in Colombia, Ernesto has a profound respect for the tribe’s connection with the Earth and the Land, which has also greatly inspired his philosophy. The connection between the land and culture is a theme that permeates his artwork. Each piece Ernesto creates tells a story that links back to his indigenous roots and combines influences from Maori and Pacific Island culture.
Ernesto currently lives and works in Auckland with a dedicated jewellery practice based at The Bridge Gallery, which he runs on Beresford Square in Auckland Central.
Note: All Ernesto’s Pounamu comes with a life time warranty on binding. Ernesto will happily re-bind any piece where the linen cord shows deterioration.
Pounamu (Greenstone) is a treasure. Please treat your piece with care as the stone is naturally brittle. It will shatter if dropped or banged against a hard surface.
The best way to take care of Pounamu:
Try to avoid wearing it while showering, doing physical exercise or swimming.
Polish the surface with natural oils.
Keep your piece stored in a safe place. A small wooden box is ideal https://texanartschools.co.nz/collections/jewellery-box