What does Koru mean?

A link from uphilldowndale – who’s blog “Watching nature take its course, from the top of a hill in northern England” is a joy to visit:


has another link to some of Karl Blossfeldt’s (1865-1932) amazing photography


This got me thinking about the koru design.

As a jewellery artist I use the koru design a lot in my work which can represent both ocean waves and new beginnings, inspired by the unfurling of the new growth of a fern frond – so thought you might be interested in this definition I found of the word koru. The word koru is defined in Williams Dictionary of the Maori Language as an adjective meaning ‘folded, coiled, looped’. As a noun, the word means ‘a bulbed motif or scroll painting’ A popular explanation of the koru is that it represents the unfolding of a tree fern frond, as seen in the uncurling corm with its rolled-up inner leaflets. The koru also resembles a curling wave. Symbolically the koru means new beginnings, harmony, growth and life.

Maybe you can now understand why I love to incorporate this wonderful symbol in nearly every piece of jewellery I create : – )


This image is a ponga (tree fern) we had growing in a previous garden. I don’t think one would survive where we live now as it is too close to the sea. : – (

6 responses to “What does Koru mean?

  1. I enjoy reading about your art and the history behind. This poga is remarkable.

  2. Thanks Birgitte! : – ) Yes the ponga is remarkable – it’s one of my favourite New Zealand native trees. You may also know it by it’s common name of Silver Fern. Lovely to hear from you : – )

  3. Great post Deanna!

  4. Hi Deanna.

    We “talked” about this a little that in Finnish the word “Koru” means “jewel, piece of jewellery, ornament, trinket, bauble, bijou”. Now when knowing that Koru in Maori language means different than in Finnish, I want to expand the knowledge.

    In Finland we have a company, not whatever company which is called “Kalevala koru”. It is making high quality jewelry.

    The word Kalevala is the name of The national epic of Finland.

    See Wikipedia:


    Now the link to the pages of Kalevala Koru in English:


    When You explore it by selecting the page Shop for example, then You notice all kind of lovely jewelry!

    So, now when You know the real meaning of the word “Koru” not only in Maori but in Finnish too, then You can say with full heart that You have selected the correct word really – Koru.

    • Thanks so much for sharing that – it was fascinating to read about Kalevala and the koru : – )
      I’m really happy to know that koru means jewel in Finnish!
      Happy day!

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