When bone is worn on the skin, it changes colour as oil is absorbed into the bone. The Maori believed that the spirit or soul of the person was inhabiting the pendant.
Bone pendants were most popular amongst the Maori people of New Zealand. The designs the Maori use in their bone artwork all have a particular significance. This is what attracts so many people to these forms of craftsmanship.
Their artwork functioned as a carrier of stories and legends because the Maori didn't have a written language. Passed on by tribal leaders generation upon generation these artifacts became sacred objects and also thought to possess the spirits of ancestors, fierce warriors and important leaders who had owned them. Even today a traditionally crafted pendant, given with love and worn with respect is considered to absorb the spirit of the wearer being a powerful, spiritual object.