has a history in China of at least four thousands years.
Unknown to some, jade is found contained within the development
of religion and civilization, having moved from the use
of decoration on to the others such as the rites of worship
and burial. Although other materials like gold, silver and
bronze were also used, none of these have ever exceeded
the spiritual position that jade has acquired in peoples'
minds - it is associated with merit, morality, grace and
dignity. In the funeral objects of the people of the Western
Han Dynasty (206 BC - 24 AD), for example, we can see only
high officials were buried with jade articles.
has influenced all walks of life. In ancient times, people
expressed abstract notions with concrete patterns of Chinese
character, which were influenced by Taoism and Buddhism.
Jade craftworks were among the most precious and luxurious
ones; people wore and decorated rooms to indicate loyalty,
elegance, beauty, and eternity. The most popular patterns
were: peach (longevity), mandarin duck (love), deer (high
official ranks), bat (blessing), fish (affluence), double
phoenixes (thriving), bottle (safety), lotus (holiness),
bamboo (lofty conduct), and fan (benevolence), etc.
Chinese, jade is pronounced as 'Yu', and most words related
to moral include this word such as 'Unpolished jade never
shines,' indicating that one cannot be a useful person if
he is not educated. Jade also implied honor and conviction.
Many girls in ancient times were also named with jade to
reflect the love of their parents. One of the Four Beauties
in Chinese history, Yang Yuhuan, the beloved concubine of
Emperor Xuanzong in the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907), was their
representative. Yang is her surname and her given name Yuhuan
means simply 'jade ring'.
believed that jade was the expression of the most beautiful
stone. A beautiful piece can be more valuable than fifteen
cities and a man's life. Historic records tell of a story
about a stanch man named Bian He who had a piece of jade
called 'Heshi Bi' which was said to be the most priceless
treasure in history. However, when Bian He discovered the
piece, it was hidden under the veil of the coarse stone
in which it laid. He did not dare to carve it but instead
dedicated it to the King of State Chu. He never knew that
he would pay two legs for his dedication, for the king did
not know the real value of the jade and cut Bian He's legs
off. He cried for three days and nights. Afterwards, the
new king heard of him and wanted to see whether his jade
was as precious as he said. When the jade was cut, all were
startled by the delicate quality. Very soon, it became a
national treasure and was called 'Heshi Bi'. So precious
was the stone that it even became a source of conflict between
the Qin State and Zhao State.
early as the 16th century, Jadeite was believed to be a
precious and hard jade with healing qualities for the human
stomach and kidneys. Since it was brought into China during
the early Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911), it had been doted
on greatly. Jadeite contains an iron component which appears
red, chromium that appears green, and many other colored
types. Known as the 'king of jade', it is usually a more
expensive type of jade.
robustness is due to the fact it contains tremolite. It
also can be divided into several sub-classifications according
to color: white, grey, green, topaz, and black jade.
China, the most reputable jade producing area is Hetian
in Xinjiang Province. Hetian jade is so hard that it can
scratch glass. It has often been found in very huge pieces.
An example of this is the huge jade hill on which the grand
scene of Yu the Great leading people to control flood is
elaborately carved. It was 5,350 kg weight (11,795 pounds)
when it was completed. Now this artwork is displayed in
the Forbidden City.
jade, or Xiu yu in Chinese, is mainly from Xiuyan County
in Liaoning Province. Made of many different ingredients,
it takes on various appearances: white, yellow, light yellow,
pink, green, dark green, light green and so on. This type
of jade is usually coloured in various shades of green.
Usually serpentine jade is semi-transparent or even opaque
jade is produced in Lantian County, north of Xian in Shaanxi
Province. It was also among the most charming ancient jades,
for its rigidity made it easier to be carved into decorations
and jewelry by our ancestors. The hue is uneven in colors
of yellow or light green.
County in Henan Province is famous for its abundant Nanyang
jade. The ore district is located on an isolated 200 meter
high hill, called Dushan Hill (thus its other name of 'Dushan
jade'). It is distinctive for its whimsicality. Among the
Nanyang jade artworks, you will find rare purple, blue and
Appreciation and Maintenance
believe that, although more expensive, diamonds and gold
cannot be compared with jade - jade is animated with a soul.
They often buy to collect their favorite jade artworks,
while people with little knowledge of jade may buy coarse
obtain a real and choice jade article, you should take pains
to learn and appreciate it. The criteria lie in the brightness
of color and luster, compactness of inner structure, and
the delicacy of the craftwork. For example, nephrite creates
an oily luster and jadeite creates a vitreous luster. Tiny
cracks can lower the value of jade; on real jade, air bubbles
cannot be seen; the more lenitive the higher quality of
jade, and so on.
purchased a jade article is just half the process of collecting.
Jade is like a child that needs constant care. Enthusiasts
need to work more to maintain this artwork, or blemishes
First, avoid bumping on hard surfaces as jade is delicate.
Although sometimes a crack cannot be seen by the naked eye,
the interior structure may have been damaged. As time goes
on, it will appear and reduce the value of the piece.
Second, protect jade articles from dust or greasy dirt.
If tainted, they must be scrubbed with a soft brush and
light suds and washed with clean water.
Third, when left unused it is best to store the jade in
a case or box to protect it from being bumped.
Fourth, jade should be kept away from perfume, perspiration
or chemicals. The brightness of jade risks corrosion, especially
emerald and other high quality jade, so it is better to
clean it with a soft cloth after wearing it.
Fifth, do not expose jade to sunlight for a long time, or
it may expand and the quality will change slightly.
jade has certain water content so keep it in an area of
humidity to protect it from over-drying.