Chinese Jade

Chinese Jade.

This version of jade which is available widely on the globe is used for jewelry and other items since thousands of years. Over a long period of time people thought all if this comes from China, which is wrong.

But behind most Chinese jade is a typical story one of it is that the original green stone recuses were almost depleted long time ago and because of this since about thousand years ago Turkestan became the prime source and every year the Chinese authorities have put a caravan together to carry the jade-stones to Beijing.



Chinese jade jewelry

Chinese Jade Jewelry

Since most Chinese people are deeply superstitious and not only since yesterday they believe in the protection and health properties of jade gemstone.

The "Chinese jade stones" actually came from Turkestan > and the Chinese made something out of it. Today most of the high-end quality jewelry is jadeite which is mined in Myanmar. It is smuggled over the border, and once arrived at Yunnan it becomes "Chinese jade". This mineral has been used for art objects, burial suits, weapons and everyday items throughout around 5 millenniums.

There are indications for even a wider time frame since some fragments have been excavated from a Neolithic period environment.

Neolithic dagger > are quite rare but they show how old the mineral is and the use a few things which make the stone useful. Although today it's jewelry, ornaments, and sculptures only.


nephrite arrowheads

Throughout history, China had a strong relation with the mineral. The mines got exhausted over the long period of time and slowly jadeite from Myanmar was sourced. After it comes to the market it's Yunnan jade. 

The material is found in Turkestan, Yarkand, Hotan and around Lake Baikal in Siberia. Hotan and Yak and were on the trade route between the Han dynasty and the Roman Empire. This is a very long route by which silk, a major export trade item of that time was carried by long caravans to the west until around the 16.th century when Portuguese started their trade offensive to the east. This trade road became known as the Silk Road.

Shang Period Jade.

Neolithic Chinese dagger

That was from (18th to 12th century BC) and Han Period (220 to around 206 BC) over time the items got more sophisticated and objects such as animal and decorative items appeared. 

Around Neolithic times nephrite was dominant for everyday use things, ceremonial purpose, and jewelry. Another main use at that time and before was for weapons such as arrows tips, knives, daggers and household tools. Jade has always played an important role in Chinese culture.

Yellow Chinese jade jewelry pendant
white Chinese jade nephrite jewelry

pretty oriental jewelry
jade horses had their place in Chinese culture
Superb oriental jewelry material
pretty oriental jewelry

That goes on since about 6000 years in various forms because the main resources were in Turkestan and trading much time interrupted for years, even decades because of war etc.

Only since around thousand years, the focus was also directed to Myanmar (Burma) because that is close to the southern border which makes it very interesting for trading. 


Hpakant jade mines

Hpakant jade mines > are the biggest in Kachin State and the largest market for the product in the world is right across the border to the north. They smuggle the green stone over the mountains and when it arrived in Yunnan or Kunming it became automatically local jade and was transported all over the huge country since the manufacturing centers were spread all over.


Guatemala jade totem
Guatemala jade totem
In the west of Guatemala archaeologists have found the tomb of K'utz Chman a Maya priest who ruled the city Tak Klik Ab'aj and is considered the oldest known Maya at all.

He bridged the gap between the cultures of the Olmecs and the Maya. K'utz Chman is known for having introduced cultural innovations such as the building of pyramids and sculptures plus portraits of the ruling families. In his tomb rich artifacts have been found recently (2012) including a necklace with a vulture-headed human form as a pendant.

This nephrite figure is a symbol of power and wealth - an award that was awarded to the old men. This also fits the name of the deceased: K'utz Chman means, in the language of the Maya "grandfather vultures".

The archaeologists were using radiocarbon dating to determine the age of the tomb from 770 to 510 BC. However, they found only offerings. The bones of the earth grandfather vultures already vanished. Combining all this historical data it's amazing to see what an impact this mineral had over time to people of all walk of life at every continent and at every social status.

kind of eastern diamondgreat carved bangle













This is the green stone which is popularly known as Eastern Diamond. That has something to do with Chinese to be precise with their culture and their material which is actually nephrite. A superb oriental material (which is also mined elsewhere e.g. Canada but not since very long time ago). The jade stone had always a wide spectrum of use but today it came down to jewelry such as bangles rings pendants necklaces bracelet earrings and sculptures. E.g.  Buddha statues and other objects.


Like gems material

For them it is a symbol of positive living including some health properties, sometimes this “eastern diamond” can fetch prices higher than diamonds if the size translucency texture and color come together in a perfect way. 


Similar corundum gems such as ruby and sapphire

Corundum gems such as ruby and sapphire are not far off from the physical properties of the top gems such as the one mentioned before and rubies plus similar corundum. In recent years shop people in the “Chinese World” came with the mantra that the raw material is almost gone and manipulated the prices into astronomical heights if a few basics are met, read more.

Actually the fact is that today continuously new deposits of nephrite are discovered and in Myanmar real jade mountains are available. It would still be on sale for several centuries, to indicate it get's exhausted it’s just marketing. 


Imperial jade jewelry.jpg

The raw material is exported to “the middle kingdom”, manufactured into jade jewelry and exported. So the real profit stays with the Chinese. Myanmar > is trying to grab a share of it but many sellers simply ask unrealistic prices.

Tags: China jade Chinese jade jewelry jadeite value

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