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Chinese Jade

Jade, is an incredibly important part of China’s culture and history. It has been crafted into almost any item imaginable, from functional to highly artistic. It has been carved in China for over 4,000 years and is compared with ideal human virtues because of its beauty, hardness, and durability. In the past it was believed to have protective powers that would prevent fatigue and cool the body, as well as prevent decomposition of a corpse.
Han jade dragen Han jade dragen

Jade has been part of Chinese culture as far back as the Neolithic period. The earliest pieces were quite simple, but as technology grew, the jade become more and more artistic. Jade was so highly regarded, that only high officials and emperors were allowed to possess it. The majority of the ancient jade articles in existence today come from excavated tombs and they give a great insight into the importance, and technological capabilities of the ancient civilizations.
China has four major jade producing areas. The most valuable and highly prized comes from Hetian in Xinjiang Province. It is exceedingly hard and some large pieces have been found of it. The largest jade carving ever crafted was of Hetian Jade which was carved for the Emperor Qianlong. It weighs 5,350 kilograms (11,795 pounds) and is located in The Forbidden City. Xiuyan County in China’s Liaoning Province is home to serpentine jade. It comes in a large variety of colors and is generally opaque. Lantian jade is produced in Lantian County in Shaanxi Province. Its colors are generally not uniform. It is easier carved than the other types of Chinese jade. Henan Province’s Nanyang County is famous for its abundance of jade. The jade is mined on a single hill named Dushan Hill and Nanyang Jade is also sometimes called Dushan Jade.

In China Jade is considered more precious than Gold or Diamonds, although not as expensive. There are many criteria which affect the value of jade. Color, size, impurities all act on the value of the stone. Then the carving and artistry of the finished product comes into play. Jade art needs constant care. It is important that the jade not be bumped on a hard surface because it will crack. Jade needs to be kept clean and away from perfume or perspiration, which will affect the brightness of the jade and will cause it to face if not protected. Jade needs to be stored in a humid area to keep it from drying out. If jade dries out, it will affect the appearance and value of stone.
Belt plaque with dragon design Belt plaque with dragon design

Jade is as important today in Chinese culture as it was in ancient times. Although now available to anyone who can afford it, to own a piece of jade is considered a huge honor and most people are still trying to upgrade their collections. It is important, when purchasing jade in China that you buy it from a reputable dealer to ensure you are getting authentic jade that is not overpriced.

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