Jade Over 100 million years ago, when the magma spouted from the earth crust and became cool some elements experienced complicated chemical reactions and changed into jade stone.The true jade namely nephrite, a hard non-crystalline mineral consists of silicates of calcium and magnesium; it varies in colors according to the proportion of iron contained. Jadeite jade is a harder silicate of alumina and sodium, which is regarded as an excellent substitute for jade; in China about one hundred and seventy different kinds of stones are frequently included in the term “jade”.
Chinese jade culture is very deep and rich. On the site of Hongshan culture and Hemudu culture archaeologists have found jade objects, which can date back to the early Neolithic period (around 7,000years ago).
In ancient time the nobles and royalties possessed jade ornaments and jade ware to show their power, social status and wealth. Jade articles were even buried with them in the coffin because they believed that jade could keep evil spirits away and protect the body from decaying. Jade articles were always used to worship heaven in ancient time.
Chinese people even endowed jade with a lot of cultural connotations. According to the quality of jade people compared their virtue with jade. Jade is warm and smooth which is like the virtue of benevolence. Jade is translucent and its flaws can be seen, which is like the virtue of righteousness. Jade can be broken yet can not be bent, which is the virtue of braveness. Jade can send good and clear sound when being struck, which is like the virtue of wisdom. It is sharp when cut but not injures people, which is like the virtue of pure. Chinese people revered jade so there was one saying in China” Gold is valuable but jade is invaluable.”
Jade in Chinese is pronounced “yu” and it stands for beauty, purity and good virtue. So it is always related to other words and idioms. “Jade will not become ware without being carved and polished” that indicates man will not become a useful person without being cultivated. The God in Chinese Taoism is called “Heavenly Jade Emperor”. The Chinese character of jade (yu) is always used in names. One of the Four Beauties in Chinese history, named Yang Yuhuan, the beloved concubine of Emperor Xuanzong in the Tang Dynasty (618AD – 907AD). Yang is her surname and her given name is “Yuhuan”, which means “jade ring”.
One unforgetful Jade Story
There is a famous story about a piece of jade jewelry (heshibi), which was believed the most priceless treasure. In 689BC one man called Bian found this jade which was hidden under the veil of a coarse stone. He contributed it to the king of State Chu but the king cut off his legs because the king didn’t know the value of this stone. Later the stone was cut and it proved to be a valuable jade and it was named “heshibi”. Wan Bi Gui Zhao (Jade Returned Intact to Kingdom Zhao) is a follow-up story of the famous jade. 300 years later this national treasure fell into the hands of King Zhao. The king of the Qin State, the most powerful state during the Warring States Period (475-221 BC), tempted to exchange the jade from the State Zhao by using his 15 cities, but his trick failed. The jade was returned to the State Zhao safely. Later after the Kingdom Qin unified China the emperor Qinshihuang got this jade and he ordered craftsman to carve it into a stamp. This imperial stamp was carved with 8 Chinese characters “shou ming yu tian, ji shou yong chang”, which means “ given the order from heaven, enjoy long live and flourish”. From then on this imperial stamp became the token of supreme power and authority.
Jade jewelry is valuable. The material is very rare and very difficult to find and to mine. Now high quality jade jewelry is almost depleted. Jade jewelry is very hard. Suppose the hardness of diamond is 10 the hardness of hard jade especially jadeite can reach 9. So it is very difficult to process jade jewelry into jade ware and jewelry. People used carborundum and diamond powder to cut and polish jade. Jade jewelry has a lot of different colors such as green, white, red, yellow, black and etc. After processed they are very smooth and lustrous.
Which are Chinese famouse Jade?
The four most famous jade in China are Hetian jade in Xinjiang Uigur Autonomous Reign, Dushan jade in Nanyang, Henan Province, Xiuyan Jade in xiuyan city, Liaoning Province, turquoise in Yunxian, Hubei Province.
The quality criteria of jade lies in many aspects, such as the brightness of color and luster, compactness of inner structure, workmanship of the carving and so on. 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 can not be seen; the more lenitive jade has the higher quality.
In general,Hetian Jade is China’s most precious jade, because of its shortage of jade resource,its value increase greatly.Chinese People treat owning one real Hetian Jade as a fortune thing.