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Culture in Jade
Althrough quaint folklore and superstition heighten consumer interest in stones like sapphire and opal, they rarely clinch sales of these gems. But when it comes to jadeite, folklore and superstition are living reality and thus bona fide selling points. For 7,000 years, the ancient Chinese were using a variety of white to green stone known as ‘Yu’ in Chinese ‘玉’ or as the West would refer to as ‘Jade’. Appreciated for its toughness and is durability to wear and tear, many early civilisations used it for tools and ornaments. In China, most of the jade ornaments came from the Khotan, Sinkiang area. In other countries, the jade artifacts were found and appreciated by people in the Swiss Lake area of Europe, the Aztecs and Mayans of Central America (especially Guatemala and Mexico), itoigawa jade of Central Island of Honshu, Japan and Maori natives using dark green jade in New Zealand.

Nephrite-jade was an important stone to the Chinese until the arrival of Burmese jadeite-jade in the mid-18th century. The Emperor Qianlong (1736-1795) fell in love with fei-ts’ui which resemble the brilliant green plumage of the kingfisher. As the new found favourite stone of the Emperor, many artisans turned to carving jadeite-jade instead of nephrite. The demand for jade took off when the Chinese people began to appreciate “The Stone of the Heaven”. The popularity of jadeite-jade was further enhanced when Empress Ci Xi (late Qing Dynasty 1835 – 1908) ordered things to be made from the highest quality jade.
To fully appreciate jadeite jade it is necessary to reference an important point made by Hughes, Galibert, et al (2000: 2). They note that "an understanding of jadeite is not limited to the technical or exacting, but it also requires a feeling for the cultural, textural, and ephemeral qualities that make the study of jade unlike any other in the world of gemstones." Their point reflects jadeite's very special relationship with Chinese culture, a relationship that is only rivaled perhaps by diamond's relationship with the English-speaking world.
 
Althrough quaint folklore and superstition heighten consumer interest in stones like sapphire and opal, they rarely clinch sales of these gems. But when it comes to jadeite, folklore and superstition are living reality and thus bona fide selling points. For 7,000 years, the ancient Chinese were using a variety of white to green stone known as ‘Yu’ in Chinese ‘玉’ or as the West would refer to as ‘Jade’. Appreciated for its toughness and is durability to wear and tear, many early civilisations used it for tools and ornaments. In China, most of the jade ornaments came from the Khotan, Sinkiang area. In other countries, the jade artifacts were found and appreciated by people in the Swiss Lake area of Europe, the Aztecs and Mayans of Central America (especially Guatemala and Mexico), itoigawa jade of Central Island of Honshu, Japan and Maori natives using dark green jade in New Zealand.

 

Nephrite-jade was an important stone to the Chinese until the arrival of Burmese jadeite-jade in the mid-18th century. The Emperor Qianlong (1736-1795) fell in love with fei-ts’ui which resemble the brilliant green plumage of the kingfisher. As the new found favourite stone of the Emperor, many artisans turned to carving jadeite-jade instead of nephrite. The demand for jade took off when the Chinese people began to appreciate “The Stone of the Heaven”. The popularity of jadeite-jade was further enhanced when Empress Ci Xi (late Qing Dynasty 1835 – 1908) ordered things to be made from the highest quality jade.
To fully appreciate jadeite jade it is necessary to reference an important point made by Hughes, Galibert, et al (2000: 2). They note that "an understanding of jadeite is not limited to the technical or exacting, but it also requires a feeling for the cultural, textural, and ephemeral qualities that make the study of jade unlike any other in the world of gemstones." Their point reflects jadeite's very special relationship with Chinese culture, a relationship that is only rivaled perhaps by diamond's relationship with the English-speaking world.

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