What Does Jade Represent In Chinese Culture? -10 types

If you’re a gemstone lover then you’ve probably heard of or come across Jade. It’s one of the oldest gems in existence that’s loved and revered by many all over the world more so in China. From early periods until today, this stone eternally remains a mystical stone that’s fascinating and desired by many. It’s mostly referred to as an indestructible and enigmatic stone.

In Chinese culture even today, the gem is the most highly valued stone in the country. There is a Chinese saying that states that it may be easy to put a price on gold but Jade’s value is priceless. Being an important gem to the Chinese, it has also helped grow the country’s economy. The growing demand for quality jade has led to an increase in its price and value at the turn of the century.

But have you wondered what jade is, what it’s made of, and where it came from? What makes it so important in China? In this post, we attempt to answer all these questions by covering the fundamentals of Jade. The following content is everything you need to know about the gem and its relation to China.

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Jade History in China.

Jade has been in use for almost all periods in Chinese history, from prehistoric times to the modern-day. The gem refers to two kinds of gemstones, nephrite, and jadeite. Nephrite was the earliest known form of Jade that appeared in many different colors, but the most preferred was the green jade with an emerald hue.

Later on, there was a liking developed for white jade with a brown tinge. Afterward, pure white jade became more available in China, from central Asia. It wasn’t until much later in the late imperial China period that China was introduced to jadeite a stronger more durable form of Jade. Today jadeite is the most widely used form of Jade in China.

Where Was Jade Found in Ancient China?

Nephrite is the earliest form of jade known in China and was mined in the country ever since the Neolithic era of the pre-historic period. Although depleted today, the main source of jade in this era was from the Ningshao region that is along the Yangtze River Delta and Liaoning province in inner Mongolia. Three centers were involved in jade working, they were, Lake Tai district by Liangzhu culture, China’s east coast region by Longshan culture, and the today’s northeastern border in China, by Hongshan culture.

During the Han dynasty, the jade was being gotten from an oasis called Khotan. It was 5000 miles away from where the Hongshan and Liangzhu cultures, that practiced jade work earlier, were located. Aside from Khotan, earlier dynasties sourced for jade in other areas like Lantian, Shaanxi, where you’d find greenish and white nephrite jade. River jade mining was also practiced in Yarkand, along the black and white jade rivers, Karakash and Yurungkash, respectively. Much later towards the end of the imperial period in China, was when jadeite was introduced to China. It was sourced from Burma and imported in large quantities to China.

When Was Jade Discovered in China?

The earliest form of jade in China, nephrite can be traced back 5000BCE, in the prehistoric period during the Neolithic era. Around this time, they were mostly used to make ritualistic and sacrificial objects. The most popular color then was green. In the 2nd century, white jade with a brown tinge became popular, followed by pure white jade in the 1st century. By the 18th century the newer form of jade, jadeite was introduced to the Qing dynasty through trade, from Burma.

Who Wore Jade in Ancient China?

Jade has always been a more highly-priced gem as compared to gold and silver ever since Ancient China. In the Neolithic era, the gem was mostly used to make tools but from the earliest dynasties, the gem became a symbol of status and was only worn by emperors, nobles, and government officials.

Given the association of royalty and high status, commoners were unable to acquire it. So, you could only find nobles with them, and even in their death, they would be buried in with their jade. This is because the stone was believed to have magical powers that protected the bodies from decaying. Some were even buried in suits made entirely of jade and gold string. Again, because the suits were costly to make and took a long time to compete, only those with massive wealth like the emperors were able to afford it.

In later dynasties, that is the Ming and Qing dynasties, the stone began being used to make ornaments, antiquities, and vessels. The designs and shapes were borrowed from earlier times in China. Therefore, the stone transitioned from being ritualistic tools to ornaments and dragon or human-shaped sculptures seen even today.

How Was Jade Carved in Ancient China?

jade bracelet

Jade is said to be a very smooth but firm stone that’s difficult to cut through or curve. Even while mining, it was difficult to break the stone away from the quarry. Miners at the time would have to light a fire underneath the stone and then pour cold water over it immediately after the stone got hot. This rapid change in temperature technique was said to gradually break the wooden edges of the stone until it fell off. But because this method ended up destroying the jade as well, the best extraction method was said to be from the pebbles and boulders found in the river.

When it came to cutting, the same method that is used in the modern-day was the same technique used in earlier times as well. The fact that jade was so tough, the only way to cut through it was by using something tougher than it. In earlier times the quartz a mineral with a higher hardness level was the preferred tool. In the Neolithic time, the Hongshan culture, using this mineral made four tools that they used to curve and mold jade. The four tools were shallow drills, slow rotating disks, awls, and string. The string was what was used to shape the jade in its raw state, slice it into flat disks, and sometimes cut slits on it if needed. The slow rotating disk on the other hand was what prepared the jade for drilling techniques. The awls and shallow drills were used to delicately puncture holes on the jade disks. The shallow drills were responsible for making larger holes while the awls were responsible for making smaller ones.

What Does Jade Symbolize in Chinese Culture?

Jade belt

In Chinese culture, jade is highly valuable because it is considered a luck stone. Another name for it is the “Stone of Heaven”. Based on the great philosopher Confucius, who once wrote that jade was like a virtue whose brightness symbolized heaven.

According to the Chinese, Jade symbolizes good luck, success, and prosperity. It also represents immortality and renewal. In Chinese, the symbol for jade ‘Yu’ closely resembles the symbol for emperor ‘Wang’. As a result, on top of the fact that only nobles would wear it, jade was considered a royal gemstone.

Xu Shen, a scholar from the Han dynasty, once compared the qualities of the Jade to the five virtues. He said the stone’s benevolence was in its brilliance and luster. Its Wisdom is in the tranquility of its tones. Its Honesty was in its translucent appearance and its Integrity was in the fact that it could be broken but not twisted.

Given the importance of Jade to the Chinese, over the years it has been included in many of their proverbs and idioms. For example, a Chinese saying, “As clear as ice and as clean as jade” is used to describe a person who is considered noble and pure. A jade woman is said to mean a beautiful woman or a lady.

Why Is Jade Important in China?

Jade hairpin

Jade is important to the Chinese, because of what it represents and the fact that it is ingrained in their culture. It represents social values respected in China through the five virtues that Xu Shen once described. It is also rare and fascinating to look at.

Aside from its beauty, the Chinese also value jade for its medicinal purposes. As per tradition, the Chinese used to place a green jade in the mouth of the recently deceased, because the green jade was culturally seen to represent the heart. In ancient China, healers made an elixir by mixing powdered jade and water. They believed that it strengthened the body and prolonged life. They also believed that taking the elixir before death would prevent the body from decaying.  

What Did the Chinese Use Jade For?

Jade Earrings

A lot of what was made from jade in earlier times still have unclear purposes, other than they looked like ritualistic objects. During the Neolithic period, jade was mainly curved into large rectangular tablets that replicated tools and weapons, which were later discovered in tools. The ceremonial ax is one of the common objects from these tiles. It was made of thin rectangular jades with a single hole.

During the Shang dynasty, the stone was used to make chimes and seals for orifices of the body when being buried. Another common object from this time was a ritualistic cup made from jade. It was a circular tube on the inside and square-shaped on the outside with small circle decorations. Bi was another ritualistic jade object believed to have been used during the Shang and Zhou dynasty and was placed on the waist of the chest of the dead. Other objects found in tombs that date back to this period are knives, combs, and miniature statues of humans, animals, and mythical creatures, all made of jade and each had single holes.

By the 8th century, jade curving skills had greatly improved and you would find, round or flat plaques of jade with animal figurines carved into them. These plaques were popularly used as combs, hairpins, or pendants. This continued for many of the centuries to come. Even today, there are no human figurines and miniature animal or mythical creature sculptures being made. Jade is now also being used to make jewelry and ornaments as well as chopsticks and other things like inkstones.

what is the jade stone?

Jade is a type of mineral with beautiful textures and luster, and it is one of the important gemstones in traditional cultures. In Chinese traditional culture, jade holds numerous symbolic meanings and cultural connotations. Its qualities of hardness and durability are regarded as symbols of noble character, and jade artifacts are considered as auspicious items and talismans against evil.

Jade is primarily found in mineral-rich parts of mountain ranges, with Xinjiang’s Hetian jade being the most famous. Hetian jade is renowned for its delicate texture, warm color, and natural patterns, earning it the title of “Chinese King of Jade.” Apart from Hetian jade, there are other types of jade, such as jadeite, agate, and turquoise.

Jade can be polished and crafted into various ornaments, such as pendants, bangles, and ornaments, or it can be worked into various jade carving artworks. For thousands of years, jade has been treasured accessories and collectibles among royal elites and social figures. Today, jade holds a significant place not only in the jewelry industry but also in fields like carving and sculpture, where it finds extensive artistic application.

what does Chinese jade called?

Ancient people had a diverse array of terms and designations for jade, including qiong, lin, qiu, yu, xuan, qi, yao, and gui, among others. Additionally, based on the characteristics of jade such as its shape, color, and texture, specific names were used. For instance, jade with a circular or ring-like form was referred to as “huan jade,” flat, round, and pierced jade was called “bi jade,” uncarved jade was termed “pu jade,” impure jade was known as “zan jade,” green or bluish-white jade was called “bi jade,” and hard jade was referred to as “cui jade.” Furthermore, certain jades had specific purposes, such as decorative jade pendants hanging from the sides of ancient crowns being called “tian jade,” jades used for rainmaking ceremonies with dragon motifs were termed “long jade,” a type of jade with a circular (or sword-like) top and a pointed bottom used by ancient emperors and nobles during ceremonies was referred to as “gui jade,” and jade placed in the mouth of the deceased was named “han jade.” In summary, ancient people possessed a profound understanding of the various appellations and uses of jade.

what is the meaning of jade?

The meaning of jade is remarkably extensive, encompassing a beautiful mineral in the natural world as well as symbolizing numerous concepts and connotations within human culture. In different cultural and historical contexts, jade has been attributed various symbolic meanings and values.

In traditional Chinese culture, jade is regarded as a gemstone with special significance. It is considered a symbol of noble character, as its hardness and enduring nature mirror the qualities expected of a virtuous person. Jade artifacts are also seen as auspicious items and protective talismans, believed to bestow safety, harmony, and good fortune upon individuals.

Furthermore, jade is seen as a symbol of nobility and purity. In some cultures, jade is used to represent unwavering love and commitment in relationships, or to symbolize the beauty and elegance of women. In ancient literature and artistic works, jade has been employed as a symbol of human virtues and character.

In essence, the meaning of jade is rich and diverse, spanning across cultural, historical, religious, artistic, and other realms. Whether in Eastern or Western cultures, jade plays a significant role, embodying a plethora of symbolic meanings and values attributed by people.

where is jade found?

Jade is found in various parts of the world, with notable deposits in specific regions. Some of the most well-known sources of jade include:

China: China has a long history of jade mining and is renowned for producing high-quality jade. The most famous type of Chinese jade is “nephrite jade,” which is found in regions like Xinjiang, Hotan (Hetian), and other areas.

Myanmar (Burma): Myanmar is another major producer of jade, particularly the prized “Burmese jade” or “jadeite jade.” The Hpakant region in northern Myanmar is known for its significant jadeite deposits.

Canada: Canada is a notable source of nephrite jade, particularly from British Columbia. The province of British Columbia, in western Canada, produces a substantial amount of nephrite jade.

Russia: Nephrite jade is also found in parts of Russia, including the Sayan Mountains and Eastern Siberia.

New Zealand: New Zealand is known for its pounamu or greenstone, which is a type of nephrite jade. It holds cultural significance for the indigenous Māori people.

Guatemala: Guatemala is known for producing a type of jade known as “Guatemalan jade,” which is a variety of jadeite jade.

United States: Nephrite jade is found in several U.S. states, including California, Wyoming, and Alaska.

These are just a few examples, and there are other regions around the world where jade can be found in various forms. The type and quality of jade can vary depending on the location, mineral composition, and geological conditions of the deposit

how is jade formed?

The formation of jade can be divided into four stages, as follows:

Stage One: Abundant carbonate sedimentation in shallow marine zones leads to the formation of limestone.

Stage Two: Geological processes, such as tectonic movement, transform the limestone into white marble.

Stage Three: The white marble undergoes changes due to intrusion by magma.

Stage Four: Further geological reactions under specific conditions result in the formation of jade.

The natural formation of jade involves various processes, including magmatic activity (intrusion, volcanic eruptions, and hydrothermal activity), sedimentary processes (accumulation of biological remains, clastic sedimentation, chemical precipitation, surface leaching), metamorphism (regional metamorphism, contact metamorphism, hydrothermal alteration), and tectonic activity (rock fracturing under tectonic stress). Some types of jade also result from celestial impacts, such as impact glasses from meteorite collisions.

Different types of jade are formed under varying geological pressures, environmental conditions, and water content. Some jade continues to undergo changes due to geological activity deep underground, while others are exposed to surface weathering and erosion by water. The unique environmental conditions contribute to differences in density, color, impurities, and other characteristics among different types of jade.

It’s important to note that ordinary river stones generally do not contain jade. Jade formation requires highly specific and complex conditions. Most jade originates from high-temperature molten magma deep within the Earth, which cools and solidifies into hard rock. During this process, only certain elements slowly crystallize into the tough material that becomes jade or gemstones. As a result, ordinary river stones do not typically contain jade.

what color is Chinese jade?

In traditional Chinese culture, jade holds profound cultural significance, and ancient people classified jade colors into five categories based on the Five Elements: blue/green (青), white (白), red (赤), black (黑), and yellow (黄). Each direction is associated with a specific color: blue/green represents the East, red represents the South, white represents the West, black represents the North, and yellow represents the Center. Among these, the commonly seen jade colors are blue/green and white.

Bright Green: Pure, intense green without black tones.

Blue-Green: Green with a hint of blue, sometimes referred to as green with a touch of blue from a gemological perspective. This color combination gives a calm and mysterious feeling, evoking a sense of depth.

Emerald Green: Vivid green, as if suspended in glass, resembling shimmering green water. It is lighter and brighter than the “Bright Green,” representing the standard green.

Sunny Green: Lively green with a slight touch of yellow, radiating a vibrant sense of life due to the presence of yellow.

Pale Green: Light green, less vibrant than sunny green.

Muddy Green: A deeper shade of green, slightly turbid in appearance.

Dark Green: Intense color but with a darker tone, lacking the vibrancy of sunny green yet maintaining a green hue.

Black-Green: Deep green with a hint of black.

Blue: Color leaning towards blue, with a slight touch of green, referred to as blue with a touch of green in gemology.

Gray: Neither blue, green, nor black, featuring a grayish tone.

Yellow: Mostly originates from the inner layer of the jade. Yellow hues are often associated with the part of the jade above the rind (皮).

Purple: Opposite to Fei Hong (翡红); Fei Hong comes from fog while purple mostly appears within the jade meat (玉肉). Purple can be categorized as pale purple, purple, vivid purple, and blue-purple.

White: The most common color in hard jade. When it originates above the chemical zone (化地), it appears colorless; below the bean zone (豆地), it shows as white.

Fei Hong: Mostly found in the inner layer, appearing like threads or patches. The red color in cracks is due to the intrusion of iron elements.

Black: Pure black color without green tones, resembling ink.

Tricolor: If there are two colors on a white base, it’s called “Fu Lu Shou” (福禄寿). If there are three colors, it’s called “Fu Lu Shou Xi” (福禄寿喜).

why do Chinese like jade?

Reasons for the Chinese affinity for jade:

Jade serves as a reference for virtuous conduct of a gentleman, embodies the essence of Chinese ceremonial culture, and manifests the principles of Confucian philosophy.

Jade culture is an inheritance of China’s 5000-year civilization, carrying profound cultural significance.

Jade symbolizes auspiciousness and beauty, serving as a paramount adornment of antiquity, representing the noble moral character of modesty and gentleness.

The pure and gentle texture of jade itself is captivating, making it comfortable and aesthetically pleasing to wear close to the body. Additionally, some people cultivate jade, making it both a wearable item and a collectible with intrinsic value.

what is jade worth?

The price of jade varies depending on its quality. Generally, the price of jade can range from tens of yuan to several thousand yuan, or even tens of thousands of yuan. Lower quality jade may be priced between tens to a few hundred yuan, while higher quality jade can reach several thousand yuan or even tens of thousands of yuan. Moreover, ancient jade and rare jade can be extremely expensive, reaching hundreds of thousands or even millions of yuan. In conclusion, the pricing of jade is highly complex and requires evaluation based on specific circumstances.

history of jade in China

The culture of jade in China has a long and illustrious history spanning over 7,000 years. Around 7,000 years ago, during the Hemudu culture in southern China, ancestors consciously crafted decorative items from beautiful stones they collected, adorning themselves and enhancing their lives, marking the beginning of Chinese jade culture.

During the late Neolithic period around four to five thousand years ago, remarkable jade artifacts were unearthed from cultures such as the Liangzhu culture in the Taihu Lake region and the Hongshan culture in the Liao River region. Liangzhu culture featured a diverse range of jade artifacts, including bi disks, jade cong tubes, yue axes, tridacna-shaped jades, and strings of jade ornaments. The decoration technique of shallow relief carving flourished in Liangzhu culture, with exceptional linear engraving craftsmanship that remains unparalleled. Among the most representative creations are the carvings of jade cong tubes and figurines with animal faces and feather patterns.

Divine Artifact Period [Prehistoric Times]

During the late Neolithic period, numerous jade cong tubes were unearthed. In this era, jade objects were imbued with a divine role as a means of communication between heaven and earth. It served as a tool for connecting with celestial deities and was employed in significant ritual ceremonies, making it an era of jade artifacts as divine objects.

From the Liangzhu and Hongshan cultures, ancient jade artifacts were often discovered in medium to large-sized tombs. Aside from purposes such as offerings to gods and burial practices, jade items were also used for protection against evil spirits and symbolized concepts of power, wealth, and social status. Chinese jade artifacts, from the very beginning, carried an air of mystique.

Representative artifacts from the Liangzhu culture include bi disks, jade cong tubes, yue axes, tridacna-shaped jades, and strings of jade ornaments. The Liangzhu jade artifacts excelled in shallow relief decoration techniques, particularly in linear engraving craftsmanship that was almost unparalleled in subsequent eras. Carvings of jade cong tubes and figurines with animal faces and feather patterns best showcase the exceptional jade carving skills of the Liangzhu culture.

Imperial Authority Period [Spring and Autumn to Pre-Qin Dynasty]

During the Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods, jade was regarded as a symbol of rulers’ authority. One of the most famous instances is the “He Shi Bi” jade, for which Emperor Qin Shi Huang was willing to exchange fifteen cities. He even used this He Shi Bi jade to forge his imperial seal. Possession of the “Chuan Guo Zhi Ying” jade seal, a symbol of the authority to pass down the nation, signaled the impending reign of a ruler.

The influx of Hetian jade into the central plains led to its widespread use by royalty and nobility. Scholars of the time combined Confucian teachings with Hetian jade, using the precious stone to embody Confucian ideology. To cater to the rulers’ affection for Hetian jade, traditional Confucian virtues such as benevolence, wisdom, righteousness, propriety, music, loyalty, trust, and notions of heaven, earth, and morality were associated with various physical and chemical properties of Hetian jade. This led to the concept of “Compared to virtues, a gentleman resembles jade.” The “Five Virtues of Jade,” “Nine Virtues of Jade,” and “Eleven Virtues of Jade” theories emerged as a result. These theories have become the enduring theoretical foundation of China’s jade carving art, serving as the spiritual pillar behind the Chinese people’s 7,000-year love for jade.

Burial Period [Qin and Han Dynasties]

During the Han Dynasty, gold-threaded jade garments were unearthed from tombs, marking a unique period in jade craftsmanship often referred to as the “Bright Jade Era.” During this time, various jade garments and cicadas were used in burials.

Jade artifacts of the Han Dynasty can be classified into four categories: ritual jade, burial jade, decorative jade, and display jade. The Han Kingdom of Nanyue, located in present-day southern China, produced a plethora of ornamental jades. Among them, the dragon and tiger combined form jade belt hook and the intricately carved jade belt buckle with dragon and phoenix motifs are exquisite examples, akin to rare treasures. During the Eastern Han period, linear engraving patterns made a resurgence, accompanied by enhanced artistic tastes.

Symbol of Status Period [Sui and Tang Dynasties]

The jade belt became a symbol of authority for officials of the third rank or higher during the Tang Dynasty. This period is also known as the “Official Jade Era,” characterized by the use of jade belts primarily by high-ranking officials. Although the quantity of jade artifacts from the Tang Dynasty is limited, each piece is a precious treasure, showcasing exquisite jade engraving techniques. Artisans of the Tang Dynasty drew artistic inspiration from painting, sculpture, and art from the Western regions, creating jade works imbued with Tang-style artistry. The eight-petal floral jade cup and the agate cup with animal head are accurate reflections of Tang jade carving art, serving as tangible witnesses of cultural exchanges between the East and the West. Notably, the gold-inlaid white jade cup excavated from the tomb of Li Jingxun is exquisitely crafted, featuring a smooth texture and gentle luster that elegantly complement each other.

Song and Yuan Period [960-1234 AD]

The Song Dynasty marked an important period in Chinese cultural history, characterized by close interactions between the Song, Liao, and Jin dynasties involving both conflict and trade. This led to the flourishing of jade craftsmanship during this era.

Emperor Huizong of the Song Dynasty had a passion for jade, and the rise of calligraphy and stone inscription studies, along with the development of detailed brushwork painting, flourishing urban economies, realism, and secularization tendencies, all directly or indirectly contributed to the unprecedented advancement of jade craftsmanship across the Song, Liao, and Jin dynasties. Practical and decorative jades played a crucial role, with an increased emphasis on aesthetics and ornamentation. Jade artifacts became closely intertwined with daily life. Notable examples include the jade lotus leaf cup from the Southern Song period and the flower-shaped openwork-carved jade pendant from the Northern Song period. The “Spring Water Jade” and “Autumn Mountain Jade” from the Jurchen culture further exemplify the exquisite artistry of this era.

During the Yuan Dynasty, jade craftsmanship continued the artistic style of the Song and Jin periods, employing innovative techniques. A prominent artifact from this period is the Dushan jade belt hook, which exemplifies the mastery of sculpting in harmony with the form.

Ming and Qing Period [Jade Collection Era]

The Ming and Qing dynasties represent the pinnacle of jade craftsmanship in China. The exceptional beauty of jade, meticulous carving skills, diversity of forms, profusion of works, and extensive usage during this period were unprecedented. Jade became an obsession of the imperial courts, and Emperor Qianlong’s enthusiastic endorsement further promoted jade appreciation. He even had the largest jade carving in the Qing Palace, the Dayu Zhisui Jade Mountain, crafted during his reign. This period saw the emperor’s efforts to justify his deep love for jade, searching for theoretical foundations.

Jade artifacts from the Ming and Qing dynasties included imperial pieces such as the jade seal of the Ming Dynasty and the chrysanthemum-shaped jade dish of the Qing Dynasty, both emblematic of royal usage. During this time, jade markets thrived among the general populace, with Zhuanzhu Lane in Suzhou becoming a hub for jade carving during the Ming Dynasty. A wide range of jade artifacts flourished during the Ming and Qing dynasties, including tea and wine utensils, and imitation antique jades were also popular.

During the Qianlong Emperor’s reign in the Qing Dynasty, a fervor for collecting and appreciating jade swept the nation. The entire populace embraced jade, which came to be known as the Jade Collection Era.

Modern Era [1980s Onwards]

Beginning in the early 1980s, jade entered the economic market and became an integral part of people’s lives. Anyone could engage in jade processing and collection. Increasing numbers of people began wearing jade, and various jade adornments became available in the market. After thousands of years of development, jade entered the modern era.

In China’s ancient treasury of art, spanning 7,000 enduring years from the Neolithic era, one constant presence is jade. It is the most intimately connected artifact with people’s lives, embodying a special role and fulfilling functions that other forms of decorative arts cannot replace. Throughout its history, jade has acquired political, religious, moral, and cultural significance, leaving behind an enigmatic allure that remains shrouded in mystery.

Ancient Chinese jade-timeline of chinese jade

The origin of ancient Chinese jade artifacts can be traced back to the Neolithic period, and their development continued until the Qing Dynasty.

I. Origin of Ancient Chinese Jade Artifacts

As early as 8,000 years ago in the prehistoric era, the ancestors of the ChaHai Culture had already produced jade ornaments, which are acclaimed as the oldest jade artifacts.


II. Periodization of Ancient Chinese Jade Artifacts

Ancient Chinese jade artifacts can be roughly divided into six historical periods: the Neolithic Period, Shang-Zhou Spring and Autumn Period, Warring States-Han Period, Wei-Jin Southern and Northern Dynasties Period, Sui-Tang-Song-Liao-Jin Period, and Yuan-Ming-Qing Period.

Neolithic Period

During the Neolithic Period, jade artifacts were widely distributed, such as Lingjiatan Jade Artifacts in Anhui, Shijiahe Culture Jade Artifacts in Hubei, Dawenkou Jade Artifacts in Shandong, Hongshan Culture Jade Artifacts from the Liao River region, and Liangzhu Culture Jade Artifacts in the lower Yangtze River area.

Among them, Hongshan Culture jade artifacts were often used for decoration and religious purposes. Animal-shaped jade artifacts were common, with the notable “C”-shaped dragon believed to be a precursor to the jade dragons of the Shang and Zhou dynasties.

In the Liangzhu Culture, people had already mastered how to distinguish genuine jade. Most jade artifacts were ceremonial objects used in rituals, such as jade bi discs, jade cong tubes, jade yue axes, crown-shaped ornaments, trident-shaped implements, and awls. These mysterious jade artifacts were more or less directly linked to contemporary religious practices and can be considered divine instruments used by the ancient Liangzhu people to communicate with the heavens.

What is most astonishing is that Liangzhu jade artifacts underwent meticulous polishing, resulting in a highly luminous surface. The craftsmanship was exquisite, with even the fine details of engravings visible under magnification. The eyes of animals, for example, were drilled through pipes, making it difficult to imagine how the ancient Liangzhu people achieved such skill under primitive conditions.

The advanced jade culture described above can be viewed as a favorable starting point for the Chinese people’s reverence for jade.

Shang-Zhou Spring and Autumn Period

Among Shang dynasty jade artifacts, the most expressive are those found in the Fu Hao Tomb at Yin Xu. Many jade artifacts from this tomb were crafted from Hetian jade. Various jade figures and jade animals were finely carved, with even facial expressions, clothing, and hairstyles vividly portrayed.

Simultaneously, the unique jade artifacts unearthed from the Sanxingdui Culture of ancient Shu and the Jinsha Site exhibited distinctive characteristics. Some jade artifacts even pushed the boundaries of current knowledge, creating an air of mystery.

During the Western Zhou period, the most exquisite jade artifacts were unearthed from the Guo State Cemetery in Sanmenxia, Henan. Numerous jade artifacts featuring incised dragon, bird, beast face, cloud, serpent, and geometric designs showcased a primitive yet elegant style.

Jade artifacts from the early Spring and Autumn period shared similarities with those from the late Western Zhou period. The later period’s jade artifacts became even more refined, with an increasing prevalence of shallow relief decorations.

Warring States-Han Period

During the Warring States-Han Period, the advancement of iron tools elevated jade carving to new heights. Hetian jade became the primary material for jade artifacts. Exquisite jade artifacts, unparalleled in craftsmanship, were unearthed from the Zeng Hou Yi Tomb of the Warring States period, a truly rare find.

Jade artifacts from the Zhongshan King’s Tomb of the Han dynasty challenged conventional understanding. This was due to the strong superstition of the Han people, who believed that jade artifacts could preserve bodies from decay, leading to a significant increase in the number of jade artifacts accompanying burials.

Wei-Jin Southern and Northern Dynasties Period

During the Wei-Jin Southern and Northern Dynasties Period, turmoil and invasions caused extensive societal and economic damage. People focused on embracing Buddhism in the hopes of seeking protection and tranquility amid the chaos. As a result, a proliferation of stone grottoes containing large Buddha statues emerged, adversely impacting the jade carving industry.

Relatively few jade artifacts were unearthed during this period, with many serving as ornaments. Only a small number of these jade artifacts were considered exquisite masterpieces.

Sui-Tang-Song-Liao-Jin Period

During the Sui, Tang, Song, Liao, and Jin dynasties, as the nation unified and the economy prospered, jade carving flourished. The Tang dynasty produced almost exclusively exquisite jade artifacts. Sui-Tang jade artifacts exuded a sense of grandeur, encompassing practical daily items, decorative pieces, and even imitations of ancient ceremonial vessels. Additionally, jade artifacts with Buddhist themes like the “Jade Flying Heaven” gained immense popularity.

Jade artifacts of the Song dynasty were influenced by contemporary painting and calligraphy, reflecting a trend towards realism. The artifacts were infused with a strong sense of daily life. Notably, the depiction of jade-carved children during the Song dynasty exhibited a distinctive and unique style.

During the Liao and Jin dynasties, while assimilating Han cultural influences, the distinct characteristics of the Qiu Mountain and Chunshui jade artifacts represented exotic cultural traits, exuding a strong ethnic flavor.

Yuan-Ming-Qing Period

The Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties marked the zenith of ancient Chinese jade artifacts. Among them, the “Dushan Jade Sea” of the Yuan dynasty stood as an emblematic representation.

Jade artifacts from the Ming and Qing periods were unparalleled in the history of jade development, with an array of exquisite works emerging. Carved with extraordinary craftsmanship, jade artifacts such as miniature landscapes, flower vases, bowls, and ornamental pendants became masterpieces of their era, showcasing the pinnacle of their time.

where was jade first discovered?

In the archaeological sites of Hemudu Culture, Dawenkou Culture, Liangzhu Culture, Hongshan Culture, and Longshan Culture, exquisite jade artifacts have been unearthed. By the late Neolithic period, a significant development of Chinese jade craftsmanship emerged, spanning from the northern Liaoning River basin to the southern coastal areas of Guangdong, forming the first peak of jade production. Among them, the Hongshan Culture, dating back approximately 5,500 to 5,000 years ago, and the contemporaneous Liangzhu Culture, exhibited the most advanced jade craftsmanship. Whether it’s the Red Mountain Culture’s bold simplicity and lifelike representations, or the Liangzhu Culture’s exquisite precision and profound intricacy, both exemplify the highest achievements in prehistoric Chinese jade craftsmanship.

when was jade first discovered?

The discovery and use of jade date back to ancient times. Jade has been used for various purposes, including tools, ornaments, and ceremonial objects, for thousands of years. The exact timeline of when jade was first discovered is not definitively known, but evidence suggests that it was used by early human civilizations during the Neolithic period.

In various parts of the world, including East Asia, Mesoamerica, and New Zealand, ancient cultures independently discovered and began using jade due to its hardness, durability, and cultural significance. The use of jade artifacts has been found in archaeological sites dating back several thousand years, indicating its early presence in human history.

For example, in China, as mentioned in the previous text, the ChaHai Culture’s ancestors produced jade ornaments around 8,000 years ago during the prehistoric era. In other regions, such as Mesoamerica, ancient civilizations like the Olmecs and Maya used jade for carving intricate sculptures, jewelry, and religious artifacts.

Overall, while the exact moment of jade’s first discovery remains shrouded in the mists of ancient history, its use and significance have been deeply ingrained in human cultures for millennia.

who discovered jade?

The earliest discovery of jade is difficult to ascertain. In the past, the academic community could only speculate based on relatively later records, leading to uncertain conclusions, generally tracing back to the late primitive society.

The “Bamboo Annals,” Volume 2, “Emperor Shun’s Ninth Year of the Yu Clan,” records: “The Queen Mother of the West came to court, presenting white rings and jade pendants.” Xu Wenjing of the Qing Dynasty noted, “According to the Ruiying Chart: ‘During the time of the Yellow Emperor, the Queen Mother of the West presented jade and silk from ten thousand nations.'” The “Zhunanzhi” also contains a record. The existence of ten thousand nations during the time of Emperor Yu in the Xia Dynasty is still worthy of study, and those countries at the time were nothing more than small castles, with a scale not as large as the later empires.

what was jade used for in ancient China?

In ancient times, jade had various uses in China:

Ceremonial Use of Jade: Refers to the use of jade artifacts in ritualistic contexts such as ceremonies, court assemblies, and engagements. These jade objects, known as “liqi” or “liyu” in short, have been a dominant category of Chinese jade artifacts. Starting from the late Neolithic period, many jade items like “cong,” “huang,” and “bi” were used as ceremonial instruments. For instance, “cang bi” was used to honor the heavens, “huang cong” for the earth, “qing gui” for the east, “chi zhang” for the south, “bai hu” for the west, and “xuan huang” for the north. These, collectively known as the “Six Ritual Jade Implements,” held significant cultural significance.

Weapons and Talismanic Jade: Jade weapons and talismans were relatively scarce and were primarily used before the Han Dynasty.

Decorative Use of Jade: This refers to jade ornaments worn on various parts of the body, such as the head, neck, chest, and arms, to enhance aesthetic appeal. Due to its inherent beauty, jade was widely used by elite individuals as hairpins, necklaces, waist ornaments, and bracelets, reflecting both fashion trends and social status.

Everyday Use of Jade: As society developed, the distinct ceremonial and funerary functions of jade gradually waned, and its practicality increased in daily life, leading to its role as practical utensils or “life-use jade.” In the Qing Dynasty, finely carved jade items like chopsticks, bowls, vases, tea sets, and incense burners continued to be used and cherished, boasting exquisite craftsmanship, durability, and aesthetic appeal.

Adornment and Display: Jade sculptures and carvings used for aesthetic appreciation and indoor decoration. This was one of the earliest functions of jade artifacts and remains one of the most widespread uses. In ancient times, these objects not only served as decorative pieces but also represented status and cultural values. During the Spring and Autumn period, the practice of gentlemen wearing jade and young women wearing jade accessories became prevalent, often exchanged as tokens of affection.

Religious and Ritualistic Use: Ancient people believed that jade possessed spiritual powers, leading to its use in religious rituals. This practice is especially evident in the Shang and Zhou Dynasties.

Burial Artifacts: Many ancient Chinese tombs contain unearthed jade artifacts. In antiquity, people believed that jade held special powers, and therefore, jade objects were buried alongside the deceased to protect their remains.

Symbol of Political Rank: Jade objects were used as symbols of political rank and hierarchy. The “Six Auspicious Symbols” prescribed specific types of jade objects to be carried by individuals of different ranks, distinguishing their status within society.

Moral and Ethical Significance: Jade culture has been imbued with moral values since its inception, symbolizing noble virtues and ethical conduct. The ethical teachings of Confucianism, including benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and trust, align well with the symbolism of jade.

Religious Implements: In Chinese Daoism, jade was used as ritual implements. With the introduction of Buddhism to China, the carving of jade Buddha statues gained popularity, particularly during the Tang and Song Dynasties. Today, some renowned temples in Beijing and Sichuan still house jade Buddha statues brought from Myanmar during the Qing Dynasty, treasured as sacred artifacts.

jade in Chinese medicine

In ancient times, Li Shizhen’s “Compendium of Materia Medica” recorded that jade had various beneficial effects on the five internal organs and the spirit. Moreover, jade played a significant role in various aspects of ancient life.

Poison Detection: Travelers along the ancient Tea-Horse Road, a vital route for trade, economy, and culture, often carried jade utensils such as jade bowls and jade teapots to guard against poisoning and theft. They would use these jade vessels to verify the safety of water sources before consuming them or cooking, ensuring their survival and safety against potential dangers.

Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Jade was worn as earrings by ancient women for adornment, and the practice of ear piercing was common. While ear piercing could lead to inflammation, wearing jade earrings facilitated quick healing of the wounds. This suggests that jade possesses anti-inflammatory properties and accelerates wound healing.

Antibacterial Effects: Ancient Chinese saying goes, “Adorned with white jade, health and wealth will always follow.” Jade was believed to have antibacterial properties that contributed to overall health and well-being. Scientifically, jade is known to possess antibacterial properties, effectively targeting harmful microorganisms and providing therapeutic benefits for various infections, both internally and externally.

Preservation and Freshness: In ancient times, people used jade containers to store food and fruits. Some ethnic minorities in modern China continue this practice. Beyond its role as a symbol of hospitality and social status, jade’s preservation and freshness capabilities made it a practical choice for food storage.

Humidity Control: Before the invention of stainless steel needles, ancient Chinese acupuncture practitioners used jade needles for acupuncture therapy. People in damp climates appreciated jade’s ability to dispel dampness and humidity, making it a popular choice for adornment.

Water Purification: Ancient people believed that jade had the power to purify water quality. Jade cups were used for drinking, and their ability to harmonize with alcohol made the drinking experience more aromatic and flavorful. An experiment demonstrated that after a month of storage, water in a jade container remained clear, while water in an iron container became cloudy, showcasing jade’s purifying effect.

Jade’s multifaceted functions in ancient times encompassed poison detection, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, preservation and freshness, humidity control, and water purification, showcasing its versatility and cultural significance.

jade in Feng Shui

Jade is regarded as one of the treasures in Chinese culture, often referred to as the “King of Stones.” Throughout history, jade has been highly valued and believed to possess special powers. In traditional Chinese culture, jade symbolizes not only beauty but also wealth and happiness. In the practice of Feng Shui, the importance of jade cannot be ignored, as it is considered a powerful gemstone with healing properties that can bring unlimited luck and opportunities. In this article, we will explore the Feng Shui aspects of jade and introduce some related Feng Shui do’s and don’ts to help you enhance your luck using jade.

I. Types of Jade

In Feng Shui, the types and colors of jade are crucial, as different types of jade have distinct effects and benefits. Generally, jade can be categorized into two main types: Precious Jade (related to Eight Characters Destiny) and Temple Jade. Precious Jade refers to jade with radiant luster, delicate touch, firm texture, and bright color, including Hetian Jade, Jadeite, Yellow Jade, White Jade, and Green Jade, among others. Temple Jade, also known as Sealed Jade or Mysterious Jade, is jade with some impurities or flaws on the surface and is often associated with Buddhist or Taoist practices.

Different types of jade are associated with specific Feng Shui principles. For example, Hetian Jade is considered one of the most auspicious and valuable types, symbolizing harmony, beauty, and happiness due to its gentle color and delicate texture. Jadeite is highly sought after, with its fresh color and high transparency believed to regulate the body’s life energy and bring positive fortune and improved relationships. Yellow Jade is thought to bring good luck, wealth, and health, symbolizing status, prosperity, and power. White Jade represents noble purity, while Green Jade is used to ward off negative energies and resolve disasters.

II. Feng Shui Placement of Jade

In Feng Shui, the placement of jade is also crucial. The placement of jade should align with one’s living environment, life situation, and needs. Here are some Feng Shui do’s and don’ts related to jade placement.

2.1 Feng Shui Do’s

In the Eastern Xuan Kong Feng Shui tradition, it is recommended to place a handcrafted piece of Hetian Jade weighing between 45-60 grams at the head of the bed. This is believed to ensure peaceful and pleasant sleep for family members.

In a Yang Dwelling (residence), placing jade in the living room or dining area can enhance the atmosphere and purify the air. Jade’s color can also create a cheerful mood for guests, fostering positive interactions and enthusiasm during gatherings or banquets.

2.2 Feng Shui Don’ts

Certain Feng Shui taboos also apply to the placement of jade. First, avoid placing any items, including jade, directly under the bed or at the four corners of the bed, as this may impact sleep quality and overall health.

Second, avoid placing jade in the kitchen. The kitchen is a place of heat and steam, and the lime content in jade may evaporate under such conditions, leading to dehydration and deterioration of the jade’s texture over time. Moreover, the accumulated steam and moisture can directly affect the quality of the jade.

III. Feng Shui Uses of Jade

In Feng Shui practice, jade can also be utilized to improve luck and enhance energy. Here are some Feng Shui uses of jade:

3.1 Jade Jewelry

Jade jewelry is one of the most common and popular uses of jade. Wearing jade jewelry can elevate one’s aura, promote well-being, and boost confidence and charm.

The color of jade jewelry is also significant. For instance, red jade jewelry is believed to bring energy, nourishment, and health, while yellow jade jewelry is associated with wealth and good fortune.

3.2 Jade Buddha and Jade Vases

In Feng Shui, Jade Buddha figurines are commonly placed for their calming and harmonizing energies, promoting peace and well-being for family members. Jade vases are also popular Feng Shui items, known for their cooling and purifying properties. They are believed to eliminate internal instability, contributing to a harmonious and happy home environment.

3.3 Jade Sculptures and Jade Pens

Jade sculptures and pens are noteworthy areas of study in Feng Shui. These exquisite artworks require meticulous craftsmanship and precision. Such sculptures and pens are believed to bring various forms of luck, wealth, and happiness.

In conclusion, jade holds a significant place in traditional Chinese culture, representing treasures, wealth, respect, and elegance. In Feng Shui practice, jade possesses substantial value and influence, capable of bringing diverse forms of luck and opportunities. Thus, it is important to use and place jade items correctly to maximize their effectiveness.

jade in Taoism

Taoism, originating in China, is a profound indigenous religion. In Taoism, the use of jade is widely prevalent. Within the Taoist pantheon, many deities are named after jade, such as the supreme ruler of the celestial realm known as the Jade Emperor, and celestial attendants referred to as Jade Maidens or Jade Lords. The abodes of these deities are called “Jade Platforms,” “Jade Palaces,” and “Jade Halls.” The entire celestial realm is a world of jade.

Kunlun Mountain, also known as Kunlun Hill or Kunlun Realm, holds significance in Taoism. In the book “Shui Jing Zhu,” it is described as a place with a vast expanse, spanning eight hundred miles in width and towering ten thousand feet in height. There are wood and grain on its summit, with trees measuring five zhang in length and five zhang in girth. The mountain features nine wells with jade rims and nine gates guarded by mythical creatures, serving as abodes for myriad deities. This celestial realm is a world of jade, with jade wells and gates crafted from this precious stone. The mountain is adorned with various types of jade trees, considered nourishment for the immortals.

Legend has it that Kunlun Mountain is where the Queen Mother of the West hosts gatherings for the gods and where Jiang Ziya cultivated his Taoist practices. Within the region of Kunlun Mountain in Qinghai Province lies the Yuxu Peak, a snow-capped pinnacle towering at an elevation of 5980 meters. It is said that the Jade Pure Goddess, sister of the Jade Emperor, resided there, giving the peak its name. Yuxu Peak is also the main site for the Kunlun School of Taoism.

Taoism venerates jade, a practice that may be linked to the ancient custom of using jade in offerings to the heavens, earth, and deities. An anecdote from the “Shang Shu” chronicles how King Wu of Zhou, after conquering the Shang Dynasty, fell gravely ill in the second year. Traditional treatments were ineffective, and his ministers were deeply concerned. Zhou Gong (Duke of Zhou) conceived a plan to build a stone altar, communicate with ancestors, and implore them to grant King Wu longevity. He promised to present the ancestral spirits with jade and bi disks in return for their assistance. This story illustrates how jade was considered a sacred offering in interactions between humans and spirits or ancestors.

The association between jade and Taoist culture is closely tied to Qiu Chuji, a renowned Taoist master and the founder of the Dragon Gate sect. Qiu Chuji, also known as Changchun Zi, lived during the late Song and early Yuan dynasties and was one of the “Seven Perfected” of the Complete Reality School of Taoism. The Mongol leader Genghis Khan, hearing of Qiu Chuji’s reputed longevity techniques, invited him for a meeting. Despite his advanced age, Qiu Chuji embarked on a journey of thousands of miles with eighteen disciples to meet Genghis Khan on the snowy heights of the Pamirs (modern-day Pamir Mountains). Genghis Khan was impressed by Qiu Chuji’s profound wisdom and held him in high esteem, granting him the title of “Divine Immortal.” Subsequently, Genghis Khan invited Qiu Chuji to oversee Taoism throughout the realm. Qiu Chuji passed away in 1227 in the Longevity Palace (now Baiyun Temple) in Beijing. Legend holds that Qiu Chuji was skilled in jade carving and imparted jade-carving techniques to the local populace during his time overseeing the Longevity Palace. This has led to Qiu Chuji being revered as the patron of the Beijing jade industry. Even into the 1940s, on Qiu Chuji’s birthday, the entire Beijing jade industry would close for the day to pay homage at Baiyun Temple, showcasing the enduring tradition.

Taoism, as an indigenous religion of China, bears distinct national characteristics and is deeply influenced by traditional Chinese culture. The Taoist reverence for jade stems from the ancient Chinese reverence and belief in the mystical qualities of this precious stone.

Firstly, traditional Chinese culture holds that jade is the quintessence of nature, possessing spirituality and vitality. It is believed to have a lifelike quality, capable of growth, and endowed with various supernatural attributes. For instance, in Gan Bao’s “Sou Shen Ji” from the Eastern Jin Dynasty, there is an account of a jade tree growing on Mount Zhongnan, which eventually yielded white jade. The notion of jade possessing a form of life and growth is evident in such tales. Taoist thought, with its inclination toward the mystical, readily absorbed these stories and associated myths, thus incorporating jade’s enigmatic attributes into its doctrine. This affinity contributed to Taoism’s special regard for jade.

Secondly, traditional Chinese culture holds that jade possesses spiritual communication and the potential for transcendence. In Han Guo Xian’s “Han Wu Dong Ming Ji,” there is a record of a white swallow emerging from a piece of jade given to Emperor Wu of Han by a divine woman, symbolizing an auspicious sign. During the Wei and Jin Dynasties, the concept of consuming jade as a means of attaining longevity grew prominent. Taoist figures such as Tao Hongjing proclaimed that not only could jade itself transcend, but it could also assist in human transcendence. This idea culminated in various practices, with Taoists incorporating jade fragments into elixirs and potions. The idea that jade could enable spiritual ascent became deeply rooted in Taoist belief.

Furthermore, traditional Chinese culture views jade as a manifestation of yang energy, with its consumption believed to bestow longevity and vitality. The saying “Wearing gold brings longevity like gold, wearing jade brings longevity like jade” reflects this notion. Jade is also considered suitable for burial as it is believed to preserve the soul and prevent the body from decaying, facilitating the transformation of yin and yang. Ancient Chinese texts, such as Qu Yuan’s poem “She Jiang,” make reference to consuming jade for longevity. From the Qin and Han dynasties onward, alchemists used powdered jade as a key ingredient in elixirs to promote longevity. The story of Emperor Wu of Han seeking longevity by ingesting a mixture containing jade dust is a well-known example.

After the Wei and Jin dynasties, the practice of consuming jade gained prominence, with various methods and formulas evolving over time. Taoist texts, such as the “Bao Pu Zi,” outlined methods of preparing jade elixirs. The process included grinding jade into a fine powder, mixing it with different liquids, and forming it into pills. The recommended frequency of consumption and the practice of maintaining certain behaviors after taking jade pills were also detailed.

The consumption of jade reached substantial levels during this period, with some individuals reportedly ingesting hundreds of jin (a traditional Chinese unit of weight) of jade powder. The increased consumption likely contributed to the scarcity of unearthed or preserved jade artifacts from this historical period.

Ancient China has a long-standing tradition of burying individuals with jade objects, and numerous jade artifacts have been discovered in archaeological excavations spanning different dynasties. Tao Hongjing’s “Ming Yi Bie Lu” mentions that ancient tombs often contained gold and jade, and during the Western Han Dynasty, rulers and nobles were buried with jade garments to ensure immortality. After the Wei and Jin dynasties, the practice of placing jade bi disks in the nine orifices of the deceased became customary to prevent the escape of vital essence, ensuring the preservation of the body and the soul’s unity. Jade amulets in the shape of cicadas, as well as pig-shaped jade objects, were frequently found in tombs from this period. The cicada symbolized transformation and rebirth, while the pig represented prosperity. The act of consuming jade during one’s lifetime was seen as a means to attain immortality, while the practice of burying jade with the deceased aimed to ensure the continuation of life force after death.

Lastly, traditional Chinese culture holds that jade brings auspicious signs and can ward off evil, serving as a protective talisman. This belief has ancient origins, as evidenced by jade artifacts from the Liangzhu culture and the Hongshan culture of the Neolithic Age. Objects like the Wang Jade (王琮) and the Yu Gui (玉圭) from the Shang and Zhou dynasties also held protective symbolism. In later periods, Taoists utilized jade gui disks with Taoist motifs, adapting traditional gui and cong jade objects for Taoist rituals. The “Zhou Li” records that the “Yan Gui” (琰圭), characterized by its sharp-angled tip, wards off malevolent influences. Taoists harnessed the properties of the yan gui and adapted its design for Taoist purposes. The use of specific jade artifacts, such as the Gang Mao and Yan Mao amulets, as well as protective symbols like the Jade Bi Xie (玉辟邪) and Jade Tian Ma (玉天马), became prevalent during the Han and Wei periods, reflecting the emphasis on jade’s protective attributes.

For thousands of years, the notion that jade brings safety and security has become a shared belief among the Chinese populace. People wear jade ornaments to ward off malevolent forces and ensure well-being. The concept is vividly depicted in “Dream of the Red Chamber,” particularly through the character Jia Baoyu’s “spirit-nourishing jade.” From birth, Jia Baoyu carried a multicolored, sparkling piece of jade in his mouth, described as “as large as a sparrow’s egg, radiant as rosy clouds, smooth and creamy as butter, with variegated patterns spiraling around.” Curiously, the jade was inscribed on both sides, with the front bearing the words “Remember not to lose, forget not to keep; Immortality and prosperity are ever present,” and the reverse reading “Exorcise evil spirits, heal grievances; Understand misfortune and fortune.” This passage underscores the deep veneration of jade in Chinese culture and its association with seeking well-being, good fortune, health, and longevity. This jade piece became Jia Baoyu’s treasured possession, symbolizing his cherished connection to his grandmother and his role as the central figure of her affections. The supernatural qualities attributed to the jade’s inscription and its ability to counteract malevolent forces are illustrated when Jia Baoyu and his cousin Lin Daiyu fall critically ill due to a curse. Despite efforts to cure them, their condition deteriorates. Taoist priests and monks arrive, claiming that Jia Baoyu’s jade possesses the power to heal. After performing rituals and reciting incantations, they place the jade on a stand in Jia Baoyu’s room, warning that it must not be approached by anyone with impure intentions. After thirty-three days, Jia Baoyu and Lin Daiyu miraculously recover. This narrative illustrates jade’s role as a protective and healing talisman.

The traditions and beliefs surrounding jade in Taoism and Chinese culture have been deeply ingrained for centuries. The reverence for jade’s spiritual attributes, longevity-promoting qualities, protective functions, and auspicious symbolism remains an integral part of Chinese cultural heritage.

jade in Buddhism

Chinese people have always had a deep love for jade, which has been a symbol of status and social standing since ancient times. Particularly, the elite and influential individuals have held a special affinity for jade. In contemporary times, jade products have gained even more popularity among the general public, receiving increasing attention. This demonstrates the enduring and robust nature of jade culture’s development in China.

Speaking of Chinese culture, it’s impossible to ignore the role of religious culture. Buddhism entered China during the Wei, Jin, and Southern and Northern Dynasties, eventually becoming a significant cultural and spiritual belief system. Both jade culture and Buddhist culture have profoundly influenced China’s development and interacted with each other.

In ancient times, there was a concept of “veneration of jade.” Buddhism, as a dominant cultural force, was revered by rulers. The interaction between these two prominent cultures was inevitable and resulted in a fusion. This fusion began with the interaction between Buddhist culture and jade culture. The propagation of Buddhism required mediums of contact, including not only Buddhist teachings but also temples and sculptures. To emphasize their respect for this culture, jade was chosen as a material for carving, giving rise to “jade Buddhas.” Many religious figures were intricately carved from jade by skilled artisans, bringing them to life in vivid detail. Examples include jade Guanyin statues, flying Buddha figures, and jade celestial beings. Particularly during the Tang Dynasty, the carving of Buddha statues from jade became a significant artistic element. The fusion of Buddhist culture and jade culture started to unfold in these subtle ways, with a history that is ancient and enduring.

The convergence of cultures always gives rise to new creations. Jade bestows distinctive imagery upon Buddhist culture, while Buddhism lends jade an added layer of mystique. Buddhist culture incorporates jade in various ways, with representations of precious materials like agate and beautiful jade being seen as a reflection of jade’s essence. While different dynasties or texts might define and categorize these differently, the presence of jade is consistent. Buddhism exercises great care and caution in using jade, paying attention to material, form, and color. Notably, the famous Potala Palace utilizes high-quality white jade for its statues and vessels. Many objects adorned with jade can be seen within each temple, exemplifying how jade accentuates the significance of Buddhism. In turn, Buddhism adds new dimensions to the value of jade.

Many people enjoy wearing jade because they believe it provides a sense of security, protection, and warding off of negative forces. This sentiment coincides invisibly with the essence of Buddhism. Jade’s presence in Buddhism aids its propagation, regulating aspects like religious consciousness, places of worship, and objects. This process enriches the extension of Buddhism, rendering it more diverse and vibrant in form. Buddhist culture, in its interaction with jade culture, also offers resources for jade carving, enhancing its value to some extent. Jade culture, through its fusion with Buddhism, finds an easier path to development. In this way, the two cultures form an intertwined relationship of mutual assistance and growth.

China is a nation with a vast and profound culture. Within this expansive context, both jade culture and Buddhist culture have strong foundations. These seemingly unrelated cultural domains are distinct yet connected due to the inclusiveness and openness of culture. They have established connections in ancient times, where jade provides structured forms of expression for Buddhist culture, and Buddhism enriches the meaning and essence of jade. This combination is termed “jade Buddha,” representing the fusion of the most remarkable aspects of both, essentially being an innovation and transcendence. This fusion is also adeptly reflected in daily life – for example, men wearing representations of Guanyin and women adorning jade. This interconnectedness and mutual growth create a harmonious relationship.

jade in Confucianism

During the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period, there was turmoil in the social environment, with conflicts among the feudal lords and the Zhou Dynasty splitting into two. As the Western Zhou transitioned to the Eastern Zhou, a time of bloody transformation, the societal and cultural landscape underwent a process of integration and convergence due to the political upheaval. Amidst this backdrop, the Hundred Schools of Thought emerged, each forming their own cultural ideologies. In this atmosphere of scholarly discourse and competition, jade culture gradually evolved into a cornerstone of Confucianism, influencing the subsequent millennia.

Confucius once proposed the concept of the “Five Virtues of Jade”: benevolence, righteousness, wisdom, courage, and purity. Jade culture became one of the foundational elements of Confucianism, stemming from a conversation. One day, Confucius’ student sought his guidance, questioning why people valued jade but overlooked stones that resembled jade. Confucius offered an answer, explaining that people’s preference was not due to the scarcity of jade-like stones; rather, many stones as beautiful as jade were disregarded. This was not the root cause. The fundamental reason lay in the fact that jade embodied certain attributes bestowed upon it by the heavens, attributes perfectly aligned with the virtues of a true gentleman. This brief exchange was subsequently cited, interpreted, and elaborated upon by later generations of jade enthusiasts.

In this discourse about the relationship between jade and the virtues of a gentleman, the foundation of jade culture was established. At its core, this concept underscores how jade symbolizes the noble virtues of a gentleman. From then on, the trend of gentlemen wearing jade ornaments gained momentum. The virtues naturally embodied by precious jade became a shared understanding among future generations. Since Confucianism emphasizes the concept of “virtue,” jade was chosen as a medium to convey its political and ethical principles. Consequently, jade was attributed with many virtues and became personified and moralized. Confucius transformed the essence of jade culture during the Western Zhou period and laid the groundwork for a new development paradigm for jade culture in subsequent generations.

Confucius and his followers articulated the relationship between jade and the virtues of a gentleman in the following manner:

“They believed that jade, while warm to the touch, radiates a brilliant sheen, symbolizing its benevolence. Clear yet intricately patterned, this represents the wisdom of jade. Firm but unyielding, this signifies its righteousness. Pure within and without causing harm, this denotes the character of jade. With vibrant colors, distinct hues, and no impurities, jade embodies purity. Despite suffering harm, it remains unbroken, illustrating jade’s courage. Most significantly, a piece of jade unreservedly displays both its merits and flaws, which is its honesty. A jade artifact’s splendid colors complement its sheen, harmoniously coexisting without encroaching on one another—this is its tolerance. When struck, the sound emitted by jade is clear, crisp, and enduring, carrying purity without confusion—this reflects jade’s layered nature.”

“Benevolence, righteousness, wisdom, courage, and purity” are the virtues pursued by a true gentleman.

Natural jade, a divine gift, already encompasses these beautiful qualities, serving as the ultimate standard for gentlemen to compare and emulate. Thus, the phrase “a gentleman compares himself to jade” encapsulates this relationship. This leads to the conclusion that “a true gentleman must wear jade.” However, during Confucius’ time and even among contemporary thinkers, there were differing perspectives on jade. For instance, Han Feizi, known for his pragmatic approach, believed that a jade cup and a pottery cup were essentially no different, both merely tools. He even argued that a jade cup without a base was inferior to a pottery cup. Mozi, who opposed war and advocated frugality, questioned the value of jade artifacts like the He Shi Bi, wondering if such treasures were indeed rare in the world, yet incapable of governing a state or making a nation prosperous.

The profound influence of Confucius’ jade culture ideology is mainly attributed to Confucianism becoming the predominant cultural paradigm of previous feudal dynasties. Throughout history, Chinese people have deeply cherished jade, so the fusion of Confucianism and jade culture ensured the enduring vitality of jade culture.

Throughout the development and dissemination of jade culture, gentlemen represented their personal virtues through various jade adornments. Jade ornaments became symbols not only of social status but also of the moral character of gentlemen. Archaeological findings from the Zhou Dynasty reveal that most jade artifacts were jade ornaments. From small jade pendants measuring just a centimeter to elaborate “combination jade pendants” consisting of dozens of pieces, ancient predecessors reveled in the supreme honor of embodying the virtues of a gentleman, as endorsed by their revered jade culture.

The trend of gentlemen wearing jade flourished during the Western Zhou period, experienced a lull during the Warring States period, and regained prominence during the Sui and Tang Dynasties. This resurgence was largely influenced by Confucianism, although during this period, people emphasized a more secular fascination.

Even in today’s society, people continue to wear the warm and smooth Hetian jade, not as a symbol of status or rank, but as a simple vessel for their wishes. Perhaps nestled within this act is a nostalgic sentiment for the distant and ancient jade culture.

jade in five Virtues

Jade possesses the Five Virtues: benevolence, righteousness, wisdom, courage, and purity. Modern jade carving is divided into Southern and Northern styles. The Southern style, represented by Yangzhou, is known for its delicate and refined forms. The Northern style, represented by Beijing, is characterized by its bold and vigorous presence.

Jade Pig-Dragon from the Hongshan Culture

The beauty of jade is distinct from that of diamonds and colored gemstones. Diamond’s allure lies in its hardness, clarity, and brilliance, while colored gemstones captivate with their vivid and diverse hues. Jade’s beauty, on the other hand, is characterized by its delicacy, warmth, and subtle elegance. An alternative interpretation is “unadorned jade.” In the “Book of Han,” in the chapter on the Western Regions and the Kingdom of Khotan, it is mentioned: “To the east, water flows eastward, into the Salt Marsh, and the river rises there. Abundant in jade.” Note: Jade, in its natural state. Another interpretation is stone resembling jade.

China is rich in jade resources. Examples include white jade from Xinjiang, jadeite from Yunnan, agate and Xiuyan jade from the northeast, turquoise from Hubei, crystal from Taiwan and Hainan Island, nephrite from Henan, pink jade from Beijing, Changhua stone from Hangzhou, and Yuhua agate from Nanjing. These materials are renowned for creating exquisite jade artifacts.

ancient Chinese jade artifacts

Ancient Chinese jade artifacts hold immense cultural, artistic, and historical significance. These exquisite creations reflect the craftsmanship, beliefs, and values of various dynasties and periods in Chinese history. Here are some notable examples of ancient Chinese jade artifacts:

Bi Discs: Bi discs are flat, round jade ornaments with a central hole. They were symbols of authority, often associated with heavenly powers. Bi discs were used in rituals and ceremonies to convey the wearer’s social status and spiritual connection. Their designs range from simple to intricate, with carved motifs representing animals, symbols, and cosmic themes.

Cong Tubes: Cong tubes are square or rectangular jade objects with a circular hole in the center. They are believed to represent the connection between heaven and earth. Cong tubes were likely used as ritual objects or symbols of high status. The sides of cong tubes are often intricately carved with various motifs.

Huangs: Huang is a type of jade ornament shaped like a semi-circular arc. It was typically worn as a pendant and was associated with protection and auspiciousness. Huang ornaments often featured elaborate carvings, including dragons, phoenixes, and other symbolic creatures.

Jade Scepters (Yu Chu): These ceremonial scepters were crafted from jade and used by high-ranking officials in rituals and court ceremonies. They often featured intricate carvings and designs that symbolized power, authority, and virtue.

Jade Cicadas: Jade cicadas were placed on the tongues of deceased individuals in ancient Chinese burials. They were believed to have protective and transformative properties, guiding the soul through the afterlife.

Jade Hu: The jade hu is a flask-shaped container often used for rituals and ceremonies. Its elegant form and intricate carvings make it a remarkable example of ancient Chinese jade artistry.

Dragon and Phoenix Jade Ornaments: These ornate jade carvings depict the mythical dragon and phoenix, symbolizing power and harmony. They were popular motifs in various forms of jade artifacts, including pendants, belt buckles, and hairpins.

Jade Earrings and Hairpins: Jade earrings and hairpins were worn for both adornment and cultural significance. They were associated with elegance, femininity, and social status. The use of jade in these accessories reflected its aesthetic appeal and believed health benefits.

Jade Animals: Various jade animals, such as turtles, fish, and birds, were crafted with exquisite detail. These carvings often held symbolic meanings related to longevity, protection, and prosperity.

Jade Weapons: Jade was sometimes used to craft small weapons, such as ceremonial jade blades or arrowheads. These items were likely used in rituals and symbolic acts.

These are just a few examples of the diverse range of ancient Chinese jade artifacts that have been unearthed over the centuries. Each artifact provides insights into the cultural, spiritual, and artistic heritage of China’s rich history.


how was jade carved in ancient China?

Jade carving in ancient China was a meticulous and skilled craft that involved several steps and techniques. The process of carving jade required precision, patience, and a deep understanding of the material’s properties. Here’s an overview of how jade was carved in ancient China:

Selecting the Jade: Skilled craftsmen first had to choose the right type of jade for carving. Nephrite and jadeite were the two main types of jade used. The quality, color, and texture of the jade played a significant role in determining the final carving.

Design and Planning: Before carving began, craftsmen would create or select a design for the jade piece. The design would often take into account the shape of the raw jade, as well as any symbolic or aesthetic considerations.

Sculpting and Shaping: The actual carving process began with the shaping of the raw jade using tools such as chisels, knives, and abrasives. Traditional methods included using bamboo or wooden tools, as well as abrasive materials like sand and water, to gradually shape the jade into the desired form.

Engraving and Carving: Once the basic shape was achieved, artisans used finer tools to engrave intricate patterns and details onto the jade’s surface. These patterns could range from symbolic motifs to intricate designs inspired by nature, mythology, and culture.

Polishing: Polishing was a crucial step in jade carving. Craftsmen used progressively finer abrasives, such as sandpaper made from other minerals, to smooth and refine the surface of the jade. This process revealed the jade’s natural luster and translucence.

Drilling Holes: Many jade artifacts required holes to be drilled for various purposes, such as attaching cords or strings for wearable items like pendants or beads. Special drills made from bamboo, wood, or other hard materials were used to create these holes.

Finishing Touches: After the main carving and shaping were complete, artisans would make final adjustments, ensuring that all details were precise and symmetrical. The entire piece was carefully examined for any imperfections or irregularities.

Color Enhancement: In some cases, artisans might have applied natural dyes or pigments to enhance the color of the jade or highlight specific carved details. This practice was not as common and was mostly used on specific pieces.

Symbolic Meaning and Significance: Jade carving in ancient China often held deep symbolic meanings. Craftsmen were mindful of incorporating symbolism into their designs, and the choice of motifs, patterns, and shapes carried cultural and spiritual significance.

Tools and Techniques: Ancient Chinese jade carvers used a variety of tools, including bamboo, wood, and metal chisels, knives, drills, and abrasive materials. The carving process involved both cutting and grinding actions to shape the jade and create intricate designs.

The process of carving jade was a blend of technical skill, artistic creativity, and cultural understanding. Jade artifacts crafted through these methods not only showcased the craftsmen’s expertise but also became cherished cultural treasures that reflected the values and beliefs of ancient Chinese society.

Chinese jade carving meanings

Jade carving is the exquisite art of crafting jade into intricate pieces through meticulous processing and carving techniques.

Jade carving is one of the oldest forms of sculpture in China. During the crafting process, artisans carefully design and refine jade stones based on their natural colors and shapes, resulting in exquisite artworks.

Jade carving has garnered high acclaim worldwide. In 2008, jade carving was included in the second batch of China’s National Intangible Cultural Heritage List.

Jade carving holds various meanings, some of which include:

Warding Off Evil and Bringing Protection: Jade carvings are believed to ward off evil spirits and offer spiritual comfort.

Symbolizing Positive Aspirations: Many jade carvings are imbued with positive wishes and symbolism. Icons like dragons, phoenixes, and lions symbolize good fortune, while figures such as the Buddha, Buddha’s hand, and Guanyin represent blessings and safety.

Showcasing Artistic Value: As a form of artistic craftsmanship, jade carving showcases the value of sculpting techniques and skills.

In addition, jade carving also holds significance in terms of representing wealth, power, ceremonial practices, and identity.

Overall, jade carving is a profound art form that carries deep cultural and spiritual meaning, and it continues to be treasured for its beauty and symbolism.

 Jade in Shang dynasty

During the Shang Dynasty, jade artifacts held immense significance within ceremonial activities, serving as crucial articles reserved for the noble class. They symbolized status, hierarchy, and power.

Among the varieties of Shang Dynasty jade artifacts, ceremonial vessels and round-carved figurines were particularly treasured. Examples include jade cong, jade bi, and jade gui, with figurative carvings being the pinnacle. Round-carved depictions of animals and containers held substantial value as well, slightly trailing behind figurative jade carvings in terms of collectability. Due to the intricate craftsmanship required for figurative and animal carvings, coupled with their realistic artistic features, these artifacts offer insights into the societal context of the time. As a result, they possess high artistic, economic, and scientific value.

Jade in Minority Culture

In the cultures of various ethnic minorities, jade holds profound symbolic meanings. For example:

Miao Ethnicity: The Miao people believe that jade symbolizes a bountiful harvest of the five grains and can bless their villages and homes with peace. Therefore, they use jade carvings to decorate their rooms.

Dai Ethnicity: Jade culture has a long history among the Dai people, and in their perception, jade represents purity, beauty, and happiness. Naming of Dai girls often involves references to jade. Additionally, jade is also imbued with the symbolism of power, nobility, and honor.

Jade in Hemudu Culture

The Hemudu Culture represents an ancient era transitioning from the Paleolithic to the Neolithic period. It also marks the shift from a matrilineal communal society to a patrilineal one. The unearthed stone and jade artifacts from this culture reflect the primitive social landscape of tribes in the lower Yangtze River region around 7,000 years ago.

Jade artifacts from the Hemudu Culture primarily include jades such as “jue,” “huang,” “guan,” “zhu,” “bing,” and “zhui.” Among them, “jue” jades are the sole jade artifacts employed by the early inhabitants of the Hemudu Culture. These artifacts, which are relatively abundant in number, were mainly found on the ears, necks, and abdomens of the deceased individuals. They likely held significant importance as ornaments of the time.

Jade in Liangzhu Culture

Jade holds a significant position within the Liangzhu Culture, serving as a crucial carrier of this culture and bearing important witness to the five-thousand-year history of Chinese civilization.

Among the jade artifacts of the Liangzhu Culture are cong, bi, yue, huan, and column-shaped objects, with cong being the most common. Cong is the most representative jade artifact of the Liangzhu Culture, featuring a central motif of deity figures that represent both the sun god and the ancestral spirits of Liangzhu society.

The role of jade artifacts in the Liangzhu Culture was primarily ceremonial, used in rituals and ceremonies. They reflect various aspects of social consciousness and spiritual life during the Liangzhu Culture period, marking the point at which certain jade artifacts began to transcend everyday life and gradually entered the realm of mysterious altars.

Jade in Sanxingdui Culture

Jade holds a significant position within the Sanxingdui Culture, with its distinctive features being jade cong, jade bi with collars, and various materials of beaded ornaments.

Jade artifacts in the Sanxingdui Culture can be categorized into four main types: ritual objects, tools, weapons, and decorative items. Among these, ritual objects include jade bi, jade cong, jade zhang, jade gui, jade yan, jade huan, and jade gui. Tools encompass jade axes, jade chisels, jade adzes, jade knives, and more. Weapons include jade daggers, jade spears, jade daggers, and decorative items consist of jade bead strands and jade tubes.

The jade ornaments from Sanxingdui, such as beaded necklaces and amber pendants, are crafted with meticulous materials and intricate carving, showcasing exquisite craftsmanship and a unique charm. Paired with the bronze artifacts unearthed from Sanxingdui, they jointly form the pinnacle of Sanxingdui’s civilization and its cultural and artistic achievements.

types of Chinese jade

There are various types of jade in China:

Hetian Jade: Hetian jade is a type of nephrite jade and is considered the most prestigious among the “Four Famous Jades” of China.

Dushan Jade: Dushan jade comes in various colors, including sky blue, white sky blue, transparent white, red dushan jade, and more. It is known for its intricate carvings.

Serpentine, Turquoise, Serpentine, Agate, Crystal, Amber, Red and Green Gemstones: These are various types of colored stone jades.

Xinjiang Hetian Jade: Xinjiang Hetian jade is mainly composed of tremolite. It is sourced from the Kunlun Mountains and the Hetian region. It is known for its hardness and fine texture, with variations in color such as white, yellow, green, and more.

Dachian Jade: Dachian jade refers to various seed jades produced in the Tuo River region of Sichuan Province. It is highly regarded for its diversity of colors and textures.

Xiu Mountain Jade: Also known as Xiuyan Jade, it is sourced from Xiuyan County in Liaoning Province. It is characterized by its softness, fibrous structure, and various colors.

Blue-Titian Jade: Blue-Titian jade is found in Shaanxi Province’s Xi’an city, known for its whiteness and dense structure.

Turquoise: Turquoise was used as a decorative stone during the Neolithic period. It is known for its blue and green colors, often containing iron lines.

Hongshan Jade: Hongshan jade is sourced from Inner Mongolia’s Hongshan cultural circle and is known for its high-quality jade deposits.

Purple Jadeite: Purple jadeite was first discovered in China and has a richer purple color compared to amethyst. It can be used for high-end jewelry.

Yangzi White Jade: Also known as Jue Suet, it is a gem-grade material within Hetian jade, prized for its pure white color and exceptional luster.

best jade in China

The He Shi Bi is a famous and exquisite jade in Chinese history, regarded as a marvel of the world.

When the He Shi Bi was first unearthed, it was called “Wei.” Subsequently, the unprocessed original stone of fine jade was referred to as “Wei.” The well-known historical anecdote related to the He Shi Bi, “Returning the Perfect Jade to Zhao,” recounts the story of Lin Xiangru, a prominent minister of the State of Zhao during the Warring States period, helping the state recover the He Shi Bi and returning it intact to Handan. As the He Shi Bi has been lost to history, the exact appearance of the genuine He Shi Bi remains unknown and can only be imagined through limited textual records, including literary creations.

what does jade symbolize in China?

Jade holds various symbolic meanings:

Jade serves as a medium to communicate between heaven and humanity, a gem intended for divine purposes.

Jade is born from the essence of heaven and earth, symbolizing a crystallization of purity, often used in ceremonial contexts.

In Taoism, jade goes beyond being a mere precious stone offered to deities; it carries specific religious significance.

Jade embodies the qualities of a humble and virtuous individual, aligning with the aspirations of those on a spiritual path.

Jade carries auspicious meanings, such as blessings from the divine, responsiveness to wishes, and invoking good fortune.

Jade symbolizes the gentle qualities of humanity. The phrase “言念君子,温其如玉” translates to “Speak of or think of a gentleman, warm as jade,” illustrating a person’s humble and gentle character, akin to the warmth of smooth jade. Describing a person with the attributes of a stone is a refreshing and elevated expression.

Jade’s warmth also conveys a sense of resilience and strength. Its quality involves self-improvement and subsequently nurturing others, offering a gentle radiance to the world while finely honing oneself.

Just as jade is carved and polished, individuals undergo a process of refinement, continually learning and reflecting in knowledge, as well as honing and polishing through experience.

significance of jade in China

Jade holds immense significance in Chinese culture, spanning thousands of years and touching various aspects of life, spirituality, art, and identity. Here are some key aspects of the significance of jade in China:

Spiritual and Symbolic Value: Jade is often associated with virtues and qualities that are highly esteemed in Chinese philosophy, such as benevolence, righteousness, wisdom, courage, and purity. It has been considered a symbol of moral integrity and nobility, making it a favored material for crafting ornaments, sculptures, and ritual objects.

Longevity and Immortality: Jade is believed to have mystical properties that promote health, longevity, and protection against harm. In Chinese culture, it is often associated with the idea of immortality and is used in various talismans and amulets to ward off negative energies and promote well-being.

Status and Prestige: Throughout Chinese history, jade has been associated with the elite and ruling classes. Owning and wearing jade objects signified social status, wealth, and power. Jade artifacts were often used as prestigious gifts or offerings, solidifying its role as a symbol of prestige.

Cultural Continuity: Jade has remained a consistent cultural symbol throughout China’s history, linking different dynasties and eras. Its enduring popularity reflects its timeless and cross-generational appeal, making it a unifying element in Chinese culture.

Art and Craftsmanship: The intricate craftsmanship and artistic expression associated with jade carving have made it an integral part of Chinese art. Master jade carvers create intricate designs that showcase the stone’s natural beauty, resulting in exquisite jewelry, sculptures, and decorative objects.

Spiritual Beliefs and Practices: Jade has been used in various spiritual practices, including ancestor worship and rituals. It is believed to facilitate communication between the physical and spiritual realms, making it a preferred material for crafting ceremonial items.

Harmony and Balance: Jade is often associated with the concepts of balance, harmony, and yin-yang philosophy. Its smooth, cool texture is thought to represent yin, while its vibrant color symbolizes yang. These dualities are believed to bring about a sense of equilibrium and positive energy.

Imperial Connections: Chinese emperors and royalty held jade in high regard. Jade was used in imperial regalia, such as ceremonial robes, belts, and badges, reinforcing its association with authority and divinity.

Personal Adornments: Jade has been worn as personal adornments for centuries. Jade jewelry, including bracelets, pendants, and rings, not only symbolize cultural values but also add an aesthetic and spiritual element to individual style.

Cultural Identity: Jade is an integral part of Chinese identity and heritage. It represents a connection to ancient traditions, a reverence for nature, and a deep appreciation for craftsmanship.

Overall, jade’s significance in China is multifaceted, encompassing cultural, spiritual, social, and artistic dimensions that have contributed to its enduring importance in Chinese society.

green jade meaning Chinese

There are many types of green jade stones, such as emerald, jadeite, celadon jade, river pebble jade, ya’an jade, green diamond, turquoise, serpentine, peridot, and green agate.

Emerald: An ancient gemstone known for its unique color and luster, it is one of the most precious green gemstones.

Jadeite: A type of green jade, admired for its fine texture and warm color.

Celadon Jade: A type of soft jade originating from Hetian in Xinjiang, known for its emerald green color and distinctive patterns.

River Pebble Jade: Jade stone sourced from the northeastern regions of China, cherished for its delicate texture and warm color.

Ya’an Jade: A newly discovered jade stone, admired for its refreshing green color and unique patterns.

The symbolism of green jade includes:

Health and Development of Emotional Well-being: In traditional Chinese medicine and meridian theory, green is associated with health and is closely connected to emotions such as happiness, comfort, and peace.

Inner Calm and Serenity: The gentle and soothing color of green jade is believed to help individuals maintain a sense of inner calm and serenity, shielding them from external disturbances and temptations.

white jade meaning Chinese

Common white jade stones include:

Hetian Jade: Originating from Hetian in Xinjiang, with a hardness of 6 to 6.5 on the scale. It has a delicate texture and a warm, waxy appearance, often referred to as “mutton fat jade.”

Beijing White Jade: Sourced from Changping in Beijing, it is a type of quartzite jade with high hardness, ranging from 6.5 to 7. It features a fine texture and strong luster.

Afghan Jade: Coming from Afghanistan, it belongs to the category of dolomitic marble jade, with lower hardness at 3 to 4. It has a loose texture and subdued luster.

Porcelain White Jade: Found in the Yili area of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, it has a similar texture to Hetian Jade. With a quartz content of over 95%, it boasts high hardness and fine texture.

The symbolism of white jade includes:

Nobility and Purity: In ancient times, jade was associated with various positive attributes, such as being pure and noble. Expressions like “冰清玉洁” (as pure as ice and jade) and “亭亭玉立” (standing gracefully like jade) reflect the high regard in which jade was held. White jade, due to its pure color, is particularly cherished for its symbolism of nobility and purity.

Auspiciousness and Good Fortune: There’s a saying, “玉必有意,意必吉祥” (jade must have meaning, and meaning must be auspicious). Therefore, jade is often considered a symbol of good fortune and auspiciousness. White jade, nurtured by the oils from human touch over time, is believed to become imbued with spiritual energy. It is thought to bring good luck to its owner and bless them with auspiciousness, making this another aspect of the symbolism of white jade.

purple jade meaning Chinese

Purple jade stones include purple jadeite, amethyst jade, purple agate, charoite, and purple diamond.

Purple Jadeite: Vibrant in color, with high aesthetic and commercial value.

Amethyst Jade: Abundant in supply and relatively affordable, usually available for a few hundred yuan.

Purple Agate: A type of jade with rainbow-like color spots, moderately priced.

Charoite: A brightly colored and transparent stone, with high ornamental and collectible value.

Purple Diamond: A purple diamond formed through artificial processing, relatively expensive.

The symbolism of purple jade includes:

Nobility and Elegance: Purple has long been associated with nobility and an aristocratic image. Only kings, queens, and nobles were allowed to wear purple robes or adorn themselves with purple gemstones, symbolizing their status, nobility, and refined qualities. Therefore, purple jade carries a similar meaning, representing nobility, elegance, and a noble identity.

Mystery and Romance: Purple evokes a sense of mystery and romance, being a perfect blend of red and blue. Purple jade emits a mysterious glow that captures an alluring and enchanting feeling. It represents the enigmatic and romantic emotions deep within the soul, signifying curiosity and exploration of the unknown world.

Tranquility and Balance: Purple is a color that brings about tranquility and peace, much like the night sky filled with stars. Wearing or adorning oneself with purple jade can help maintain balance and inner serenity, releasing stress and anxiety.

Blessings and Auspiciousness: Purple jade is considered a symbol of good luck and wealth. Wearing purple jade is believed to bring good fortune and happiness to individuals, as well as attract wealth and success.

black jade meaning Chinese

Common black jade stones include:

Obsidian: A common black jade stone, obsidian is a type of volcanic glass that can exhibit a glassy luster and may also be translucent.

Black Onyx: This black jade stone is also referred to as “black quartz.” It is a type of translucent agate with black stripes or patterns.

Black Jadeite: A black variety of jadeite, composed of black hard jade minerals.

Black Spinel: A black jade stone made up of carbides.

Black Tourmaline: This black jade stone is composed of quartz minerals.

The symbolism of black jade includes:

Mystery and Prestige: Black is an ancient and mysterious color, representing infinite possibilities and the unknown world. Black jade symbolizes mystery, prestige, and authority.

Protection and Warding Off Evil: Black jade is believed to possess protective and warding-off evil effects. It can absorb negative energy and malicious forces, providing protection and safety to the wearer.

Enhancement of Personal Energy: Wearing black jade can help individuals dispel negative emotions, enhance courage and self-confidence, and assist in achieving personal goals and pursuits.

Wisdom and Insight: Black jade can help individuals open the third eye, enhance spirituality and insight, enabling a deeper understanding and comprehension.

Healing Properties: In traditional Chinese medicine, black jade is thought to stimulate the secretion of adrenaline, promote blood circulation, boost immunity, and improve overall physical health.

lavender jade meaning Chinese

Lavender jadeite is a rare gemstone with a hardness of 7 on the Mohs hardness scale.

The Mohs hardness scale is a commonly used measure to assess the hardness of gemstones and minerals, ranging from 1 to 10. Lavender jadeite has a hardness of 7, indicating that it is relatively hard and less susceptible to scratches. While lavender jadeite is relatively hard, it is still softer compared to other gemstones, such as diamond which has a hardness of 10. Therefore, extra care should be taken when wearing and maintaining lavender jadeite jewelry.

Lavender Jade symbolizes beauty, tranquility, and peace.

Lavender Jade is another term for lavender jadeite, which refers to this particular gemstone. Lavender Jade is a beloved gemstone admired by jewelry designers for its beautiful color and luster. It typically presents shades of green, purple, and white, with a soft sheen. Lavender Jade can be used to create various types of jewelry such as rings, necklaces, bracelets, and more.

meaning of Chinese jade pendants

The symbolism of jade pendants includes:

Auspiciousness and Good Fortune: Dragon and Phoenix, Lingzhi mushroom, Auspicious Clouds, Ruyi scepter, Magpies, Bats, etc. These symbols express people’s hopes for a happy and fortunate life.

Longevity and Well-being: Longevity Peach, Pine Tree, Crane, Tortoise, etc. These symbols convey wishes for good health and a long, fulfilling life.

Harmony and Prosperity: Twin Lotuses, Lovebirds, Fish, Mandarin Ducks, Lotus Leaves, etc. These symbols represent love and harmonious relationships, symbolizing a harmonious and prosperous family.

Peace and Tranquility: Ruyi scepter, Peony, Bamboo, etc. These symbols express people’s aspirations for a stable and prosperous life.

Chinese jade circle pendant meaning

The meaning of a Chinese jade circle pendant is to hope that the wearer can enjoy every stage of life, comprehend the changes and growth of life, and pursue their comprehensive development.

The Chinese jade circle pendant is a jade ornament themed around the circle, where the circular shape symbolizes endless cycles and infinite continuity, signifying eternity, completeness, and the cycle of renewal.

gold and jade meaning

The symbolism of “金镶玉” (jīn xiāng yù) includes:

Golden Union of Hearts: Gold represents the strength of the male, while jade symbolizes the gentleness of the female. The combination of gold and jade represents the union of a man and a woman.

Abundance of Prosperity: Gold is associated with nobility, elegance, and eternal beauty, while jade represents elegance, purity, and virtue. Together, they symbolize a life filled with prosperity and good fortune.

Perfect Match of Talented Couple: The harmonious pairing of a talented man and a virtuous woman is referred to as “金枝玉叶” (jīn zhī yù yè), meaning “golden branch and jade leaf.” The ideal union of a gifted man and a charming woman is known as “金玉良缘” (jīn yù liáng yuán).

Chinese jade horse

The symbolism of “jade horse” includes:

Gallop to Success: Symbolizing swift success and achieving one’s goals effortlessly, as if riding a horse to success with boundless freedom.

Loyalty and Prosperity: Signifying loyalty and devotion to one’s leader or cause, bringing prosperity and safeguarding one’s endeavors.

Rapid Advancement and Wealth Accumulation: When paired with a monkey, it represents “马上封侯” (mǎ shàng fēng hóu) or “马上侯” (mǎ shàng hóu), which conveys the idea of rapid promotion and wealth accumulation. The word for “monkey” (猴 hóu) sounds like “侯” (hóu), an ancient term for nobility or a high-ranking official.

Promotion and Wealth: The homophonic resemblance between the word for “monkey” (猴 hóu) and “侯” (hóu), which historically referred to a marquis or noble title, symbolizes the concepts of promotion and wealth.

Elegance and High Spirits: The jade horse pendant embodies an elegant and spirited posture.

Loyalty and Unwavering Devotion: Horses are often associated with loyalty and virtuous qualities.

Extraordinary Abilities: Horses symbolize capabilities, wisdom, and talents.

Chinese jade fish

The Double Fish Jade Pendant is a white jade ornament excavated from the joint tomb of Princess Liaochen of the Naiman Banner, Zhalaimu League (now Tongliao City), Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. The pendant is intricately carved with detailed features like eyes, cheeks, pectoral fins, and tails using negative carving techniques, and the mouths of the double fish are pierced for attachment with a golden chain.

Dating back to the Liao Dynasty (907-1125 AD), the Double Fish Jade Pendant measures 6.5 centimeters in length and is housed at the Inner Mongolia Museum. The imagery of double fish is one of the Eight Auspicious Symbols in Buddhism, reflecting the influence of Buddhist art on jade craftsmanship during the Liao Dynasty.

The symbolism of the Double Fish Jade Pendant includes:

Harmony and Unity: The two fish nestled together symbolize harmony and unity, representing familial harmony and marital love.

Fertility and Procreation: Fish are known for their strong reproductive abilities, symbolizing the hope for a prosperous and thriving lineage.

Homophone with Auspicious Meaning: The Chinese word for “fish” (鱼 yú) sounds similar to the word for “surplus” or “abundance” (余 yú). This homophone represents wishes for abundance, good fortune, and a prosperous life.

Symbol of the Elite and Common People: The double fish motif was once a symbol of the privileged and high-ranking officials, as well as a auspicious ornament worn and gifted by ordinary people.

Chinese jade dragon

The Jade Dragon is a type of jade artifact that takes the form of a dragon. It is commonly found in various ancient cultures such as the Hongshan Culture, Liangzhu Culture, Shang Dynasty, and Han Dynasty. During the Neolithic period, jade dragons were often dark green in color. They were typically small statues or figurines with intricate details. One such artifact measures 26 centimeters in height, depicting a coiled dragon in a “C” shape. The dragon has a pronounced snout that extends forward slightly and curves upward, with its mouth closed tightly and symmetrically placed nostrils. Its eyes are raised and have a diamond-like shape, with a row of spikes along its back. The dragon’s body is mostly smooth, with fine grid patterns engraved on the forehead and abdomen.

Symbolism of the Jade Dragon:

  1. Throughout history, the dragon has been revered as a symbol of authority, power, and royalty, often associated with emperors and imperial families. As such, the dragon represents status, influence, and wealth.
  2. Dragons are known for their ability to soar through the skies and command the elements. Jade dragons symbolize achieving greatness and a smooth journey towards success.
  3. The dragon, being the king of beasts, exudes strength and dominance. When men wear jade dragons, it reflects their fortitude and showcases the majestic qualities associated with the dragon.
  4. Dragons are believed to have the power to control the weather, bringing rain and prosperity to the land. Thus, a jade dragon symbolizes bountiful harvests and the imminent arrival of prosperity.

jade emperor

The Jade Emperor, also known as the Grand Emperor of Jade, has the full title: “Supreme Heavenly Sovereign, Embodiment of the Tao, Keeper of the Heavenly Records, Ruler of the Golden Gate, Lord of the Cloud Palace, Sovereign of the Nine Heavens, Holder of the Myriad Paths, Master of Non-Action, Grand Illuminator of the Great Path, Lord of the Bright Hall of the Vast Sky, Supreme Jade Emperor, Merciful Pardoner of Transgressions, Great Heavenly Venerable, and High Emperor of the Profound Heavens.” The Jade Emperor resides in the Taiwei Yuching Palace. In Chinese folklore, the Jade Emperor holds immense influence and is regarded as the “Emperor” in the celestial realm, the highest ruler of the divine world.

Jade Seal

The “Jade Seal,” also known as the “Imperial Seal for Transmitting the State,” is the Emperor’s official seal, serving as proof of legitimacy for successive legitimate emperors throughout Chinese history.

The Chuanguo Yuxi has a square shape, measuring four inches on each side. Its top knob is adorned with intertwined five dragons. The front side is inscribed with eight seal characters: “Receiving the Mandate from Heaven, Everlasting Longevity and Eternal Prosperity,” symbolizing the emperor’s divine authority and rightful rule. The seal is crafted from Lantian jade, while some sources suggest it might have been carved from the He Shi Bi jade.

Since the time of the Qin dynasty, every emperor considered obtaining this seal as an affirmation of their divine mandate and esteemed it as a paramount national treasure. Possession of the Chuanguo Yuxi symbolized the emperor’s legitimacy conferred by Heaven, while its loss was seen as an indication of the ruler’s decline in fortune. Those who ascended to the throne without possessing this seal were ridiculed as “Emperors with a Blank Seal,” implying their lack of true authority and garnering disdain from society.

why was jade important to ancient China?

Jade held significant cultural, symbolic, and practical importance in ancient China for several reasons:

Symbolism of Virtue and Immortality: Jade was associated with virtues such as purity, integrity, and benevolence. It was often linked to the Confucian values of righteousness and loyalty. In Chinese culture, jade was believed to possess mystical properties that could ward off evil and ensure longevity. It symbolized immortality and the connection between the physical and spiritual realms.

Status and Nobility: Jade was considered a precious and rare material, making it highly valuable and desirable. Owning and wearing jade ornaments signified social status, wealth, and power. It was often used in the adornment of imperial robes, crowns, and ceremonial objects, emphasizing the nobility and authority of rulers.

Religious and Spiritual Significance: Jade was associated with religious practices and rituals. It held a special place in burial customs, where jade objects were placed in tombs to accompany the deceased in the afterlife. These objects were believed to protect and guide the soul. Jade discs, known as “bi,” and tubes, known as “cong,” were frequently buried with the deceased to aid in their journey to the spirit world.

Artistic Expression and Craftsmanship: Jade’s unique qualities, such as its translucent beauty and the ease with which it could be carved and polished, made it a favored medium for artisans. Elaborately carved jade artifacts showcased the remarkable skill and craftsmanship of ancient Chinese artists. Intricate designs, motifs, and symbols were intricately worked into jade pieces, serving as both functional objects and exquisite works of art.

Healing and Protective Properties: In addition to its spiritual significance, jade was believed to have healing and protective properties. Jade was thought to have a calming influence and was used in traditional Chinese medicine for its potential therapeutic benefits.

Cultural Tradition and Legacy: Over thousands of years, jade became deeply ingrained in Chinese culture and tradition. It was passed down through generations, and its importance continued to be upheld across different dynasties and periods. The reverence for jade persisted, and it remained a cherished material in various aspects of Chinese life.

jade vs quartz

Certainly, here’s a concise comparison between jade and quartz:


Composition: Jade is a mineral comprised of either nephrite or jadeite, which are both forms of pyroxene and amphibole minerals.

Color: Typically green, but can also be found in other colors like white, black, and lavender.

Transparency: Translucent with a waxy luster.

Cultural Significance: Highly valued in East Asian cultures for its spiritual and symbolic qualities, associated with virtues, longevity, and protection.

Uses: Carved into sculptures, jewelry, and ceremonial objects due to its hardness and durability.

Symbolism: Symbolizes purity, integrity, nobility, and immortality, especially in Chinese culture.


Composition: Quartz is a silicon dioxide mineral with a crystalline structure.

Color: Various colors including colorless (clear quartz), as well as pink (rose quartz), purple (amethyst), yellow (citrine), and more.

Transparency: Can be transparent, translucent, or opaque, depending on the variety.

Cultural Significance: Used in various cultures for practical and metaphysical purposes, associated with healing and energy.

Uses: Widely used in jewelry, electronics, watches, and scientific instruments due to its diverse properties, including piezoelectricity.

Metaphysical Beliefs: Utilized in alternative practices for purported energy-clearing and healing properties.

In summary, while both jade and quartz have cultural importance and are valued for their beauty, they differ in terms of their mineral composition, colors, transparency, cultural symbolism, uses, and metaphysical associations.

jade vs emerald

Jade and emerald are both beautiful gemstones, but they differ in terms of their mineral composition, colors, cultural significance, and uses. Here’s a comparison between jade and emerald:


Composition: Jade is not a single mineral but a term that encompasses two different minerals: nephrite and jadeite. Nephrite is a calcium and magnesium-rich amphibole, while jadeite is a sodium and aluminum-rich pyroxene. Both are collectively referred to as “jade.”

Color: Jade comes in various colors, including green, white, black, lavender, and more. The most well-known variety is green jade.

Transparency: Translucent to opaque, depending on the variety.

Cultural Significance: Jade has profound cultural importance, particularly in East Asian cultures like China, where it symbolizes purity, nobility, and longevity. It’s associated with spiritual and symbolic qualities and has been used for thousands of years in rituals, art, and jewelry.

Uses: Jade is often carved into sculptures, jewelry, and ceremonial objects. It’s known for its durability and has been used for both ornamental and functional purposes.


Composition: Emerald is a variety of the mineral beryl, colored green by trace amounts of chromium and sometimes vanadium.

Color: Emeralds are typically vivid green in color, ranging from light to deep green.

Transparency: Transparent to translucent.

Cultural Significance: Emeralds have been cherished in various cultures throughout history. They were revered in ancient civilizations like the Incas and have been associated with wealth, luxury, and status.

Uses: Emeralds are primarily used as gemstones in jewelry. They are often faceted to enhance their brilliance and are highly valued for their intense green color and rarity.

In summary, while both jade and emerald are treasured gemstones, they have distinct mineral compositions, colors, cultural meanings, and uses. Jade is more diverse in color and carries significant spiritual and cultural symbolism, particularly in East Asian cultures. Emeralds are prized for their vibrant green color and are sought after as precious gemstones for their beauty and rarity.

jade vs jadeite

Jade and jadeite are both minerals that fall under the broader category of “jade,” but they are distinct in terms of their mineral composition, properties, colors, and cultural significance. Here’s a comparison between jade and jadeite:


Composition: Jade is a term that encompasses two different minerals: nephrite and jadeite. Nephrite is a calcium and magnesium-rich amphibole, while jadeite is a sodium and aluminum-rich pyroxene. Both are collectively referred to as “jade.”

Color: Jade comes in a range of colors, including green, white, black, lavender, and more. The most common variety of green jade is often associated with cultural and symbolic significance.

Transparency: Translucent to opaque, depending on the variety.

Cultural Significance: Jade has deep cultural significance, particularly in East Asian cultures like China. It symbolizes purity, nobility, and longevity and has been used for spiritual, symbolic, and artistic purposes for centuries.


Composition: Jadeite is one of the two minerals that fall under the term “jade.” It is a sodium and aluminum-rich pyroxene.

Color: Jadeite is prized for its vibrant and intense colors, including shades of green, lavender, red, orange, yellow, and more.

Transparency: Translucent to semi-transparent, with higher-quality pieces exhibiting greater transparency.

Cultural Significance: Jadeite, particularly the highly valuable and coveted green variety known as “imperial jadeite,” has significant cultural importance, especially in Chinese culture. It has been associated with status, wealth, and power.

In summary, jadeite is a specific type of jade mineral, distinct from nephrite, that is highly valued for its intense colors and transparency. While both types of jade have cultural and symbolic importance, jadeite, especially the finest and most vibrant green specimens, is considered among the most precious and sought-after gemstones in the world, often commanding high prices in the market.

jade vs greenstone

Jade and greenstone are terms that are often used interchangeably, but there are subtle differences in their usage and cultural contexts.


Composition: Jade is a term that encompasses two distinct minerals: nephrite and jadeite. Nephrite is a calcium and magnesium-rich amphibole, while jadeite is a sodium and aluminum-rich pyroxene. Both minerals are collectively referred to as “jade.”

Color: Jade comes in a variety of colors, including green, white, black, lavender, and more. Green is a common and well-known color for jade.

Transparency: Translucent to opaque, depending on the variety.

Cultural Significance: Jade holds deep cultural and symbolic significance in various cultures, especially in East Asian cultures like China. It is associated with virtues such as purity, nobility, and longevity, and is often used in spiritual, artistic, and ornamental contexts.


Usage: “Greenstone” is a term that is often used in New Zealand and some other regions to refer to a specific type of jade known as nephrite. In New Zealand, “pounamu” is another term used to refer to greenstone or nephrite jade.

Cultural Significance: In Maori culture, greenstone (pounamu) has significant cultural and spiritual importance. It is considered a sacred stone and is traditionally used to create intricate carvings, tools, and ornaments. Greenstone holds a special place in Maori art, mythology, and rituals.

In summary, “greenstone” is a term that is specifically used in certain cultural contexts, especially in New Zealand, to refer to nephrite jade. In broader discussions, “jade” refers to both nephrite and jadeite, encompassing a wider range of colors and cultural significances beyond just the color green. Both jade and greenstone have rich histories and cultural meanings in different parts of the world.

jade vs aventurine

Jade and aventurine are two different minerals that are often used for similar purposes in jewelry and ornamental objects due to their attractive colors and properties. Here’s a comparison between jade and aventurine:


Composition: Jade is a term that includes two different minerals: nephrite and jadeite. Nephrite is a calcium and magnesium-rich amphibole, while jadeite is a sodium and aluminum-rich pyroxene. Both minerals are collectively referred to as “jade.”

Color: Jade comes in various colors, including green (the most common), as well as white, black, lavender, and more.

Transparency: Translucent to opaque, depending on the variety.

Cultural Significance: Jade has deep cultural and symbolic importance in many cultures, particularly in East Asian cultures. It is associated with virtues such as purity, nobility, and longevity, and is often used in spiritual, artistic, and ornamental contexts.


Composition: Aventurine is a type of quartz that is characterized by its shimmering appearance caused by the presence of tiny reflective inclusions of minerals like mica or hematite.

Color: Aventurine is typically green due to the presence of fuchsite mica, but it can also be found in colors like blue, red, orange, brown, and more.

Transparency: Translucent to opaque, with a shimmering or sparkly appearance due to the inclusions.

Metaphysical Properties: Aventurine is often associated with luck, prosperity, and abundance. It is believed to promote feelings of well-being, calmness, and emotional balance.

Uses: Aventurine is commonly used in jewelry and decorative objects, such as beads, cabochons, and figurines. Its shimmering effect makes it popular for various craft and jewelry-making projects.

In summary, while jade and aventurine are both used in jewelry and decorative items, they are distinct minerals with different compositions, colors, and cultural or metaphysical associations. Jade has a rich cultural history and significance, especially in East Asia, while aventurine is often appreciated for its shimmering appearance and believed metaphysical properties.

jade vs turquoise

Jade and turquoise are two distinct gemstones that have been valued for their beauty, cultural significance, and use in jewelry and decorative arts. Here’s a comparison between jade and turquoise:


Composition: Jade is a term that encompasses two different minerals: nephrite and jadeite. Nephrite is a calcium and magnesium-rich amphibole, while jadeite is a sodium and aluminum-rich pyroxene. Both minerals are collectively referred to as “jade.”

Color: Jade comes in a variety of colors, including green (most common), as well as white, black, lavender, and more.

Transparency: Translucent to opaque, depending on the variety.

Cultural Significance: Jade has deep cultural and symbolic importance in various cultures, particularly in East Asian cultures like China. It is associated with virtues such as purity, nobility, and longevity and is often used in spiritual, artistic, and ornamental contexts.

Uses: Jade is often carved into sculptures, jewelry, and ceremonial objects. It is known for its durability and has been used for both ornamental and functional purposes.


Composition: Turquoise is a phosphate mineral that contains copper and aluminum.

Color: Turquoise is known for its distinctive blue-green color, often referred to as “turquoise blue.”

Transparency: Opaque.

Cultural Significance: Turquoise has been highly prized and used in jewelry and adornments by various ancient cultures, including Native American civilizations. It has been associated with protection, good luck, and spiritual well-being in many cultures.

Uses: Turquoise is widely used in jewelry, particularly in Native American and southwestern jewelry designs. It is often set in silver and combined with other gemstones to create unique pieces.

In summary, jade and turquoise are both cherished gemstones with unique characteristics, cultural importance, and uses. Jade is often valued for its variety of colors and deep cultural symbolism, especially in East Asia. Turquoise is renowned for its distinctive blue-green color and has been treasured for its beauty and cultural significance in various societies, particularly in Native American and southwestern cultures.

jade vs pearl

Jade and pearls are two different types of precious materials with distinct properties, cultural significance, and uses. Here’s a comparison between jade and pearls:


Composition: Jade encompasses two different minerals: nephrite and jadeite. Nephrite is a calcium and magnesium-rich amphibole, while jadeite is a sodium and aluminum-rich pyroxene. Both are collectively referred to as “jade.”

Color: Jade comes in various colors, including green (most common), white, black, lavender, and more.

Transparency: Translucent to opaque, depending on the variety.

Cultural Significance: Jade has deep cultural and symbolic importance in various cultures, particularly in East Asian cultures like China. It is associated with virtues such as purity, nobility, and longevity, and is often used in spiritual, artistic, and ornamental contexts.

Uses: Jade is often carved into sculptures, jewelry, and ceremonial objects. It is known for its durability and has been used for both ornamental and functional purposes.


Formation: Pearls are formed inside mollusks, such as oysters or mussels, as a response to an irritant like a piece of sand. Layers of nacre (calcium carbonate) are deposited around the irritant, creating the pearl.

Color: Pearls come in a variety of natural colors, including white, cream, pink, black, and more. The color is influenced by the type of mollusk and the environment in which it was formed.

Transparency: Pearls are not transparent; they have a lustrous surface and a unique play of light known as “orient.”

Cultural Significance: Pearls have been treasured for their beauty and elegance throughout history. They have symbolized purity, wisdom, and femininity in various cultures.

Uses: Pearls are commonly used in jewelry, such as necklaces, earrings, and bracelets. They are also used in decorative arts and have been a staple in classic and timeless jewelry designs.

In summary, jade and pearls are distinct natural materials, each with its own unique qualities and cultural significance. Jade is often associated with cultural symbolism and can be found in a range of colors. Pearls, on the other hand, are formed within living organisms and are known for their luster and elegance, making them a popular choice for jewelry and adornments.

jade and silver

Jade and silver are two distinct materials often used in jewelry and decorative arts. Here’s a comparison between jade and silver:


Composition: Jade encompasses two different minerals: nephrite and jadeite. Nephrite is a calcium and magnesium-rich amphibole, while jadeite is a sodium and aluminum-rich pyroxene. Both are collectively referred to as “jade.”

Color: Jade comes in various colors, including green (most common), white, black, lavender, and more.

Transparency: Translucent to opaque, depending on the variety.

Cultural Significance: Jade has deep cultural and symbolic importance in various cultures, especially in East Asian cultures like China. It is associated with virtues such as purity, nobility, and longevity, and is often used in spiritual, artistic, and ornamental contexts.

Uses: Jade is often carved into sculptures, jewelry, and ceremonial objects. It is known for its durability and has been used for both ornamental and functional purposes.


Composition: Silver is a chemical element (Ag) known for its lustrous appearance and excellent electrical conductivity.

Color: Silver has a characteristic white metallic color with a reflective surface.

Transparency: Opaque.

Cultural Significance: Silver has been used in various cultures throughout history for its beauty and practical uses. It has been associated with wealth, status, and the creation of intricate and valuable objects.

Uses: Silver is widely used in jewelry making due to its malleability and ability to be shaped into intricate designs. It is also used in coins, tableware, decorative items, and various industrial applications.

Jade and Silver in Jewelry:

Jade and silver are often combined in jewelry designs to create unique and striking pieces. The contrasting colors and properties of these materials can complement each other, allowing for creative and aesthetically pleasing designs. For example, silver settings can highlight the natural colors and textures of jade gemstones.

In summary, jade and silver are both valuable and versatile materials with distinct characteristics and cultural significance. Their combination in jewelry and decorative arts can result in stunning and meaningful creations that showcase the beauty of both materials.

jade vs diamond

Jade and diamonds are two very different gemstones, each with unique characteristics, cultural significance, and uses. Here’s a comparison between jade and diamonds:


Composition: Jade encompasses two different minerals: nephrite and jadeite. Nephrite is a calcium and magnesium-rich amphibole, while jadeite is a sodium and aluminum-rich pyroxene. Both are collectively referred to as “jade.”

Color: Jade comes in a variety of colors, including green (most common), white, black, lavender, and more.

Transparency: Translucent to opaque, depending on the variety.

Cultural Significance: Jade has deep cultural and symbolic importance in various cultures, especially in East Asian cultures like China. It is associated with virtues such as purity, nobility, and longevity, and is often used in spiritual, artistic, and ornamental contexts.

Uses: Jade is often carved into sculptures, jewelry, and ceremonial objects. It is known for its durability and has been used for both ornamental and functional purposes.


Composition: Diamond is a crystalline form of carbon with a unique atomic structure, making it one of the hardest known natural materials.

Color: Diamonds come in various colors, including colorless (white) as well as fancy colors such as blue, yellow, pink, and more.

Transparency: Transparent, with exceptional brilliance and fire due to its high refractive index.

Cultural Significance: Diamonds have been highly prized for their rarity, beauty, and status for centuries. They have been associated with love, wealth, and eternal commitment, often used in engagement and wedding rings.

Uses: Diamonds are primarily used in jewelry, particularly in engagement rings, necklaces, earrings, and more. They are also used in industrial applications due to their hardness and thermal conductivity.

Jade vs. Diamond in Jewelry:

Jade and diamonds are often used in jewelry for different purposes. Jade is valued for its unique appearance, cultural symbolism, and historical significance. It is commonly used in carved jewelry and ornamental objects. Diamonds, on the other hand, are celebrated for their exceptional brilliance and are widely used as centerpieces in various types of jewelry, particularly in engagement and formal pieces.

In summary, jade and diamonds are distinct gemstones with different characteristics, cultural meanings, and uses. While jade carries rich cultural symbolism and is often used in carved pieces, diamonds are renowned for their exceptional sparkle and are highly sought after for their beauty and rarity in the world of fine jewelry.

Dream of Jade

Dreaming of jade: Typically indicates upcoming wealth and prosperity.

Dreaming of receiving a jade bowl: Foretells potential financial success and the support of influential individuals.

Dreaming of receiving gold and jade jewelry: Such as earrings, rings, or bracelets, often signifies the potential for having a child.

Dreaming of a jade bodhisattva (Buddhist deity): Symbolizes longevity.

If a patient dreams of a jade bodhisattva: Suggests a quick recovery from illness.

Dreaming of a jade pendant: A positive omen, indicating a period of smooth sailing and favorable outcomes.

If a businessperson dreams of a broken jade pendant: Suggests that business difficulties may affect your ability to make money.

Dreaming of turquoise: Symbolizes that your desires will impress your loved ones.

Dreaming of gemstones: A symbol of good luck and success.

Dreaming of a jade pixiu (mythical creature): Portends good fortune, particularly if it is made of jade. While it provides protection, it should still be cherished.

If a jade pixiu is shattered in the dream: Caution against potential harm from malevolent individuals and financial loss.

Dreaming of green jade: A fortunate omen, indicating a period of smooth and successful endeavors.

Dreaming of a jade bodhisattva statue at home: Suggests encountering challenges in the near future, but you will receive assistance from influential individuals, bringing good fortune.

If a woman dreams of a jade bodhisattva statue at home: Portends a period of good luck and favorable circumstances.

Dreaming of a radiant jade bodhisattva: Indicates an upcoming positive turn of events, resolving misunderstandings with others.

Dreaming of cleaning a jade bodhisattva statue: Suggests a period of good fortune and good health. Regular exercise will lead to improved well-being.

If a man dreams of cleaning a jade bodhisattva statue: Suggests favorable luck and an upcoming journey, during which he will face challenges but will be capable of handling them.

Dreaming of receiving jade as a gift from someone else: Indicates potential health concerns, especially for those with allergies or a history of kidney issues. Take extra care, particularly if you have a sensitive constitution or have had kidney problems in the past.


Even today, jade is still held in high esteem as the most beautiful and highly desired gemstone. The fact that this is true globally and not just in China, means that jade will continue being a highly valued gem in many years to come. Its value currently is compared to the value given to the rarest diamonds in the US.

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