Chinese jade more precious than gold

One of Wang Junyi’s highly praised works is this butterfly shaped from a piece of jadeite that gradually “changes” colors. (Shanghai Daily)

Many wealthy Chinese today drape themselves in European luxury-brand jewelry made of gold, platinum, diamonds and other glittering gemstones.

By contrast, ancient Chinese of means and taste often preferred creamy white hard jade that did not advertise wealth but symbolized beauty, purity, nobility, perfection, constancy, durability, power and immortality.

Jade was the ultimate understated symbol of luxury.

It is said by Chinese that “gold has value but jade is invaluable.”

The medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics were set in white jade mined in the Kunlun Mountains of Qinghai Province.

Hard jade (jadeite) is difficult to carve and chisel and must be worn away by abrasion, a laborious process. Thus, it was the symbol of power. Jade ornaments and items were used and worn by royalty and nobility.

 

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