No one material may better epitomize the Chinese arts than jade—a stone that comes in a wide variety of majestic colors, from yellows to greens to purples. Chinese jade mines are long depleted so today the stone is mined in Burma, Central America, Brazil, Canada, and India. Still, Chinese culture has mastered the art of jade carving in a way no other region can match.

According to Chinese mythology, jade is a magical stone, a link between the physical and spiritual realms, as it possesses qualities both yin and yang, day and night, good and evil. Carved jade ornaments of all shapes and sizes have been part of Chinese culture since at least the Neolithic Period, 9500-9000 BC.

Through the millennia, jade has been shaped into tools, weapons, and belt loops, but it is primarily carved into figurines and jewelry. Common jade figures are symbols of good fortune such as bats and gourds, as well as peaches (longevity), magpies (happiness), lotus plants (harmony), and lotus seeds (fertility). Officials wore jade representations of roosters and cockscomb flowers to assert their power, while artists carved jade into realistic images of other flowers, trees, mountains, animals, stars, and even legendary figures.

For collectors, it's important to beware of fakes, as it's easy to make ordinary glass that looks like genuine jade. The market is flooded with these cheap imitations made from molds and having a rough edge you can feel. They lack the density of jade, as well as the high relief and rounded sculpture of true jade carvings. Also, any pieces with air bubbles are not true jade. Real antique jade is difficult to date, and appraisers rely on details like the shape of a dragon's eyes, horns, feet, claws, scales, and tail.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Hall of Jades

Hall of Jades

The Field Museum houses an informative, permanent exhibition dedicated to Jade. Browse the highlights of the exhibi… [read review or visit site]

Asian Art Museum

Asian Art Museum

You can get happily lost searching through the 10,000 or so objects on the Asian Art Museum's website. For example,… [read review or visit site]

Gotheborg.com

Gotheborg.com

Jan-Erik Nilsson's extensive reference on antique Chinese porcelain. Jam-packed with information (e.g. on porcelain… [read review or visit site]



Most watched eBay auctions    

19th Century Chinese White Jade Belt Buckle - Carved Dragon & Lizard (4y21)50 Mm (1.9") Gorgeous Green Jade Crystal Sphere Ball HealingToyota : Supra Tt 1998 Toyota Supra Twin Turbo Imperial Jade Mica Green 1 Of 24 Ever40 Mm (1.59") Gorgeous Green Jade Crystal Sphere Ball HealingFine Old Chinese Antique White Jade Dragon Belt Hook Gold Wire FastenerVintage Estate Natural 15.89ct Green Jadeite Jade 14k Gold Diamond Cocktail RingVintage Engraved Lavendar Jade 14k Yellow Gold Bangel 9.3 MmBeautiful Antique Chinese Gilt Silver Carved Jade Screw Back Earrings & BoxChinese Jadeite Jade Vase, Carved Chain, Chilong Dragons & Phoenix, Early 20th CChinese Carved Nephrite Jade Hanging Plaque With Custom Hardwood Stand, 20th C.Chinese Spinach Green Nephrite Jade Gu Vase, Taotie Mask Design, 18/19th CenturyVintage True To Color 192.00c Imperial Green Jadeite Jade Carved Bangle BraceletVintage Green Translucent Jade Bangle, 2 1/4", 38.3 Grams 11.9 MmHi Quality 18k Gold 6.50ctw Fine Green Jadeite Jade Diamond Vintage EarringsVintage Handmade 14kt Yellow Gold & Chinese Hard Stone & Jade Bamboo Pin PendantRare Late C19th - C1900s Chinese Carved Orange Cornelian Agate Or Jade Necklace.Vintage Green Jade 14k Yellow Gold Earrings, 5/8" X 7/8", 5.5 GramsVintage 14k Yellow Gold Green Jade Bracelet 14.8 GramsVintage Estate Natural 19.5ct Lavender Jadeite Jade 14k Gold Large Cocktail RingGorgeous 21k Yellow Gold/ Diamond/ Jade Ring! Absolutely Stunning! Size 7!Vintage Green Jade Ring 14k Yellow Gold, Size 14, 17.2 Grams 25 X 19 X 5.8 Mm Republican Chinese Ebony Rosewood Carved Stand For A Jade W/chains 1 Of 5 YqzChinese Nephrite Jade And 18k White Gold Pendant / Brooch, Art Deco PeriodAntique Chinese Qing Dynasty Carved Celadon Jade AmuletVintage Lot Of 3 Green Carved Jade Pendents, 9.7 Grams With 14k TopsAntique Chinese Qing Dynasty Carved White Jade Plaque Belt BuckleVintage Jade & Ruby Donuts 14k Yellow Earrings, 2.4 GramsAntique Chinese Qing Dynasty Carved Celadon Jade Dragon AmuletVintage 165.50ct Natural True Color Green Carved Jadeite Jade Bangle BraceletOld Chinese Nephrite Celadon Jade Statue/ Pen WashVintage Green Jade 14k Gold Earrings, 2.9 GramsAntique Chinese Qing Dynasty Carved White Jade Dragon Amulet Very Fine Quality Genuine Nephrite Jade Letter Opener - Faberge Interest - RareLarge Chinese Celadon Nephrite Jade Double Citron Vase (buddha's Hand), 20th C.Massive 14k Gold Carved Chinese Dragon Moss In Snow Jadeite Jade PendantVintage 14k Solid Yellow Gold Handmade Ring With Cabochon Jade Apple Green!Antique Chinese Qing Dynasty Carved Jade Hardstone Brush Washer GroupAntique 18-19c Chinese Carved Jade Amulet Of Horse & ManHarley Davidson 2014-2015 Touring King Tour Pack Deep Jade Pearl 53000399dwfGorgeous Antique Chinese Solid 14k Yg Carved Lavendar Jade Earrings! No Res! Vintage Mings Gray Jade & 14k Yellow Gold Earrings, 1/2" X 3/8", 2.7 Grams18k Vintage Solid Yellow Gold Jade Man's Ring With Small Diamonds Antique Chinese Carved Nephrite Jade Elephant AmuletAntique Art Deco Gilt Metal And Carved Jade PendantSenior Parker Lucky Curve Duofold Jade Fountain Pen Boxed Instructions ServicedVintage Translucent Green Jade Bangle Bracelet Hinged 14kt 12mm Etched FlowersVintage 1960's 14k Yellow Gold Carved Flower Screw Back Jade EarringsAntique 11.12ct Oval Fine Jadeite Jade Solitaire Ring 14k Yellow Gold $3900 L324Chinese Carved Jade Figure Of Boy Holding Lingzhi MushroomLadies Solid 14-karat 585 With Six Round Carved Doughnut Genuine Jade Cabochons 19th C.-20th C. Chinese Jade Relief Of A Crouching Boy Lot Of 7pc Vintage 14k Gold Assorted Jadeite Jade Pendants Vintage Green Jade & 14k Yellow Gold Earrings, 4.1 Grams 3/4"Steuben Acid Etched "swirl" Glass Bowl, Green Jade Over Alabaster, Shape #2687Antique Chinese Qing Dynasty Celadon Jade Lead Form AmuletVintage 1970's Ming's 14k Yellow Gold Lavender Jadeite Jade Cabochon Ring Sz 5.5Antique Chinese Purplish Jade Quartz Stone Carved 9 1/2" Beauty Kwanyin StatueAntique Fine China Chinese Carved Openwork Wood Box Jade Jadeite Rosewood ZitanVintage 14k Yellow Gold Jade Bangle Bracelet No ReserveAntique Chinese Carved Dragon Jade Vase Late 19th Century