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]

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    

Important 18c Chinese Qianlong Imperial Hetain White Jade Carved Fruiting GourdSuperb 18/19thc Chinese Qing Carved Pure White Jade Mughal Lotus Lidded VaseImportant 18thc Imperial Palace Chinese Spinach Jade & Silver Vase Box KoopmanMuseum Quality 18c Chinese Qianlong Imperial Carved White Jade Ram Figure GroupExceptional 18/19thc Chinese Pure White Jade Plaque Silver Enamel Scholars BoxSuperb 17/18c Chinese Kangxi Qianlong White Jade Dragon Rhyton Libation Vase CupVery Fine Chinese Natural Hetian White Jade Dragon Belt Hook Magnifying GlassExceptional 17/18thc Chinese White Yellow Jade Beast Figure Erik Hancock Coll.Fine Rare Chinese Gold Gilt Silver Jade Stone Ringed Fu Lion Dragon CenserPair Fine Chinese Carved Celadon Jade Sterling Silver Archers Ring Flower PotsSuperb 18thc Chinese Qianlong Carved White Jade Scabbard SlideLarg Chinese Ming Qing Dynasty Carved Jade Fish Figure Plaque With Fitted StandSuperb 18/19thc Chinese Carved Natural White Jade Archaic Dragon Pendant Plaque Fine Antique Chinese White Celadon Carved Happiness Jade Plaque Pendant 1900sSuperb Chinese Carved White Apple Green Jade Jadeite Phoenix Dragon Double VaseFine Complete Set Chinese Jade Jadeite Lapis Lazuli Agate Musical Instrument SetRare 18/19thc Chinese White Jade Turtle Form Scholars Water Pot Brush WasherVery Fine 18/19thc Chinese Carved Natural White Jade Scholars Chop SealChinese Carved Natural Jadeite Jade Covered Coupe, Lotus & Duck, 19th CenturyAntique Art Deco Chinese 14k Yellow Gold Carved Jadeite Jade Pendant NecklaceHeavy 18k Gold Beautiful Vs1/f .25ct Diamond/amethyst/green Jade Flower BroochVery Fine Chinese Ming Qing Carved White Jade Dragon Figural Pendant W StandVery Fine 19thc Chinese Qing White Lavender Jade Jadeite Lidded Censer VaseSuperb Chinese Natural White Lavender Jade Jadeite Imperial Maiden Boy FigureUnusual Large 19c Chinese Fine Carved Green Jade Nephrite 18k Gold Pin BroochEstate Lot Antique Chinese Finely Carved White Jade Stone Scholars Chops SealsNice Old Chinese Carved Jade & 14k Gold Pin Squirrel & Grapes OpenworkA Very Rare Good 17th Century Ming Chinese Carved Celadon Jade PendantEstate Lot Antique Chinese Finely Carved Jade Stone Scholars Chops SealsGia Certified 18k Gold Elegant Natural Cabochon Jadeite Jade Link BraceletVintage 14k Yellow Gold Natural Green Oval Cabochon Jadeite Jade RingRare Chinese Carved Yellow Jade Archaic Dragon Bangle BraceletHandmade Natural Untreated Undyed Green Jadeite Jade Diamond 18k Gold PendantAntique Chinese Jade Vintage Jadeite 14k Gold Mens 1950s Size 6.75 RingFine Antique Chinese 12 Carved Jade Wine Cups In Silk Lined Fitted BoxA L9th Century Chinese Jade Stone Inset Coral, Agate, Soap Streen18th Chinese Antique Jade BoyArt Deco Period 11.25ctw Jadeite Jade Diamond 8mm Akoya Pearl 14k Gold NeckalceVery Fine Chinese Ming Dynasty Carved Jade Archaic Archers RingVintage Signed Schiaparelli Ciner France Jade Glass Cab Rhinestone Earrings Lot Fine Antique Chinese Pale White Celadon Carved Jade Plaque Pendant 18th CenturuyVery Fine Chinese Ming Qing Dynasty White Jade Qilin Dragon Figure Pendant Very Fine Antique Chinese Carved White Jade Dragon Figural Pendant From Museum Antique Chinese Pale Celadon Carved Twin Boys Jade Plaque Pendant 19th CenturuyAmazing 18/19thc Chinese Carved Natural White Jade Elephant Figural PendantGreat Chinese Carved Jade Recumbent Water Buffalo Ox Figure Scroll WeightVery Fine 19c Chinese Carved Natural Hetian Pure White Jade Imperial Boy FigureSuperb Rare Chinese Song / Ming Dynasty Carved White Yellow Jade Mouse Figure19th Chinese Antique White Jade HookVery Fine 18/19thc Chinese Carved White Jade Dragon Figural Pendant PlaqueSuperb Chinese Carved White Jade Jadeite Fu Lion Elephant Figure Lidded VaseFine Rare 16/17c Chinese Ming Dynasty Carved Jade Imperial Horse Figure PendantTiffany & Co. 18k Yellow Gold & Jade Elsa Peretti Open Heart NecklaceVery Fine Chinese Carved Jade Stone Double Bird Figures On Perch Fine Wood StandEstate Lot Chinese Carved Jade Stone Censer Belt Hook Wine Cups Lohan FigureVery Fine Chinese Natural Celadon Jade & 14k Gold Horse Figure Beaded NecklaceMen's 14k Gold & Gia Certified Grade 'a' Imperial Jadeite Jade Ring W/diamondsPair Of Large Vintage 14k Yellow Gold Jadeite Floral Flower Jade Earrings3 Fine Chinese Carved Jade Stone Imperial Musician Figures Lot TwoA Very Rare Good 17th Century Ming Chinese Carved Celadon Jade Cong