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    

Fine Old Antique Chinese Carved Jade Bead Bat Sterling Silver Pendant NecklaceImportant Ming Huanghuali Screen Panel Inlaid White Jade Agate Amber MalachiteAntique Chinese Ming Reticulated White Or Celadon Jade Rectangular Plaque, Chinese White Nephrite Jade Brooch With Gilt Silver Mount, Boy On Dragon-fishFinely Carved 18th Century White Jade Mythical Animal Pendant ToggleVery Fine Good Old Yellow Jade Snuff Bottle Well Hollowed Magnificent Large Celadon White Jade Belt Buckle Garment Hook 19th CenturyVintage Chinese Sterling Silver Filigree Jade Pink Tourmaline Wide BraceletFine Chinese 17th / 18th Century Celadon And Russet Jade Cup Chilong HandlesChinese 14k Gold & Carved Green Jade Necklace Pendant W/ Bat & Lingzhi, 20th C.Vintage Ming's Of Honolulu 14k Yellow Gold And Carved Jade RingA Chinese Carved Natural Jadeite Jade PlaqueAntique Chinese Jade And Silver Gilt Earrings Circa 1930 Superb ConditionNatural 6.00ct Imperial A Grade Jadeite Jade 14k Gold Carved Leaf EarringsGenuine Signed Mings 14k Gold Jadeite Jade Cultured Akoya Pearl Vintage Leaf PinVintage 18k Gold Filigree Fine Green Jadeite Jade Ladies Fashion Ring 1960sLadys 18k Gold Vintage Cabochon Jade Ring, Size-7 No Reserve!Vintage White And Green Finely Carved Jade Pendant With 14k GoldFine Chinese Ming Dynasty White Jade Belt Plaque Carving Of A DragonMassive Vintage 1970's Lotus & Vine Lavender & Green Jadeite Jade Bangle - 205g!Estate Green Jade Bangle Bracelet 14k Yellow Gold Natural 8.5 Mm 7 Inch LongVintage Ming's Of Honolulu 14k Yellow Gold And Carved Jade RingA Truly Beautiful Solid 18ct Gold & Jade BraceletFine Chinese 19th Century Celadon Jade Pendant Carving Bi Disc Chilong KylinArt Deco 14k Filigree Yellow Gold Carved Jadeite Jade Drop NecklaceVintage Genuine 22k Gold Jade Exotic Etruscan 1940s Cobra Snake Serpent RingGia Certified Natural Un-treated 34.45ct Jadeite Jade Diamond 14k Gold RingVintage Ming's Of Honolulu 14k Yellow Gold And Jade RingChinese Nephrite Jade Plaque, Pierced Immortal & Dragon Fish Design 19th Century14k Yellow Gold Green Jade Fertility Wu Lou Chinese Pendant Curb Chain NecklaceVintage 18kt Yellow Gold & Dark Green Jade Ring~really Nice!!!Fine Art Deco Design Multi Coloured Jade And Pearl 14ct Gold RingVtg Antique Chinese Textile Jade Rose Quartz Handbag Purse BagVintage Ming's Of Honolulu 14k Yellow Gold And Jade RingVintage Ming's 14k Gold With Green Jade Bracelet, Honolulu 36.0gSuper Antique 19thc Chinese Qing Carved Fondling Jade Frog On Ruji & Gourd Fruit925 Sterling Silver Green Round Jade Strand Chunky NecklaceVintage Icy Green Jade Jadeite 14k Gold Bangle BraceletElegant 14kt Yellow Gold Oval Cut Cabochon Apple Green Jade Solitaire Ring 5.8grVintage 1940s 18k Rose Gold Teardrop Pear Nephrite Jade Ladies RingAntique Chinese Carved Mutton Fat Jade & Silver PendantVintage 18k Yellow Gold And Jadeite Jade PendantFine Chinese 18th / 19th Century Celadon Jade Belt Hook With Dragon HeadFine Old Chinese 14k Gold Carved Jade Drop Dangle Pierced EarringsVintage Signed Swoboda Carved Jade & Angel Skin Coral Flower Pot Brooch PinChinese Celadon Nephrite Jade Baby Lock Plaque, Carved & Incised, 19th CenturyChinese Jade Decorated BoxArt Deco Carved Jade Drop 10k Gold Screw Back EarringsStunning Antique Carved Jade Dragon BangleAntique Vintage Estate Chinese Jade Jadeite Knotted Necklace-20.0 Grams.Vintage Ming's Of Honolulu 14k Yellow Gold And Jade Ring28" Long Oriental Jade Bead Necklace With Silver CatchVintage Men's 18k Solid Yellow Gold Jade Oval Cabochon Signet Ring Size 8.5Vintage 18k Yellow Gold With Imperial Jade And Diamond EarringsBeautiful Vintage Signed Chinese Carved Jade Or Hard Stone Buddha Pendant.A 'large' Chinese Silver & Jade Cabochon Cloak Brooch. Surrounded By Dragons18ct Yellow Old Jade Pendant With Red Tourmaline Authentic Tiffany & Co Elsa Peretti Spain 18k Yellow Gold Jade Cabochon NecklaceChinese Carved Celadon Nephrite Jade Jadeite Scholar's Water Pot Censer VesselAntique Chinese Qianlong Mughal White Jade Coupe No Reserve