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    

C.1900 Chinese Silver Jade And Enamel Bracelet In Original BoxFine Old Chinese Carved White Jade Bat Boys Necklace Pendant Plaque Wood StandVintage Estate Chinese Solid 14k Gold Celadon Jadeite Jade Bangle BraceletBest Large Carved White Jade Hairpin Ming Dynasty Ex. Seoul Museum, South Korea.V.fine Large 19c Chinese Qing Cloisonne Enamel White Jade Plaque Desk Table BoxVintage Chinese Export 14k Gold Apple Green Jade Jadeite Carved Pendant Nr RbbFine Art Deco Jade And Diamond Gold RingArt Deco Gold On Silver Genuine Green Carved Jade Drop Screwback EarringsFine Old Chinese Carved Green Jade 14k Gold Panel Dangle Drop Pierced EarringsLot Of 6 Small Old White Celadon Two Part Jade Belt Buckles Buttons FlowersAuthentic Tiffany & Co Elsa Peretti Spain 18k Yellow Gold Jade Cabochon Necklace1920s 2 Rare Steuben Glass Alabaster Green Jade Acid Cut Dragon Ginger Jar Vase14k Yellow Gold Green Jade Hinged Bangle BraceletAmazing Antique Chinese Apple Green White Jade Jadeite Crane Bird W Lotus FigureFine Antique Chinese Jade 18ct Gold RingVintage Jadeite Jade Bangle Bracelet With 14k GoldExceptional Chinese Carved Natural White Lavender Jade Jadeite Imperial MaidensVery Fine Chinese Carved Jade Stone Pierced Dragon Figural Lidded Censer VaseFine Old Chinese Carved Pierced Wood Taotie Foot Stand For Porcelain Jade VaseAntique Chinese Gilt Export Silver Carved Jade Amethyst Brooch Pin 2 5/8" ChinaFine Rare Chinese Ming Qing Dynasty White Jade Buffalo Form Libation Ryhton CupVintage Jomaz Joseph Mazer Gold Plate Rhinestone Jade Art Glass Buddha BroochAntique Chinese Carved Green Jade Coin 14k Gold Ring (01181526))14k Yellow Gold Jade Chinese Fortune Happiness Luck Link BraceletVintage Green Cared Jade Pendant With 14k Gold BaleVintage 14k Yellow Gold Translucent Green Jade Bangle 8.0 Mm Thick 36.8 GramsSuperbly Carved Chinese Celadon Jade Lidded Vase W Gourd Tree FoliageVery Fine 16/17c Chinese Ming Dynasty Carved Jade Mythical Fu Lion Bixie FigureAntique Art Deco Diamond Jade 14k White & Yellow Gold Ring Size 10Superb Chinese Carved Celadon Jade Elephant Figure Scholars Water Pot BowlLot Of (2) Vintage 1970's 14k Gold Carved Lavender & Green Jade PendantsMing's Hawaii 14k Vintage 1960's Plum Blossom Black Jade Bead Necklace - 37" Vintage Imperial Green Jade Pendant With 14k Gold BaleVintage 1960's 14k Yellow Gold Golden Jadeite Jade Bead Necklace - 19.25" LengthV Fine Chinese Carved Icy Green Jade Jadeite Lidded Vase W Crane Birds Peaches Veryfine Chinese Carved Celadon Jade Elephant W Figures Clouds Bats Silver StandAntique Chinese Carved Gilded Bronze Buckle Jade, Natural Pearls & Pink GemstoneChinese Natural Pebble Shaped Russet-skinned Light Celadon Jade Snuff Bottle #4Kupittaan Kulta Finland Vintage Green Jade Sterling Silver Pendant Necklace Jade & Gold Necklace-beaded-10k-18 Inch-vintage-asian-graduated-nr!A Super&original 19c. Chinese Jade Holder With AccessoryAmazing 18/19thc Chinese Carved Natural White Jade Elephant Figural PendantVintage Estate 14 K / 585 Yellow Gold Green Jade Saddle Ring 7 Gram Size 714k Jade Pendant & Necklace Peach Carving Pendant Fine Grain Carving 24" Long Fine 19thc Chinese Qing Dynasty White Hetian Jade Bird Gourd Fruit PendantVintage Art Deco Sterling Carved Jade Jadeite Filigree Pendant NecklaceVtg 49g Bold 1940's Jade Leaf Mexico Mexican Sterling Silver NecklaceVintage 14k Yellow Gold & Green Jade Dangle Hoop Pierced EarringsAn Antique Chinese Natural Red Coral Jade Jadeite Necklace With Hand Carved Man Light Green Jade Bangle With 14k GoldVintage Hong Kong .50ct Natural A Grade Imperial Jadeite Jade 24k .999 Gold RingSuperb Chinese Carved Jade Imperial Maiden With Root Form Table Mirror Carving18k Yellow Gold Flower Leaf Blossom Open Filigree Jade Donut Pendant EnhancerVintage Large Lavender Jade Pendant With 14 K GoldAntique Chinese Jade Belt Hook Carved Dragon Silver China 19th C Letter OpenerExquisite Big Vtg Chinese Hand Carved Pierced Red Jade 14k Gold Pendant! Vi513Gia Certified Vintage 14k Gold Beautiful Jade Jadeite Filigree Bird PendantAntique Chinese 14k Yellow Gold & Green Imperial Jadeite Jade BraceletFine Old Chinese Carved Pierced Wood Stand For Vase Jade Or Scholar Art Fine Complete Set Chinese Jade Jadeite Lapis Lazuli Agate Musical Instrument Set