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    

Antique Chinese 19th Century Natural Coral Bead & Carved Jade Pendant NecklaceChinese Antique Jade:ming Dynasty White Jade,Antique Victorian Jade 14k Gold Flower Drop Pendant NrNice Antique Chinese Mirror With Carved Jade Belt Hook And Jade PlaqueVintage Imperial Green Jade 14k White Gold Wedding Band Finely Carved Old Chinese Celadon Jade Brush Washer With Flowers And BatStunning Antique / Vintage Carved Jade, Enamel, Silver & Gold? Earrings Nr!Nice Antique Chinese Carved Jade Citron Form Snuff BottleChinese Covered Wood Box With Old Carved Jade Plaque With OpenworkAntique Chinese 28 Ct Natural Pink Tourmaline Green Jade Necklace (11161412)Old Chinese Carved Gourd Form Jade Snuff Bottle With Green And Russet Old Chinese Enameled Silver Covered Box With JadeFine 19th C.- 20th C. Chinese Natural Sea Coral Bead Necklace, Gold-jade ClaspVintage Estate Natural 2.07ct Undyed Untreated Imperial Green Jade 14k Gold RingStriking Oriental Chinese Carved Jade Dog Design Inkwell / Scent Bottle - Hj R2718th Chinese Antique White JadeVintage Green Carved Jade Simi Translucent Double Sided Fish 1" By 1-1/4" 14kAntique Chinese 18th /19th Century Pale Celadon & Russet Jade Snuff Bottle FruitFine Chinese White Jade Carving Of Figure With Dragon On StandRare Estate Natural 8.00ctw Untreated Undyed Lavender Jadeite Jade 14k Gold RingRare! Vintage Mings Carved Apple Green Natural Jadeite Jade 14k Ring Orig. Box Vintage Green Jade And Pearl Pea Pod Pendant 14k Gold Top 1-5/8" By 1/2"Exceptional Antique Shallow Carved White Jade Snuff Bottle W FruitAntique Green Jade 14k Yellow Gold Oval Filigree Ring NrChinese Export Silver Filigree Bracelet W/ Enamel Flowers & Carved Jade 7" Vintage Green Jade Flower Style 14k Yellow Gold Pin 1-5/8" By 1" 5.1 GramsGenuine Antique Chinese 18th/19th C Qing Carved White Jade Ruyi Hair Pin7.50 Ct Fine Green Jade & Pearl Ring 14k Yellow Gold Natural Cabochon Cut EstateFine Old Chinese Carved Jade Jadeite Snuff Bottle With Great ColorImportant And Very Large Antique Chinese Carved Zitan Wood Box With JadeAntique Chinese 24k Yellow Gold Mounted Carved Green Jade Saddle Ring, C.1900Heavy Antique Natural Carved Jade BraceletAntique Art Deco Natural Grade A Jadeite Jade & Rock Crystal Bead Necklace 14kN/r Vintage 14k Yellow Gold Jade EarringsFine Old Chinese Silver White Jade Carnelian Medallion Stick Pin Hair OrnamentArt Deco 9ct Gold Coral Green Jade Single Row Ladies NecklaceEstate $7000 7ct Natural Apple Green Jade Vs D Diamond 18k Gold Ring19th C.- 20th C. Chinese Silver Gilt Cased Jade With Coral And Turquois Necklace14k Gold Beautiful .64ct Diamond/15.3 X 12.2mm Lavender Jade Cocktail RingAntique Gilt Metal Mounted Chinese Langyao Water Pot With Nice Jade PendantAntique Vintage Chinese Apple Jade Jadeite Beads Necklace Silver ClaspNice Chinese Antique Carved Jade Snuff Bottle Of Gourd And BatHuge Extra-large 48ctw Purple Lavender Cabochon Jade 14kt Yellow Gold Pendant Antique Chinese Export Hand Carved Green Spinach Jade Scholar's Stone SculptureEstate $10000 30ct Genuine Apple Green Jade Vs F Diamond 18k White Gold BraceletBeautiful Old Chinese Carved Jade Snuff Bottle With Lime Green And LavenderVintage Estate Natural 4.51ctw Imperial Jade And Diamond 18k Gold Cocktail RingChinese Letter Opener With Large Antique Carved Jade Belt HookVintage 1950s 14k Gold Wire Wrapped Carved Nephrite Jade Hinged Bangle Bracelet18th Chinese Antique JadeIncredible And Intricately Embellished Antique Chinese Collar W Jade Silver EtcVintage Bell Shape 14k Yellow Gold Green Jade Earrings Screw On 1-3/8" By 3/8"14kt Yel Gold 9.7ctw Cabochon Purple Lavender Jade Amethyst Ring Asian ChineseVntg~14k Gold-translucent Green~chinese Jade/jadeite~hinged Bangle Bracelet~60gAntique Victorian 15ct Gold Green Jade Oak Leaf & Acorn Stickpin Brooch, Boxed.N/r Vintage Finely Carved Jadeite Jade Pendant With 18k GoldChinese Jade Carved MushroomN/r Large Vintage 22k Gold Green Jade Heart 1-1/2" X 1-1/8" 11.2 Grams1950s Jumbo Heavy 14k Gold Carved Jade Buddha PendantAntique Chinese 18th /19th Century Caramel Jade Snuff Bottle Bats Well Hollowed