History of Jade
Ancient Chinese are said to have celebrated any important occasion in the family by giving a small carving of jade and it is considered lucky to own a piece of jade or even bring better luck by receiving it.
Jade is believed to be the bridge between heaven and earth and also the connection between life and immortality. Most ancient carvings of jade are said to have been inspired from a mystic place in the heavens where it was used to speak to the Gods and every carving that was done was to symbolize obeisance to the Gods by the Imperial Court of China. Jade used to be entombed when someone died to prevent decomposition of the body. All jade carvings have a special meaning that symbolizes nature, with trees, flowers, rivers, mountains moon, sun, stars, thunder and lightening and even animal having their own special place.
Jade in the Modern world
The First thing to remember when you buy jade carvings is that all green colored carvings are not jade. They could be glass or plastic; and at times even dyed marble or soapstone. Sadly however, most people buy fake carvings under the impression that they are genuine jade. While normally all gemstones are evaluated according to the carat weight, jade is unique in this respect because it is the only one of its kind that is sold by the piece. In jade, what matters is the texture, color, clarity and how it has been carved and of course how good it looks to the buyer.
Apart from the fake jade there is also the low quality jade which even the Chinese reject as being of no value at all. Genuine, high quality jade is not easy to come by and very expensive. If someone is trying to sell you a jade carving for an unbelievably low price, don't be fooled. Buy jade only from a reputed source that will stand by his goods.
Ways of Testing and Clarifying Jade
Most people are unaware that jade is not always green. They are available in almost all the colors in the rainbow although its green that is most popular and highly valued. There are those who prefer the pure white jade which is rare and commands a very high price.
Authentic jade is clear and should not have any air bubbles trapped inside. If you see a jade carving that you like but have a few air bubbles, reject it because it can only be glass or plastic, Jade also has a very cool feel to it which can be felt when touched and takes some time to warm up. A good way of testing jade is by using the tip of your tongue to touch the carving; if it feels cool, then you have a piece of genuine jade in your hands.
A jade carving should be very smooth and without any flaws and bumps which you can feel with your fingers. If your finger nails scratches the surface, move away from the store, because they are selling fake jade, most probably soapstone.
A reputed jade merchant will show you the steel-knife test to assure you of the quality of his jade by using the blade to scratch the surface. A quality piece of jade will have no indentation which is absolute proof of the genuineness of the jade carving.
Jade does not fracture. If it fractures easily, it just cannot be jade.
In the same say, jade does not have a sparkle. If by chance your jade carving fractures (which cannot happen with genuine jade), and the broken piece has a glittery look, it is definitely not jade.
Jade when struck against another piece of jade will give out a clear musical sound that is even more sharp and silvery than the sound of tinkling glass. Jade indeed has a lovely sound and is said to have been used in the past in jade bells to ward off evil.
A genuine jade carving can be a great investment because of its ever increasing value. There are some antique jade carvings that are said to be priceless and it can be one of the most expensive stone in the modern world. Jade, it is said always appreciates while the really good jade appreciates even more rapidly. A Chinese proverb says it all "....sell all else, but keep your jade..."
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