Jade calls to mind the art and culture of the Chinese Empire. The few pieces I own are from China-the Mr.’s grandparents were married in Hong Kong prior to World War I, and we have been fortunate enough to preserve some of the items they acquired during their time in that part of the world.
I am especially fond of this geisha formed in the dark green jade. There is still a huge demand/market for jade in Hong Kong where jade markets thrive and auctions of jade bring enthusiastic crowds. Antique dealers are always looking for the everyday items with a bit of jade: jewelry, snuff boxes, cigarett holders, small bowls and rings. I love the little geisha figure-the draping of her wrap, her face, her hair and the flow of her gown-glad someone looked at a hunk of jade and saw her in it.
In addition to its general beauty, jade is deemed a symbol of good fortune, wisdom, justice and compassion. The Mayas and Aztecs esteemed it more highly than gold. The spanish thought this green mineral they harvested was, if not a cure, at least a remedy for kidney ailments. Thus, the name lapis nephrituicus-eventually becoming “nephrite” to identify this particular type of jade-the other type is simply “jadeite.” In China both types are regarded as genuine jade-it wasn’t until we got all techy that it was discovered that, while very similar in color, appearance, hardness, the chemical composition for the two types differ. One big difference in the two types-jadeite is rarer and somewhat tougher. The jade piece pictured is jadeite-I discovered that the other pieces we own are nephrite-they are lighter in color and not the deep, emerald green most often associated with jade.
I was blown away to learn that jade is not always just jade. Did you know the difference and I am late to the jade game?
The Minneapolis Institute of Art has an exquisite collection of Asian artifacts-I will pay particualar attention to the jade collection the next time I go.
Do you have any jade? Do you even like jade? or have you become “jaded”!