The Chinese art of jade carving spans back over the centuries and truly an integral part of Chinese artistic heritage. Early on, it was believed that jade had positive spiritual powers that could “bring light to dark places”, and jade items were highly prized and sought out for use and display in the home. Jade has been carved into functional items like vases, censers, water droppers, and bowls as well as decorative objects such as figural statues, animal forms, plants and flowers. Smaller items such as pendants and “fingering” sculptures were also often carved from jade. Jade generally ranges in color from a pale celadon green to a fine white color and as dark as “spinach green,” and even black. Yellow jade is prized for its rarity. Jade typically has a hardness of 6.5-7.0 on Moh’s scale, and typically has a waxy or frosted lustre.
Jadeite is a stone similar in composition to jade, however, the range of colors that jadeite is found in is truly much greater than that of jade. Jadeite is mined in Myanmar and slightly harder stone than jade, having a hardness of approximately 7.0-7.5 on Moh’s scale. Items carved in jadeite were typically made later than those carved in jade as people only began mining jadeite during the late 19th century.
A great deal of confusion exists among the common population about what stones that are often referred to as jade are truly jade (nephrite). This is due to the fact that high demand for the stone pushed jewelers and designers to establish trade names for other, more readily available green stones that would confuse buyers. For example, serpentine – another stone – is often referred to as “new jade.”
There is a great concern too about the possibility of new reproduction items being falsely represented as antique. As there is no way to test jade for its age, it is a dealer’s responsibility to make sure that the pieces they are buying are high quality and truly antique. While mistakes can be made, we strive to make sure that the items we procure and present for sale are genuine. And please feel free to browse our Hartman Rare Art eBay Store.