When jade is found it comes inside stones, rocks and even boulders, and the value cannot be seen but only guessed upon and in fact it may not contain jade at all. One method of knowing is to strike the stone with a hammer or sledgehammer since a jade stone will rebound the hammer. Once ascertained that it is indeed jade a small window is cut into the stone and from this the expert dealers have to estimate or even guess at the value and quality within. They don’t always get it right. A Burmese taxi driver bought a jade stone for 23 U.S. dollars. He sold it on for 5000 U.S. dollars to a dealer who resold it for 23,000 U.S dollars. Once a stone is cut and the jade carved into the largest artifact it will allow, the smaller pieces are used for beads and rings and even the tiniest of pieces are ground up and combined with other ingredients to produce building materials said to promote a calm and peaceful environment in which to live or work.
Today Myanmar (Burma) is the largest exporter of jade, with some exports coming from Guatemala, New Zealand, Australia and a growing trade from Canada. Although jade is most commonly associated with China its supply is mostly exhausted and as few or no records are kept it is mostly impossible to tell where a piece of jade comes from.
The largest Jade boulder ever found is in Myanmar, estimated to weigh 3000 tons, it is buried forty feet underground and measures twenty-one meters by five meters by ten meters. There are many claims as to the largest jade carving. In Beijing there is a carving of a ship twenty feet long. In Anshan Temple, China, stands a Buddha eight meters tall weighing 260 tons. It took eighteen months and 120 sculptures to complete and is housed in a Temple building 33 meters high representing the 33 layers of heaven in Buddhism. A piece of gem-stone quality jade stone found in Canada has been carved into a 4 ton, seven feet high Buddha. Currently on display in Florida, it denotes peace and will be displayed around the world before permanently residing in Australia.
Because of its strength Jade, both Nephrite Jade and Jadeite, can be carved into the most intricate and exquisite designs depicting country scenes, dragons, herds of horses, beautiful rings, earrings or necklaces. Because of its antiquity, estimated at being 141-570 million years old, it is rising in value rapidly. Asian dealers are on a huge buy-back scheme very aggressively bidding on pieces turning up in auction rooms around the world. At Sotheby’s Auction House in Hong Kong recently a white jade seal valued at 6.4 million U.S. dollars sold for 12.29 million U.S. dollars. A small green jade elephant that sat in a bank vault for almost seventy years, valued at 150.000 pounds sterling, sold in a small English country auction house for 4.2 million pounds sterling.
What other gem holds such mystique? What other gem can be carved into such a large object and such a tiny artifact. It is valued for its artistic sentiment, its investment appreciation and its health giving benefits, bestowing calm and peace on its wearer. What other gemstone can hold its value when flawed? Some imperfect jade is all the more valuable because of it. Jade, a small piece of heaven bestowed upon mankind by the Gods.