I hope you will find things among my random thoughts that resonate with you and yours. I'd love to read your reactions in the Comments, and I'll be sure to visit you in return. Best regards, Mary

Friday, April 11, 2014

J is for Jade, not Just for Jewelry

Most Beautiful and Perhaps most Versatile of All Minerals.

I love jade. I have just three pieces, a bangle (bracelet carved entirely from one piece of jade), an intricately carved pendant (very special gift) and one earring. They are my treasures and I hope to add to them one day. 

This plentiful, carvable substance is simply a rock, not just one ornamental rock but two silicate minerals: nephrite and jadeite. From there it gets complicated, but it's enough to know that jade in one form or another has been treasured and carved since prehistoric times. Its uses vary from ornaments to knives, bowls to animal figures, and there are even a few complete buildings made of jade. 

Although ancient jade relics are found on virtually every continent much of what we know about its early use comes from China. And despite this widespread appearance in earliest times Wikipedia has only sparse information about it. Other sources tell us that the history of jade in China goes back to the Neolithic period, about 5000 BC, where it became an integral part of the culture itself. It was valued not only for its beautiy but was likened to every possible virtue. That was detailed explicitly in teachings of Confcius and thus became a permanent part of the culture.

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Yes, all those stones are jade. It's not just green. It is found in virtually every color possible.

Jade can be carved into the most intricate and delicate designs and figures imaginable.
Those below are from China.


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Now that I understand the legality of using pictures from the internet I was disappointed to find that I could not share the best with you. 

So I recommend an internet tour of sites about jade in different countries. In addtion to fascinating information, I think you will enjoy seeing such finds as the primitive Pre-Columbian carvings from South America, delightfully sophisticated ones by Maoris in New Zealand, and surprisingly beautiful creations from Russia - including lots of skulls from Siberia.