When most people hear the word “jade”, they imagine a beautiful green stone, and might know that it (mostly) comes from Eastern Asia. But beyond that, many folks know little else about the precious stone.
We think the history behind jade, its trade and how it became popular in a global market is fascinating, though! So, in honor of our favorite stone, here are some fun facts about how it made the journey to becoming what it is today:
Jade in Ancient Culture
Stemming as far back as approximately 5000 BCE, jade was known to be used in Chinese ritual ceremonies. The people who lived there in those days cherished and respected it for its strength and beauty, among many other reasons. They used jade for spiritual purposes and believed that they could communicate with various deities through possessing it. Because of such a strong connection to the stones among early dwellers of China, it’s no surprise that it has become engrained in modern culture there.
Jade and the Xia and Yin Dynasties
While jade dated back to before 1700 BCE was discovered near the Yangtze River, it was around then, during the Xia Dynasty, that Chinese culture saw a major uptick in crafts made from the stone. During those days, most of the jade objects created were relics for the Emperor.
But it was during Yin Dynasty (C. 1550 BCE) that jade began to be used for other purposes—most relevantly to us, to create jewelry. In other words, our jade rings are the product of an over 3,000-year-old history!
Qing Dynasty: the Shift to Green
Most people imagine green when they think of jade, but it wasn’t until relatively recently, during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911 CE) that it surpassed white in general popularity. Until then, China hadn’t much ventured into mining the stone in other territories, and a bright green color was hard to be found. But during the 18th and 19th centuries, the Chinese began mining it in neighboring Myanmar (also known as Burma), and green was readily abundant there. Once jade became widely available, it quickly dominated as the preferred color, which holds true to this day.
Jade’s rich legacy in China continues to live on and thrive. It is still one of the most carved hardstones there, and modern Chinese people relate it to beauty and longevity (much like their ancestors did). It also remains popular because of its overall versatility to be used for different functions, and its availability in a multitude of colors (unlike most other precious stones).
When you’re perusing our online store, fully stocked with discount jade jewelry, we hope this information helps you better understand the stone behind the jewelry that you’re considering purchasing. We think its history is beautiful and important, and if nothing else, we’re glad to share the fascinating legacy of the thing we love with you!