Jade Lucky Stones – Mysticism and Jade Luck Abound /2
Prehistoric and Early Historic Korea3
The use of jade and other greenstone was a long-term tradition in Korea (c. 850 BC – AD 668). Jade is found in small numbers of pit-houses and burials.
The craft production of small comma-shaped and tubular “jades” using materials such as jade, microcline, jasper, etc., in southern Korea originates from the Middle Mumun Pottery Period (c. 850–550 BC).
Comma-shaped jades are found on some of the gold crowns of Silla royalty (c. AD 300/400–668) and elite burials of the Korean Three Kingdoms. After the state of Silla united the Korean Peninsula in AD 668, death rituals related to Buddhism became widespread.
It resulted in the decline of the use of jade in burials as prestige ornaments.
Nephrite jade in New Zealand, known as pounamu in the Maori language (often called “greenstone” in New Zealand English) has an important role in Maori culture. It is considered a taonga, or treasure, and therefore protected under the Treaty of Waitangi. Exploitation of it is restricted and closely monitored. It is found only in the South Island of New Zealand.
These were believed to have their own mana, handed down as valuable heirlooms, and often given as gifts to seal important agreements.
Nephrite jewelry of Maori design is widely popular with locals and tourists, although some of the jade used for these is now imported from British Columbia and elsewhere.
Jade was a rare and valued material in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica. The only source from which the various indigenous cultures, such as the Olmec and Maya, could obtain jade was located in the Motagua River valley in Guatemala.
Jade was largely an elite good, and was usually carved in various ways, whether used as a medium which hieroglyphs were inscribed on, or shaped into symbolic figurines. Generally, jade was highly symbolic, and was often used in ideological rituals.
Faux Jade / Fake Jade
A stone can be readily identified as either a jadeite or nephrite gemstone by a specialized jade dealer. As most jewelers have little or sparse knowledge about jade, jade should only be purchased from vendors who specialize in jade.
Unlike the diamond industry, which has a central recognized authority that controls price and availability, known as DeBeers, there is no such recognized authority for other gemstones. As a result, stones represented as jade, even in high end jewelry stores, may often reflect poor quality.
Such stones may have color treatment to enhance appearance. They are priced at the same level as other high-end jewelry. This is not in any way commensurate with the quality of the jade stone being represented. As a result, many minerals are sold as jade.Unlike the typical high end jeweler, specialized jade dealers can provide the scientific name of specific “jade” stones upon request. Other high-end jewelers’ clerks who sell faux jades may be unaware that multiple types of stones are sold under that name.
Chinese and Korean Confusion about Jade
In almost all dictionaries, the Chinese character yù is translated into English as “jade”. However, this frequently leads to misunderstanding: Chinese, Koreans, and Westerners alike generally fail to appreciate the cultural concept of jade is considerably broader in China and Korea than in the West. A more accurate translation for this character on its own would be “precious/ornamental rock”. It is seldom if ever used on its own to denote “true” jade in Mandarin Chinese.
The Chinese names for many ornamental non-jade rocks also incorporate the character yù. Most native speakers understand that such stones are not, in fact, true precious nephrite or jadeite. Even so, for commercial reasons, the names of such stones may well be translated into English as “jade”. This practice continues to confuse the unwary and is something to consider when purchasing jade. Is it really jade you are purchasing?
Jade may be enhanced (sometimes called “stabilized”). Note that some merchants will refer to these as Grades, but degree of enhancement is different from color and texture quality. There are three main methods of enhancement, sometimes referred to as the ABC Treatment System.
* Some text from Wikipedia