Starting with the name “Jade”; Spanish conquistadors started wearing the green rocks of the Maya to cure their kidney disease. They gave the rock remedy the name “piedra de ijada”; translating into “stone of the loins”. Possibly an error labeling the imported stone to Europe changed the name from “piedra de ijada” to “le Jade”. The name “le Jade” or in english “Jade”, stuck and is now the most widely used name for jade.
In China, jade is translated into “Yu”. The word “Yu” can also be used to describe anything beautiful; like a “yu” women or a “yu” sunset. China”s jade history starts more than 5,000 years ago when metals were not yet invented. Jade”s durability and toughness are unmatched when it comes to a natural material for human use. Jade was the best material to use for tools and weapons because of its interlocking fibrous structure making it as tough as steel and harder. Jade was the perfect choice for weapons, tools, ritual uses including carvings, and later on; jade jewelry. New Zealand”s “Maori”, The “Maya”, The “Aztecs”, ” The Olmec”, ancient
Swiss, Europeans, and the Chinese all chose jade as their most valuable stone valuing it more than gold. Jade”s beauty and toughness has endured in humanity and today jade carvings and jade jewelry are still prized and sought after.
In the late 1700″s, China started importing goods from Burma(now Myanmar). The stone received by the Chinese; Burmese Jadeite, catalyzed a major shift in China”s jade heritage. From the 1700″s on, imported Burmese Jadeite was revered more than the original “nephrite” jade of China and unfortunately still is today. Currently, British-columbian jade mines have been supplying most of China”s nephrite. China”s white imperial jade was and still is collected in the White and Black Jade rivers of the Kunlun Mountains, but after Jadeite was imported; all imperial jades were now made from Burma”s Jadeite. Imported jade from Burma or British-Columbia now make up most of China”s jade supply.
In 1863, a french scientist by the name of Alexis Damour found the difference between ancient Chinese jade artifacts and new jade carvings. He catorgarized the new “Burmese” jade as Jadeite and continued the name “nephrite” jade for ancient Chinese artifacts. Differing in structure and chemical make-up; Jadeite and Nephrite, are both technically “Jade”.
The Olmec, Maya, and Aztecs all revered jade(jadeite) and held it Netti casinoilla videopokeri on suosituin peli heti hedelmapelien jalkeen. as there most valuable possession. Three major cultures in Central America used Jadeite from one source, the Motogua Valley in Guatemala. From the book “Jade” by Fred Ward, “Seeking a
conciliatory gesture to avert impending conflict, Moctezuma told Cortes he wanted to present some very valuable stones for the Spanish King. Moctesuma supposedly exhorted “These are chalchinuites, not to be given to anyone but your king. Each is worth two loads of gold.” Cortes was not impressed, but he did at least send them toward Spain. Unfortunately the jades never arrived. French pirates hijacked the three treasure ships carrying them and precious metals. But the Aztec sense of value survives. Moctezuma had sent a message much like Confucious: gold has value, jade is priceless.”
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Today, Jade is still carved and revered in China, British-Columbia, USA, and New Zealand. New Zealand is the hub of contemporary jade art. Starting with the Maori, traditional carving has lead to today”s new age jade artists crafting fine jade carvings and jewelry. New Zealander”s and Maori use their local jade called “Greenstone”, which is now controlled by the Maori tribe. Kiwi carvers are unique because they have broken from the traditional mold of “Maori” or “Chinese” form; today”s carvers choose their own designs.
In the future, Jade will still serve a purpose of longevity, beauty, and meaning. Symbols
and forms carved into jade will forever cement new and ancient values. Tomorrows jade carvers can use traditions in new forms, new expressions, and new concepts furthering humanity”s creativity and values.
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