What’s in a name? Isn’t green what comes to your mind first? I came across surprising facts about jade after contacting the largest mining operation in B.C. for an article about shopping for Jade in Vancouver.
First, forget about Chinese jade, it belongs to the past. The reality is that China has exhausted its supply of good quality jade. It even recently banned mining. Meanwhile, in British Columbia, Canada, miners extract the best stone quality.
Historical documents indicate that Canadian jade had already made its way to China in the late 1800s. It makes sense: Chinese gold miners found and kept jade, considered worthless by European miners. It is suggested that the masterpiece “Dating Under the Moon” carved by Pan Bingheng, in 1930, is B.C. jade.
So you Think you Know about Jade?
The word “jade” is only the commercial name for green nephrite and jadeite. More facts:
• True: B.C. is the world largest supplier of jade.
• True: China is the world largest producer of jade ware.
• True again: If you buy jade in China, it could be Canadian jade, and if you buy jade in Canada, it was carved in China.
Jade is trucked from northern British Columbia as big rough boulders that are then shipped to China where it is increasingly in demand. There, skilled Chinese carvers transform it into jewelry, accessories and sculptures.
Dreaming of a Jade-tiled Bathroom?
True again: Now, might be the time to do it. China recently increased its tariffs on importation of B.C. jade. The consequence? Exporting jade of industrial-grade has become prohibitively costly. The result? Loads of it are waiting in Vancouver warehouses.
The Titanesque Task of Mining Jade
First, there is this…
Then, work begins and must be completed within a two-month snow-free window in the summer. It’s no walk in the park to get heavy equipment and supplies there: no paved roads, rivers to cross, turned over trucks, and bears.
Got one, let’s open it!
There it is: stunningly green… and what a catch, in 2001: This gemstone quality boulder was named Polar Pride. It was carved into the Buddha for Universal Peace.
En route for Vancouver Harbour, and then China…
Pendants such as those are born from boulders described by Fred Ward in the Lapidary Journal (1998) as “… the newest, brightest, most translucent, greenest, hardest nephrite yet discovered.” They are made of the highest quality of green nephrite (AA): Polar Jade. It is only sourced from the Polar Mine outside of Dease Lake.
Isn’t jade an amazing stone? Take a visual trip to Northern B.C. to discover how mining jade is a real adventure.