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Jades are extremely hard stones ( 6.5 to 7.0 ). They were shaped and carved using ropes and bamboo with grains of sand. The piece was coated with sand which was rubbed back and forth with the rope or bamboo to slowly wear away the stone. A single piece could take months to produce. Today, modern diamond tipped tools, drills, and grinders make the job much quicker. The art of Jade carving has been in existence in China since 3500 BC. The most famous Jade works were produced in Suzhou, which still produces some of the finest Jade and Stone carvings in the world. Nephrite Jade that was used by the Chinese came from East Turkistan. Throughout history, China has gained and lost control of that region which had greatly affected the supply and quality available to the craftsmen. During the periods of low supply, smaller pieces were produced. Craftsmen were required to produce Snuff Bottles using very low quality Jade, much of which had off-color inclusions. These inclusions were frequently worked into the design of the piece. Many of these low grade pieces are extremely valuable today. Jade ranges in color from pure white to black, and pale yellow to dark green. It has a very creamy appearance, and has always been considered more valuable in Chinese society than any other substance. Jadeite is very similar to Jade in appearance, however it is a completely different substance. It is harder, more translucent, and has a crystalline structure. Jadeite is found in all the colors of Jade, but also in shades of purple and blue. Most of the Jadeite used in China comes from Burma. New Jade and Serpentine Jade is basically anything that might pass for Jade...but isn't

Semi-Precious Gems

Quartz is a hard crystalline stone. It is found in many varieties and referred to by many names. We will discuss the most common ones here. Amethyst is a pink to purple variety of Quartz. The typical color is a rich, dark violet. Most pieces made from Amethyst have sections of light and dark. Most of the Amethyst used in China came from parts of the Soviet Union. Rose Quartz is similar in color to lighter examples of Amethyst but has a very cloudy appearance which quickly distinguishes it. Rose Quartz is mainly comes from Brazil, The US, and Madagascar. Colorless Quartz ( Rock Crystal ) is the most common of all Quartz. This type is usually crystal clear and almost indistinguishable from glass in some of the examples. Some Rock Crystal contains prisms of black tourmaline. This variety is referred to as Bristle Crystal or Hair Crystal. Hair Crystal is much more difficult to carved because it is more brittle and has a tendency to split, which make these snuff bottles more valuable. Chalcedony is quartz that contains other organic material. It is found in almost every color imaginable. Many of the colors of Chalcedony have their own names. They include Jasper, Onyx, and Agate. Jasper can be found with several different colors throughout a single piece, whereas Agate and Onyx typically are solid colored or repeated lines of two colors. Chalcedony is generally shades of brown. Lapis Luzuli is the most valuable of all opaque hard stones. It is a rich deep blue color with flecks of gold colored pyrite, and white and gray veins. The best quality Lapis Luzuli is found only in the Ural Mountains in Afghanistan. This is where the Chinese brought it from. Serpentine is a translucent, light green stone very similar in appearance to Jade. In fact it is frequently referred to and sold as Serpentine Jade or New Jade. Serpentine is native to China and Korea. This is probably why many objects made in China are made from this rather than imported Jade. Malachite is one of the easiest stones to identify, with its sharply contrasting layers of different shades of green. A snuff bottles could have as many as 20 different layers or stripes. The Malachite used in China comes primarily from the Soviet Union. As far as stones go, it has a relatively low value, but still makes an attractive addition to your collection.


 

The Great Wall of China The Forbidden City
The Terracotta Army Along the Silk Road
 
Dragon & Phoenix ~ Silk Embroidery
Silk Embroidery
Gold Leaf Painted ~ 10 Inch Turnip Vase
Gold Leaf Lacquer
Pair of 10 Inch Closionne Vases
Cloisonne
Pair of Brass Foo Dogs
Brass & Bronze
Inside Painted Boxes
 
 

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