Jade is deeply appreciated in Asian culture as it is seen to bring benefits of health and good fortune. As the world gets smaller and luxury tourism thrives, jade is finding new markets in mainstream branded jewellery. Jade is a mineral used for ornaments and jewellery. The term jade applies to two minerals – nephrite and jadeite – and comes mainly from China, where it is greatly revered, Russia and the U.S.
Jade has a wide range of colours, from emerald green to all kinds of green shades, and even pink, purple, brown, red, orange, white and black.
The main markets for jade are in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Jade jewellery is prominent in the jewellery shops in Hong Kong. Shoppers can also find jade jewellery at the Jade Market in Hong Kong. The market has become very sophisticated and bargains are hard to find. Buyers beware of imitation jade passed off as genuine.
Culturally, jade in China is seen as giving benefits of health and good fortune. Some Chinese believe that jade contains trace elements that will protect the body after wearing it. Jade is thought to have protective, lucky-charm energy.
London-based Chinese jewellery designer Isabella Liu says: “Jade is a cultural symbol for the Chinese — just as the Japanese love pearls.” A Chinese jade jewellery owner said: “I received jade jewellery from my parents, as gifts bringing me peace, safety and good luck.
“The Chinese love jade for its purity, beauty, preciousness, and majesty.”
As Asian luxury shoppers increasingly roam the world, jade jewellery is becoming more widely available and is incorporated into collections of the leading global jewellery brands, such as Cartier. Digital retail from the brands also provides a myriad of shopping opportunities for jade jewellery.
Among current pieces, the Panthere De Cartier Necklace features the iconic Cartier panther, diamond-paved, set with black jade.
Hong Kong-based artist-jeweller Wallace Chan is celebrated for his jade jewellery pieces which are greatly sought after by connoisseur collectors.
In recent years Chan has raised his profile in the West, exhibiting at luxury shows in Europe, and among his pieces jade has been prominent.
He has patented a jade refining and brightening technique that sends light racing and pulsating along jade surfaces, enabling the green refractions to magnify each other and sharpen the colours.