Jade has been an important symbol in Chinese culture for over 7,000 years. It has traditionally been considered the most valuable stone in China, often commanding higher prices than gold or silver. A Chinese saying states, “Gold has a value, but jade is invaluable.”
The balance of beauty and hardness found in jade was thought to represent a perfect balance of yin and yang. Jade was often called the Stone of Heaven and believed to have magical properties. Jewelry made with jade was supposed to protect the wearer from bad luck, illness, or evil spirits. To this day, Chinese babies are often given a small jade bangle to ward of bad luck.
In the 5th century BC, Confucius described the eleven virtues that jade represents, including purity, grace, beauty, intelligence, and justice.
In modern China, jade is valued both for its beauty and it connection to Chinese culture. Many families have at least one piece of jade jewelry, often a bangle or pin passed down from mother to child.