Produced in the Qilian Mountains of Gansu, it is also known as Qilian Jade. It belongs to the serpentine family jade. Translucent, mostly green, with uniform black spots. The hardness is 4.5 to 5 degrees. The mining history of Jiuquan jade can be traced back to the Neolithic Age. The exquisite jade wall of the Qi family culture unearthed at the Niangniangtai site in Wuwei was made from Jiuquan jade.
It is named because the main producing area is in Xiuyan, Liaoning, and is also called Xiuyu. It is a serpentine, formed in the metamorphic marble of magnesian carbonate rock. There are many mineral deposits in this kind of geological environment in our country, so there are many producing areas similar to Xiuyu. The appearance of Xiuyu is blue-green and yellow-green. Translucent, waxy luster after polishing, hardness of 3.5 to 5 degrees. The jade material used in the Hongshan Culture in the Neolithic Age was produced in the Xiyugou within the territory of Xiuyan. It is commonly known as old jade and is a tremolite nephrite. Most of the jade materials unearthed from the Fuhao Tomb of the Shang Dynasty are similar to the Xiuyan jade produced in the Wagou mine in Xiuyan. Wagon Mine has a long history of uranium and jade mining and has abundant reserves. It is currently the main jade mining area in my country, and its output accounts for about 60% of the country.
Produced in Lantian County, Shaanxi Province. Lantian jade is yellow, light green, opaque, and has a hardness of 4 Mohs. It is serpentinized diopside. Lantian jade has a long history of mining, and it can be found in Hanshu, Zhang Heng, and Ban Gu. There are still jade mines in production. Due to the small output, after the Han Dynasty, Hetian jade was adopted as the jade material everywhere. Therefore, the mining and application of Lantian jade are gradually lost. Even Song Yingxing of the Ming Dynasty said in “Heavenly Creations” that Lantian was the alias of Congling (Kunlun Mountain), and Lantian was the place for storage and transportation of jade. The geology department once inspected the Lantian jade that is still mined. According to the research conducted by Yi Bingo, vice chairman of the Gem Association, the large-scale “animal face jade auxiliary head” unearthed near Maoling in Xianyang, Shaanxi Province was made of Lantian jade.
The mining area of Nanyang Jade is located in Dushan, Nanyang County, Henan Province, also known as “Dushan Jade” for short as “Dushan Jade”. Nanyang jade is a plagioclase jade with fine texture, pure, grease or glass luster, good polishing performance, transparent or slightly transparent. The hardness is 5.5 to 6.5 degrees. Nanyang jade is a multi-color jade. Commonly composed of two or more tones composed of multi-color jade with bright colors, they are called: water white jade, white jade, black white jade, green jade, green-white jade, sky blue jade, jade, sapphire, purple jade, bright brown jade, topaz, Huang Rongyu, Black Jade and Variegated Jade, etc. Nanyang jade mining has a long history. The Neolithic Longshan culture jade ax unearthed in Shimao, Shenmu, Shaanxi, the Yinxu jade found in 1952, and the jade unearthed in the Tomb of Fuhao in 1976 have all found examples of Nanyang jade as a jade material. The Yuan Dynasty Dushan jade urn, which is now displayed in Tuancheng in Beihai, was also made of Nanyang jade. According to the literature, the mining of Nanyang jade has been on a considerable scale in the Han Dynasty. There are still more than 1,000 ancient jade mining pits on Dushan Mountain, which shows the long history and scale of Nanyang jade mining. The reserves of Nanyang jade are quite abundant, and large-scale production can still be formed.
Distributed in Xinjiang Shache-Taxkorgan, Hotan-Khotan, and Qiemo County on the northern slope of the Kunlun Mountains stretching for 1,500 kilometers, there are nine producing areas. The mineral composition of Hetian jade is mainly tremolite-actinolite and contains traces of diopside, serpentine, graphite, magnet, and other minerals. It forms white, turquoise, black, yellow, and other different colors. Most are monochromatic jade, and a few have variegated colors. The jade is semi-transparent and has a greasy luster after polishing, with a hardness of 5.5 to 6.5. Hetian jade is born in rocks at an altitude of 3500 meters to 5000 meters. After a long period of weathering, it was broken into pieces of varying sizes, which fell on the hillside, and then flowed into the river after being washed by rain. When the river dries up in autumn, the jade blocks collected in the riverbed are called seed jade, and the mountain materials mined in the rock formations. The earliest jade made of Hetian jade that has been discovered is from the tomb of Fuhao in Yinxu. After the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period, Hetian jade gradually became the main jade material, all of which were collected for seed materials, and mountain materials began to be mined in the Qing Dynasty. The sapphire material weighing more than 10,700 catties, which was cut by Dayu to control the water during the Qianlong period of the Qing Dynasty, was collected from the Millet Mountain.
The economic value of Hetian jade is evaluated based on the purity of color and texture. The main varieties are:
1) White Jade: Contains more than 95% of diorite, white in color, pure, delicate, and moisturizing in texture. It is a high-quality variety of Hetian jade. During the prosperous periods of the Han, Song, and Qing dynasties, great attention was paid to the selection of materials, and high-quality white jade was often carved as “heavy tools”.
2) Suet white jade: the top grade among white jade, the texture is pure and delicate and contains 99% tremolite, and the color is white with a condensed luster like fat. With the same weight of jade, its economic value is several times that of white jade. In the Han Dynasty, Song Dynasty, and Qianlong period of Qing Dynasty, mutton white jade was highly regarded.
3) Sugar jade: Iron oxide penetrates into the tremolite to form a red husk of different shades, the dark red is “sugar jade”, “tiger skin jade”, and the white and slightly pink “powder jade”. Sugar jade is often combined with white jade or plain jade to form two-color jade, which can be used to make “pretty jade”. A snuff bottle made of sugar jade husk and seed material is called “gold wrapped in silver” to increase value.
4) Moyu: The tremolite is black with graphite and magnet components. Ink jade is mostly gray or gray-black jade with black markings in it. It is named “dark cloud piece, light ink light, golden mink whisker, beauty temple” and so on. The dense black spots are called pure pitch black, and their value is higher than other black jade varieties. Ink jade has a waxy luster and is not suitable for carving because of its uneven color. It is mostly used to make utensils inlaid with gold and silver threads.
5) Jasper: Produced in Zhungeer Jade Mine, also known as Tianshan Jasper. It is gray-green, dark green, and dark green, with pure dark green as the top grade. The quality is inferior to those with dark spots, dark spots, or jade tendons. Jasper contains more than 85% tremolite, has a fine texture, translucent, and a greasy luster. It is a mid-range jade.
6) Cyan white jade: The texture is not significantly different from that of white jade, except that the white jade has a faint turquoise green color. It is the third-grade jade material of Hetian jade, and its economic value is slightly inferior to white jade.
7) Sapphire: Sapphire is called sapphire in light cyan, turquoise, and grayish-white, with uniform color and fine texture, containing 89% tremolite and 6% actinolite. Greasy gloss. It has abundant reserves and is the main variety used in the collection or mining of jade in the past dynasties.
8) Topaz: The substrate is white jade, which forms a yellowish tint in the crevices due to the long-term infiltration of iron oxide in surface water. According to the change of chromaticity, it is named dense wax yellow, millet yellow, okra yellow, yellow flower yellow, egg yolk, etc. Dense wax yellow and okra yellow with strong chroma are extremely rare, and their value can be as good as mutton white jade. In the Qing Dynasty, because topaz was a homonym for “emperor”, it was extremely rare, and its economic value was once more than that of mutton white jade.