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  1. #1
    us
    Dec 2004
    Long Island New York
    White's XLT
    1,894
    24 times

    Chunk of jade sells for record high

    On Saturday, a piece of raw jade was auctioned off at a record high bid of 1.51 million yuan (US$201,500) at the Beijing International Exhibition Center.

    The unpolished, white jade stone (Lot 4078), weighing 3.6 kilograms, was estimated to be 500,000 yuan (US$6,700).

    The "Jade Mountain Floating Clouds" (Yu Lei Fu Yun) Auction was the first time bidders battled it out for more than 300 top-quality chunks of unrefined jade in China.

    The pieces were procured from Hotan, in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, according to Ba Zhenyu of Beijing Boguan International Auctions, the largest auction house in China specializing in jade.

    Over the past two decades, the value of jade from the region has reportedly increased 1,000-fold, and the increasingly skyward bids issued at auctions in recent years have indicated a growing interest in jadeware collection, says Hou Yancheng, a jade collector, cultural heritage appraiser and director of China Research Society of Ancient Jadeware.

    At the 2007 Sotheby's Hong Kong autumn auction, which concluded on October 9, the 6-centimeter "Tai Shang Huang Di" White Jade Seal, carved in 1796 to mark the abdication of Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), went to a Chinese collector for US$5.92 million. The purchase set a new world record for auctioned white jade.

    But experts warn that inexperienced collectors could end up spending huge sums on modern imitations.

    Jin, a millionaire from East China's Zhejiang Province, who refused to give his full name, has spent more than 10 million yuan (US$1.3 million) on what he calls "a luxurious hobby" over the past decade.

    But the international trader's confidence in his collection recently suffered a major blow. In late September, he brought about 100 of his favorite jade pieces to Beijing to apply to join the First Exhibition of Ancient Jadeware from Private Collectors at the China Millennium Monument.

    However, the panel of experts responsible for the selection of the exhibits determined that 90 percent of Jin's "ancient jade items" were "modern or contemporary imitations".

    "Jin's sad story is typical of numerous 'green hands' in the world of jade collecting today," says Liang Xiuwei, vice-director of the China Research Society of Ancient Jadeware and a veteran connoisseur of ancient jadeware in Beijing. "Unprepared for the pitfalls and market irregularities, they have suffered a lot, both financially and psychologically."

    Still, Liang predicts that the number of jade collectors in China will continue to increase, with the art and antique markets improving and the passage of new laws offering greater protection to collectors.

    "With the economic boom, more and more Chinese are casting their eyes on a variety of traditional Chinese artworks, including ink paintings, antique furnishings, bronzeware, porcelain and jadeware, either for investment or for personal appreciation," Hou says.

    Hou and Liang are key organizers of the exhibition of private collectors' jadeware, which will tour cities, including Guangzhou, Shanghai and Ji'nan in the coming months.

    Three years ago, they founded the ancient jade research organization, the first of its kind, affiliated with the All China Federation of Industries and Businesses, which has so far attracted some 2,000 members from across the country.

    The society's mission is to promote public awareness of China's jade culture, to monitor and research the jade market and help private collectors find authentic jadeware.

    The past five years have seen hundreds of thousands of curio and antique markets of different sizes boom across the country.

    In addition to the more than 30 widely circulated magazines and newspapers about jewelry, art collection and investment, a slew of new TV programs on these topics are finding their way onto the airwaves.

    The most popular among these include Gathering of Treasure-holders (Jian Bao) on China Central Television's Channel 2 and Smashing Faked Treasures (Tianxia Baozang) on Beijing Television's Channel 1, which is anchored by famous actor and art connoisseur Wang Gang.

    Wang has acted as an antiques dealer in Legends of the Antiquarian Street (Wuyue Huaihua Xiang), a popular TV drama series about antique dealers and art collectors who lived about a century ago.

    More recently, the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games medals, which are bejeweled with jade, have further increased public awareness about the precious stone, long respected by Chinese as "a symbol of elegance, nobility and virtue", Hou says.

    His team has been working on an ambitious campaign to promote Chinese jade culture. They have been busy publishing relevant books and catalogs, and organizing seminars, lectures and exhibitions.

    "The jade culture of China has a history spanning more than 7,000 years, and Chinese people have a long tradition of collecting jadeware," Zhou Nanquan, research fellow with the Palace Museum, says at a seminar on ancient jade collection staged in Beijing last month.

    "It is a fundamental and integral part of Chinese culture. Jade artworks, especially well-preserved, ancient jadeware, are equally precious and important as bronze and porcelain items in both museums and private collections."

    According to Zhou, owning jadeware was once the exclusive privilege of tribe leaders, kings and emperors. Historically, jade artworks were part of important ceremonies, rituals and burials.

    In addition to the new discoveries of ancient jadeware being unearthed by archaeological excavations, large numbers of books and illustrated plates about jadeware have been created over the centuries, Zhou says.

    However, for the first few decades of New China, jadeware pieces were considered national treasures, and were off limits to the common citizenry.

    This started to change in late 2002, when the revised Law on Cultural Heritages Protection was enacted, giving ordinary Chinese the right to own and trade cultural heritages they inherited from older generations or obtained through legal channels, former chief of State Administration of Cultural Heritages Lu Jimin says. Lu personally made many contributions to the revision of the law to legalize private collections and facilitate the antiques trade in China.

    Hou's research society estimates the current number of jade collectors in China to be in the millions.

    To capture the attention of the jade-loving public, many jewelry shops and markets have taken measures to expose fakes and frauds.

    The Beijing International Jewelry Exchange Center is among the pioneering movement to guarantee that all of the jewelry bought at the market can be returned, and purchasers would get their money back within seven days. "And all the jadeware on sale at my market must have certificates from State-authorized gem-testing agencies," says Li Zhong, deputy-general manager of the Beijing International Jewelry Exchange Center.

    kenb

  2. #2
    stefen

    Re: Chunk of jade sells for record high

    Maybe I should hold onto the jade I picked up at Jade Beach along the Northern California coast. By these accounts I must have $15,000 to $20,000 worth...now if I could only bleach it white.

 

 

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