Jade Symbolism - Why People Wear Jade and It's Significance
Since ancient China (770 BC), jade has been regarded as the most precious stone by royalty and elites. It symbolizes purity and moral integrity, while many also believe in the stone’s healing and protective qualities, as it is said to ward off bad spirits and support loving heart energy.
Throughout more than 3000 years of history, the craftsmanship and carving skills of master artisans have been constantly been honed and improved to create not only masterpieces, but also form many of the symbols which have its own unique story and blessing behind it. These wearable works of art become good luck charms that the owner will greatly cherish for their entire life or eventually pass down to his/her children.
In Chinese culture, jade jewelry is usually carved into different designs. Each carving holds significant meaning behind it to reflect the thousand-year-old tradition of jade jewelry design. The examples below are some popular symbolism commonly found in jade jewelry. Although each individual one has its own specific meaning, jades are meant to be good luck charms overall.
The jade coin or “ping an kou” (平安口) in Chinese, is a classic jade design. Reminiscent of a traditional Chinese coin, it grants safety, harmony, and fortune to its wearers.
The calabash, also known as a bottle gourd, has multiple associations with happiness, good fortune, and protection. The Chinese name for the calabash is “hulu” (葫芦). The first character “hu” is the homophone for the word “to protect” and the word for “blessing”. The word “hulu” sounds like “fulu” which means happiness, blessing and good fortune. This lucky connotation comes from ancient times when calabashes were tied onto the back of small children during water crossings to protect them from falling in. It is also a popular charm to ward off evil spirits.
A blessing melon or “Fu Gua” in Chinese is a simple jade pendant that represent rolling in abundance. The roundness of the melon conveys the notions of rolling in the wealth, abundance of children and blessing for many generations. This traditional Chinese fertility charm will ensure bountiful harvests.
Guan Gong is the Chinese God of War. He is well known for being the most powerful and righteous general. A jade piece depicting Guan Gong would be a perfect gift for men and businesspeople because this deity is famous for his loyalty and trustworthiness.
Chinese Zodiac Signs consists of a 12-year cycle, each year is named after a different animal. Many Chinese believe that each animal embody the panoply of human nature. It determines that person's personality traits, physical and mental attributes and degree of success and happiness throughout his/her lifetime.
Buddha symbolizes good fortune, peace, and harmony. Many elders and children wear buddha jade jewelry, but it is suitable for anyone.
Guan Yin is known as the Maternal Goddess and the Protector of Children. She is associated with compassion. Jewelry depicting Guan Yin suit both men and women, but some Chinese say men wear Guan Yin while ladies wear Buddha jewelry.
A Pi Xiu is an ancient Chinese mythological creature. Resembling a dragon, a Pi Xiu is a symbol of fortune and a powerful protector to its master. It is best suited for businesspeople and individuals who seek refuge from evil supernatural forces.
The bamboo has been idolized by Chinese poets for years. It symbolizes youth, longevity, modesty, and righteousness. The sections or nodes on the bamboo represents continuous success in study and career. It most fitting for students and people in the workforce wishing for job advancement.
Green Bean/Snap Bean:
The green bean represents peace and good health throughout the seasons. It conveys a sense of longevity and embraces a bountiful harvest with anticipation of new life for the next year. It befits elders and women the most.
Fun Facts About Jade:
- In gemstone therapy, it is said that jade “stimulates creativity and mental agility on one hand, while also having a balancing effect.” The traditional and modern are combined harmoniously in jade to symbolize energy and beauty.
- In China, “yu” is the Chinese word for jade. It’s a generic term for both Nephrite and Jadeite.
- Jadeite and Nephrite deposits can be found all around the world including China, New Zealand and Russia. Dark green jade can also be found in Western Canada which gives it its nickname, Canada jade. Although jades are not exclusive to one region, the best stones come from Burma, now known as Myanmar.
- In general, the value of jade is determined according to its color, the intensity of that color, the vivacity and texture, and its clarity and transparency.
- Moh’s Scale Hardness: 6.5 – 7
- Colors: Most common colors are shades of green, lavender, and white. However, red, yellow, and black jades also exist.
- Dahlia NY