Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Down Memory Lane via Train

My office needs updating.  So I'm sorting through boxes, shelves, cupboards to organize all this jade I have, getting some ready for photographing and listing, and setting some aside for later.  I always come across pieces I completely forgot I had.  This sorting out of the jade is very pleasurable, and very time consuming because it's a trip down memory lane.  As you know from previous blogs over the years, most of the jade I sell didn't come from standard jade market purchases.   I traveled deep into the jade carving cities in the south of China near the Burma border, and that travel was an adventure as well as a shopping trip.  But some of the jade buying opportunities came about because I was a tall, blonde "white American" woman wearing a good quality jade bangle wandering around China.  Some Chinese people are very clever, and 10-15 years ago when I was in China, speaking a little Chinese language, I attracted jade sellers.  Chinese people would "pop up" out of nowhere, and then I would have an opportunity to buy jade that wasn't available for public sale. But other opportunities "popped up", too.  And one of the jade bangle bracelets I found in my sorting process reminded me of some of my travel and jade experiences.

I had friends who lived in Tianjin, and when I went to China I would take the train from Beijing to Tianjin once or twice to visit them.  I truly enjoyed riding the train, and chose "hard seat" tickets to ride with the regular Chinese people.  In 2001 on a train trip to Tianjin, I had a small satchel with clothes and personal items because I was spending the night there. I had noticed that Chinese women at that time were always interested about what was in my handbag, and when I went to the restrooms, were not subtle about taking a peek inside.  I had learned to carry small samples of personal care items, like the samples you get at the department store cosmetic and fragrance counters, and give them to snoopy women.  Which thrilled them!  So when a women across from me on the train took interest in my satchel,  she made the excuse that she "dropped something and it fell in the bag", so I opened it.  She wanted some of my personal products, and took a jade bangle off her wrist and offered to trade it for them.  I agreed.  Then more women came over, and soon I had traded all my clothes and my handbag for various Chinese "things".  I often left China with none of the clothes I took with me. 

I had forgotten about the jade bangle bracelet.  It's a little too big for me, 54.5mm inside diameter, and 53mm is the largest size I comfortable wear.  But the carving around it makes it fit like a mm smaller, so I've been wearing it to keep wandering down memory lane.  It's nicely carved, very well polished, Burmese jadeite and moderately translucent. I was told by a jade expert in China it is Qing Dynasty era jadeite.  There are some Qing Dynasty jade bangles in the Ying Yu Jade Vintage collection,  and one is a nephrite "swirl" carving that seems similar in style. 

It has some signs of wear, either a small crack on the top of one of the round areas, or part of the jade, usually a crack is up and down and this line is across.  The qi energy is very calming, pleasurable, and is that classic green jade color with properties of qi for happiness, good health and wellness, and luck and fortune.  I will consider offers but I am getting attached to it!  And the memories bring a big smile to my face. 

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