Twenty three years ago when I went to China for the first time, it was to learn about Chinese medicine. And do tai chi with the Chinese army in Tiananmen Square with the Chinese army!
While on the flight to China, I saw a jade bangle on a woman's wrist for the first time! And fell in love.
We went to a Chinese medicine hospital to see how jade health tools were used to treat patients. I had never seen jade rollers, jade gua sha tools and more. I learned how to use them on myself. And decided I should introduce these to the USA. I saw very few on eBay, and all were shipped from China. So I made a web site: https://yingyujade.com
My Chinese doctor traveled with me on a train from Beijing to Dandong, where we met a government person who took us to Xiuyan to meet jade carvers. We went to view the jade mines to learn about this traditional Chinese jade. And visited jade museums. Then the doctor worked with the jade carver to make Chinese medicine tools to Chinese medicine standards. I bought the tools, jade bangle bracelets, pendants and started selling.
A few years later, I noticed more people were selling jade online. And some of the jade really looked "different". Even today I get emails from jade sellers in China, and while most of it looks good, some of it looks like something other than jade.
I also "discovered" Burmese jadeite, which is very different from Chinese jade because it is a gemstone. It can be tested by refraction to know if it is genuine jadeite. My second trip to China was to learn about and buy jadeite. I met a Chinese person who spoke English and she traveled with me to south China near Myanmar (Burma) and I learned how to "bargain" for jade. We knew this was genuine and natural Burmese jadeite because we saw the jade carvers working with it. And one of the jade carvers showed me how to use refraction to test it.
I went to China every year until 2009 when Myanmar government was having political problems, they were damaging the jade mines and injuring, killing the jade workers, and the US government put sanctions on jadeite. So I could not buy it and safely get through customs at the airport to get home.
That's when "fake jade" started showing up online. Some of the jadeite was still able to get mined but not very good color and quality, so it was color treated. That's when the "certificates of authenticity" were available. But of course, "fake certificates" also became popular. The jadeite I ordered from China when the sanctions were lifted by a member of the Chinese Jade Association. They do look different from the "old mine" but that's because "old mine" was truly more older and traditional.
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