Nephrite Jade – Radix Cultura

Nephrite Jade – Radix Cultura

Edmund Ho M. D. (ephburu@yahoo.com)

Chinese culture formation can be traced back to the early Neolithic time (7000BC-5000BC). Nephrite jade appeared early in the Chinese culture as a media, expressing the essence of religion, power and wealth of the Hongshan,  Lingzhu and Lingiatan societies. The importance of the nephrite jade continued on to the subsequent dynasties, forming the root of the Chinese culture. Even till today jade still occupies an important position in China. Such importance creates value. Unfortunately value creates problem. Even as early as the Song dynasty (960 – 1279) imitation and counterfeit jade pieces of previous time were found. In today China, with the advance of technology, counterfeit antique jades become rampant to such a degree that real and unreal become blur.  On the internet, in many books and videos, identified as reference materials, all you can see are fakes. It is a cultural tragedy when so many people do not know or have a wrong  concept of what a Hongshan or Shan, Zhou jade should look like, a loss of cultural identity. The chaos  is because there is no true scientific method to identify the true period of  jade. Such deficiency and the profit that can come out of it is what creates the tumult. But is it impossible to identify the genuine antique nephrite jade of their period? The answer lies in knowing and understanding the process of chemical weathering. All rocks and minerals undergo the weathering process in nature. Jade when they are buried will be no exception. To try to understand the process, I went through many articles  from major research in the world, on the subject of amphibole chemical weathering. Eventually it makes sense to me. Using a 40X magnification stereomicroscope, such effect can be seen clearly on the jade surface.  Noting the chemical weathering changes and the tool marks left on the jade surface, makes identification possible.  This site will deal into the amphibole chemical weathering process, and how to utilize it as one of the tools to authenticate  antique Chinese jade. Chemical weathering changes on antique nephrite jade has only recently been looked into. Hopefully this blog can stimulate interest and discussion. All criticism and suggestions are welcome. Please send to my email address ephburu@yahoo.com

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