Monday, November 14, 2011

Full Bloom - Plum Blossom Jade Pendant

The last contemporary jade piece I show on this blog (because custom purchase is a pain in the butt) at least till the end of the year. Yes, some jade piece + outfit posts will be done, as promised to Nutty (who asked last year = =), Lena and Jen. In the meantime, here are some close-up pictures and some explanation on what they are (the precious stone jade can be either jadeite and nephrite but there are just so many variations when it comes to color, texture and origins).
This carve work of this nephrite jade pendant is one of the most random I have ever seen, as it includes two plum blossoms (with a willowy branch, but I am guessing it's just an artistic adjustment) on a bamboo trunk and with a spider on top, which works as a pendant bail. 

In Chinese literature and art, both plum blossom and bamboo are two members of  Three Friends of Winter/The Four Noblemen, symbolizing dignity and perseverance under harsh conditions. The spider (called Zhi Zhu in Chinese) has a meaning that's much more contemporary, as it signifies the phrase 知足常樂/Zhi Zu Chang Le, which means "Happiness is being content with oneself".  The three organisms do not make any (literary or cultural) sense when put together so I suspect it's just a result of the artist's sense of humor.
Creamy white nephrite jade with brownish yellow patches are normally called "sugary jade" thanks to its resemblance to burnt sugar. This pieces is made of Russian Sugar (俄糖)  because the color resembles burnt sugar and the the mineral originates from Russia. The nephrite mines from Russia, Tsing Hai, Korea, Hetian all share the same mountain range but the geographic factors account for their appearances: Generally, Russian nephrite has good color (whiteness) and opacity but sometime they appear brittle and dry. Tsing Hai nephrite are usually very white but they are too transparent (for nephrite). Korean nephrite usually has an yellowish green tinge. Hetian nephrite are generally not that white (white Hetian nephrite are more scarce) but they possess thick consistency, subtle shine and a greasy luster. These differences can only be detected by trained, naked eyes (instead of equipments) since all nephrite has the same chemical composition.


  1. pretty! I wonder how long it would take to train the eye.

  2. Kuri:
    It's actually not about how long, more like how many pieces you have seen/closely examined. I still can't tell most of nephrite origins apart but I found a way to cheat: I can tell if something is vintage from the carve work, style and wear and most if not all vintage nephrite pieces are all made from Hetian nephrite.

  3. wow, that's cool to be able to distinguish those details.

  4. Hey...did you call?? :)

    Am still waiting rather patiently for those clothing post...but why stop posting about these beauties?? Its really nice to read all about jade! Maybe I should post some of my jade pieces on my blog...interested? I would love to know how to tell the difference between nephrite and jade!


  5. Nutty:
    Haha, I wish there is an @ function on blogger (like how it works in twitter). I still have a few of those pieces but they are all pretty similar/small so I will group them into one single post.

    PS. I would love to see your collection (that's practically what I do anyway, gawking at others collection). Nephrite and jadeite are two different minerals so it's not difficult to tell the two (given you seen enough sample). I could do a basic 101 post on them, that should be a lot easier than fiddling with my camera's self-timer...


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