One of the most popular, fascinating, ancient and enchanting attractions of China is jade jewelry. Jade is one of the most mysterious and coveted precious stones in the world, and Yunnan province is probably the best place in the world to find fine, finished pieces of jade jewelry.
Jade has always been believed to have mysterious magical or spiritual qualities. Jadeite, with its deep green color, has been revered in China since the stone age. Top-quality jadeite is rare. Vivid, sleek, and translucent, magnificent jadeite commands some of the highest prices among gems in today’s international market.
Jade was the Emperors stone. It is no coincidence that the Chinese character for “emperor” looks nearly the same as the character for jade. Jade is one of more than 20 gemstones known to be indigenous to Yunnan, including rubies, sapphires, emeralds, tourmalines, topaz and agates. Yunnan is adjacent to Myanmar, which is by far the world's largest producer of jade, but Yunnan also has rich resources of jade within its own boundaries.
China is the world's largest center for the polishing and finishing of jadeite, the natural form of jade ore as it is found at its natural source. Much of Myanmar's jadeite is exported to Yunnan where expert craftsmen turn the ore into polished, precious gemstones and ornamental jewelry.
Jade jewelry is one of Kunming's most intriguing attractions. A specialty of Kunming is Huanglong jade, a top-quality mineral that is one of China's most popular gemstones, along with Hetian jade and emeralds.
Jadeite’s three most important qualities, in order of their impact on its market value, are color, transparency, and texture.
Jadeite buyers consider many factors, including color, degree of transparency, clarity and smooth surface. Irregular coloration or an attractive mottling of colors can also enhance the aesthetic value of a stone.
Jadeite is not always green. It also appears in various other colors, such as lavender, red, orange, yellow, brown, white, black and gray. All can be beautiful, though green remains the most favoured color.
The most highly valued jadeite is almost transparent, with a vibrant emerald-green color. It is known as Imperial jade. The royal court of China used to maintain an order that all such jade should be reserved for the monarchs.
Yunnan is the world's center for jade as a precious gemstone, and the best place to find fine jade pieces.
1. Jingxing Flower and Bird Market （景星花鸟市场）
Address: Jingxing Street, Wuhua District, Kunming City, Yunnan Province （云南省昆明市五华区景星街）
Located on Jingxing Street in the Kunming downtown area, the Jingxing Flower and Bird Market is a shopping street in Kunming. It was originally a market for selling flowers, birds, pets, insects and goldfishes to the locals. As business prospered, it has attracted more and more visitors, and has gradually developed into an enchanting shopping and sightseeing center with a true local flavor. A multitude of shops and stores stand along the long and narrow street displaying a huge variety of flowers, various kinds of rare plants.
The market also acts as a trading center for various kinds of antiques, including jade objects, ink slabs, ancient coins, porcelain, agates and other handicrafts. Also scattered throughout the district are many teahouses and shops selling fascinating delicacies, such as sweet wine, fried spiral shells, braised bean curd and many others. All together they create a delightful and very convenient shopping environment to visitors.
2. Colorful Yunnan (Chain Store) 七彩云南翡翠（连锁店）
Address: No. 18-19 Lane Jixiang, Kunming City, Yunnan Province （云南省昆明市吉祥巷18-19号）
Colorful Yunnan was established by Northstar Group, a pioneer in China's jadeite industry, in 1998. After more than 20 years of good faith management, Colorful Yunnan has developed into a company involved with all aspects of jade stone, including scientific research, design and processing, providing direct sales and franchise chain businesses to provide products to more than 20 cities nationwide, serving tens of millions of jade lovers.