Jade carving appeared first in the Shang and Zhou dynasties about 3,000 years ago when it had become a separate profession and excavations have shown the fine workmanship of that time. The materials used for jade carving include all kinds of hard stones, such as jadeite, nephrite, red agate, white agate, crystal, amethyst, coral, ruby and sapphire. It is a special skill to exploit the natural color of a piece of jade to create an effective design. So the most expensive ones are not those of one single color, but those of multiple colors, the carving skillfully enhancing the different colors in an object. These jade carvings are highly collectable.
There are also other jade items of more practical use, such as rings, bead-necklace, earings, pendants, seals and cigarette holders.
(Beijing Port February 11, 2003)