The Government of British Columbia has proclaimed May 28, 2016, as B.C. Jade Day to increase knowledge and promote public awareness of our provincial gemstone’s history, craftsmanship, and economic benefits.
The province’s first active jade deposits were found in Lillooet, B.C., and from 1957 until the end of the 1960s more rough jade was produced in the Lillooet area than in the rest of the world combined. Massive new deposits of jade were later found in three areas of northern B.C. – Dease Lake, Mount Ogden and Cassiar – which now comprise an area considered to be the global capital for nephrite jade.
Historically prized by local First Nations and an important part of Chinese culture, B.C. jade is prized for its toughness and is recognized as some of the best in the world.
In fact, production of B.C. jade has doubled in recent years, and the average price for AAA quality jade has increased from $600 to $1,000 per kilogram since 2009. About 800 to 1,200 tonnes of B.C.-produced jade are sold annually on the global market. Once it is made into a finished product, B.C. jade can sell for up to 10 times its original price.
Although a lesser-known resource in B.C.’s economy, jade is a part of B.C.’s industrial minerals industry and helps provide important economic activity as well as cultural connection to the many communities in our province that value the gemstone for its cultural significance.
Bill Bennett, Minister of Energy and Mines – “B.C. nephrite jade is recognized as some of the best in the world. Our province is one of the largest producers of nephrite jade, and the development of the jade industry will help promote B.C.’s economy and provide employment to British Columbians. Congratulations to MLA Richard Lee for his leadership in organizing this annual celebration of BC Jade.”
Teresa Wat, Minister of International Trade and Minister Responsible for the Asia Pacific Strategy and Multiculturalism – “Jade became the official gemstone of British Columbia in 1968 and has become well recognized and highly desired around the world for its beauty and its purity. Prized by artists and collectors, jade symbolizes unity and the intertwining of diverse cultures throughout our province.”
Richard T. Lee, MLA Burnaby North – “The cultural and economic importance of jade is evidenced by the fact that First Nations artists fashioned it to the ceremonial Black Rod at the Legislature. The jade-decorated staff was created in 2012 to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II and represents the reconciliation of B.C.’s First Nations with the Crown.”
* British Columbia is considered to have one of the largest deposits of nephrite jade in the world
* There are 50 known jade deposits in B.C.
* In the late 1950s and early 1960s Lillooet shipped more nephrite jade worldwide than any other place on earth.
* Jade is stronger than steel and is known for its ability to be carved into intricate
* The best nephrite jade is sought by local artists and transformed into artwork which
is in demand internationally
* One of the largest sculptures made of B.C. nephrite jade is the Jade Buddha for
Universal Peace commissioned for the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion
* On the industrial side, jade tiles have great market potential in new, upscale
residential and commercial building applications