B.C. Jade Day in Vancouver

This is jade that’s mined and carved in British Columbia, but this gemstone is far more prized in Asian countries than it is here, where it was named the Canadian province’s official gemstone in 1968.

To change that, business leaders and politicians teamed up three years ago to create B.C. Jade Day – an event that aims to increase appreciation of B.C. jade.

SOUNDBITE: RICHARD LEE, Member of B.C. Legislature
“Since two years ago the industry has been growing in more than double digits, so more than 20 per cent growth and also the value of the jade actually increases, so I think it’s working in the promotion side as well as on the communities more awareness of the importance of jade, B.C. jade.”

Production of B.C. nephrite jade has doubled in recent years, and the average price for high quality jade has increased from 600 Canadian dollars to 1,000 Canadian dollars 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.

SOUNDBITE: RICHARD LEE, Member of B.C. Legislature
“They are really keen on establishing training programs, so I think this a great industry for the future, and the rate of growth could be ten times in the near future soon.”

There are currently six large jade producers active in B.C. during the summer months, and 50 known jade deposits.

Members of the industry here say the promotion of B.C. jade has improved in the last couple of years now that the province is cooperating with producers.

SOUNDBITE: SAM PENG, Canadian Int’l Jade&Cultural Promotion Center
“Since that time I have found that there are more Chinese buyers from Asia to purchase the jade, and second, I found more of those stores for the tourists, they have more and more jade on sale now.”

Charles Hu, a well-known Chinese-Canadian artist, says the key to properly marketing B.C. jade is to convert it into beautiful art.

His favorite subject to sculpt is Canadian wildlife like eagles, bears and fish.

“Because the wildlife like represented Canada, North American, the special animals, so we use the animals, the body, they have different meaning. We just beginning you know. I hope more young people join the art, creating more art.”

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