Long History In Japan Helps Make Jade The 'national Stone'

Long history in Japan helps make jade the 'national stone'Stuck between a rock and a hard place, voters chose jade as Japan's "national stone" over quartz.
The selection was made here on Sept. 24 during the annual meeting of the Japan Association of Mineralogical Sciences.

The association considered the opinions of not only members, but a wider audience, to narrow an initial list of 11 candidate stones to five--jade, quartz, granite, stibnite and native gold.

In the vote to chose the national stone, jade and quartz received the top two number of votes from members in the first round and moved on to a runoff.

Jade received 71 votes to 52 for quartz for the final selection.

To be a candidate for national stone, the mineral had to be something widely known and mined in Japan as well as have significance not only within the mineralogical and earth sciences, but also on a global scale.

Among the reasons given by the association for selecting jade as the national stone were because it was famous as a gem mined in Japan; because of its variety of colors, such as green and lavender, and semi-transparent luster; and because jade culture in Japan is the oldest in the world, having its roots about 7,000 years ago.

Itoigawa, a city in Niigata, beat the association to the punch by naming jade as the "city stone" in 2008. In May 2016, the Geological Society of Japan named jade "the stone of Niigata Prefecture."

"For Itoigawa, which has considered jade the pride and treasure of our community, as well as for all the regions ranging from Hokkaido through Kyushu where jade is manufactured, there is no greater joy," Itoigawa Mayor Toru Yoneda said in a statement.