Jade's use in medals pushed up its price

PUBLISHED : Friday, 25 July, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 25 July, 2008, 12:00am

The 2008 Olympic medals, inlaid with Kunlun jade, have forced up the price of the ornamental stone, the medals' designer said yesterday.

'I remember that at the beginning of March, the price of jade was still quite low, but once we announced the design on March 27, it shot up,' said Wang Yipeng, vice-president of the China Central Academy of Fine Arts, on a visit to Hong Kong.

A donor had already agreed to provide all the jade needed for the medals before prices shot up. 'I think he regretted it a bit,' Professor Wang said.

However, Yuan Jianzhong, manager of the Qinghai Kunlun Jade Corporation in Qinghai province , which donated the jade, said he was happy to contribute. 'This is for the Olympics. It's for our country,' he said.

More than 30 tonnes of jade were required to produce over 6,000 medals for the Olympics, Paralympics and museums. Only about 30 per cent of a jade block is usable.

The medals, 70mm in diameter and 6mm thick, feature a figure of the goddess of victory, Nike, and an inlaid jade ring on the front along with a hook inspired by ancient Chinese designs.

The gold medals are inlaid with white jade, the silver medals with grey-white jade and the bronze with grey jade.

Professor Wang said he chose jade because it represents the Olympic spirit and China.