Department of China Studies CHINA TALKS 2019: An Introduction to Jade



  • Time: 6:00 – 7:00PM, Wednesday
  • Date: 11st September
  • Venue: University Museum
  • Speaker: Andrew Shaw


A look at the jade industry in present day China. How its developed in forty years from a cottage industry employing a few thousand people to a multi-billion dollar business employing nearly a million workers. The talk will include an explanation of why Chinese people love jade, what jade is, where it comes from, who carves it and the importance of homonyms and symbolism in jade. The talk is based on visits by the speaker to all the major jade carving centres in China (and abroad) and interviews with master carvers, factory owners, directors of the national and regional jade associations and billionaire collectors. It is an interactive talk with samples of jade and a demonstration of how to spot fake jade using a specific gravity test.


Andrew Shaw is a gold medal winning master carver and author who lives with his wife in the city of Suzhou where he has a studio and gallery. He is the only foreigner living and working as a jade carver in China. He has collected a wealth of information about the modern jade industry previously unknown in the West. His recently published book, Jade Life, has been praised by critics as giving a glimpse into a world foreigners rarely see. Before turning his hand to jade Andrew worked as a senior reporter for the BBC General News Service. He reported on big stories such as 9/11, the Tsunami, and G7 summits. He travelled the globe and sent reports back from Japan, Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Canada, the USA, France, Holland, Belgium, Poland and Israel. During his time at the BBC he did features for Radio 4 magazine programmes and also won an award for a documentary.