Watching an old re-run of Antiques Road Show recently, (what else does one do in Lockdown?), I was astonished at the valuation of a piece of Chinese jade jewellery. Jade is an ornamental mineral, mostly known for its green varieties. It can refer to either of two different minerals: nephrite, a silicate of calcium and magnesium, or jadeite, a silicate of sodium and aluminium. Jade is featured prominently in Asian art, but also has an important place in many other cultures. Highly valued in China, a pierced jade disc is a symbol of heaven.
Of course, it was only valuable if it was genuine – so it was carefully appraised by the show’s jewellery expert, Geoffrey Munn, All of which reminded me of a sermon illustration I used several years ago that involved a jade expert:-
A man once wanted to find out about jade. He had a friend at work who said he knew an expert and could introduce him to him. The introduction was made and the man went along for his first lesson about jade. He was shown into a room and the expert gave him a piece of jade and then left him, without explanation. So the man looked at his piece of jade, felt it, thought about it, but the expert didn’t come back. Half an hour later he re-emerged and said the lesson was over and he would see him next week. The man was a bit mystified but he turned up next week and the same thing happened! He was shown into a room, given a piece of jade and left. Half an hour later the expert returned and said the lesson was over.
Each time the man went back the same thing happened and he was getting very cross. He was throwing good money after bad. Eventually he went to his friend at work, the one who had introduced him to the expert, and told him what he thought of these so-called lessons. ‘All he does is hand me a piece of jade and then he disappears,’ he complained. ‘And blow me,’ he went on, ‘last week he had the cheek to give me a fake!’
My illustration point was that life teaches us many lessons, lessons we may not always be aware of at the time.