May 29th, 2010 Contributed by: Ivette Figueroa

HONG KONG — Hong Kong is the largest market center for jade in the world.

So naturally, when we were debating where to go on our visit to Kowloon, the girls decided to make the Jade Market a priority stop.

We arrived at an unimposing teal warehouse and strolled in, cameras and wallets at the ready.

The variety of color shocked me at first. I was expecting tiny stalls of miniature green jewelry, but there was so much more there.

Antiques, iron carvings of Buddhas, posters, even decorative snuff bottles. Once my eyes had time to adjust, I was taken aback by the sheer size of the market. Dozens of stalls were cushioned together in neat little rows, their vendors sitting on nearby stools.

Of course, like any other street market, the order of the day was bargaining. Most of the items offered for sale in these markets are reproductions. Because there are various degrees in the quality of jade, I was
hesitant to spend too much money there.

I’m sure everyone has noticed the “Made in China” sticker on products bought in the U.S. But it’s another thing entirely to actually see the handmade process in person.

A couple of middle-aged Chinese women worked intently on beading tiny jade stones in front of their stalls, their practiced fingers moving with the kind of confidence that only long hours of effort brings. It fascinated me that every piece of jewelry in this massive market was actually handmade by the very people that sat in front of them.

A couple plays the haggling game with one of the vendors.

After purchasing a pair of jade bracelets (how could I resist?) I sat on one of the empty stools and did one of my favorite things: people watch.

Vendors took every prolonged glance from shoppers as an invitation to sell their products. Those with multiple stalls would rush over whenever someone happened to walk by them. It was like watching a play … or a circus. But it was entertaining nonetheless.

The Jade Market truly was a visual experience and regardless of the authenticity of the actual products, I really enjoyed the atmosphere and would recommend anyone to make this a stop on their next visit to Hong Kong.

Reposted from The China Journalism Project, University of Miami:

Popularity: unranked

You Should Also Check Out This Post:

More Active Posts: