Miners digging in Myanmar have discovered a massive jade stone weighing more than 190 tons and estimated to be worth about $170 million in its raw form. Once it is polished and carved, the stone’s worth could be in the billions.
Measuring 14 feet high and 19 feet long, the enormous stone with found in the Northern Myanmar state of Kachin, which is known as a major jade-producing region.
The valuable boulder is currently covered in dirt and will appear translucent green after it is cleaned. The only known piece of jade that is larger is a carved statue at the Jade Buddha Palace in China weighing nearly 290 tons.
“We thought we had won the lottery. But this belongs to the country. It is in honor of our leaders,” Sao Min, one of the miners, told The Daily Mail.
A surprising discovery
Myanmar is the world’s largest source of jadeite and the industry responsible for extracting it represents half of the nation’s GDP. This stone is expected to be set to China for processing into jewelry and sculptures. Last year, a report by an international watchdog group revealed that military leaders and drug lords in the country are raking in billions from the illegal jade trade. While
“This is a beautiful find,” said Frank Xiao, a jade dealer in Shenzhen, China. “There are many negotiations but it’s likely to be coming to China.”
“It will make many beautiful necklaces and bracelets in the future. And plenty of statues for homes in China,” Xiao added.
Jade is a sturdy precious stone that has been used for thousands of years. Due to its strength, it was used in weapons such as arrowheads and axe blades, as well as in tools, like such as knives and mallets.
Most experts consider China to be the premier market for jade, and the country has been a leader in the processing and marketing of the stone for the past hundred years.
Jade has also been prized for its beauty and today it mostly found as decorate statues and in jewelry. While jade is considered a precious stone, it is not deemed more valuable than sapphires and emeralds outside of Asia.
Image credit: EPA
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