What Was Jade Used for in Ancient Times?

Jade is a precious stone that has been revered by cultures across the world for thousands of years. Its beauty and durability have made it highly prized, and it has been used for everything from jewelry to weapons. In this article, we will explore the different ways that jade was used in ancient times.

The History of Jade

Jade has been valued since prehistoric times, with ancient civilizations such as the Chinese, Maya, and Aztecs all using it for various purposes. It was believed to have powerful spiritual properties and was often used in religious ceremonies.

Jade in Chinese Culture

In China, jade was known as “yu” and was considered one of the most valuable materials in existence. It was often used to make intricate carvings and jewelry, and was also used as currency.

The Chinese believed that jade had protective powers and could ward off evil spirits. It was also associated with longevity and good luck, and was often given as a gift to mark special occasions such as weddings or births.

Jade in Mesoamerican Cultures

In Mesoamerican cultures such as the Maya and Aztecs, jade was also highly prized. It was carved into intricate figurines and used to make jewelry, weapons, and other objects of importance.

The Maya believed that jade had a special connection to the gods, and it was often buried with rulers or placed in tombs as an offering. The Aztecs also associated jade with their deities, particularly Quetzalcoatl – the feathered serpent god.

The Symbolism of Jade

Across many cultures, jade has been seen as a symbol of power, wealth, and status. Its rarity and beauty made it a highly sought-after material among royalty and nobility.

In addition to its practical uses, jade also held significant symbolic value. The stone was believed to represent wisdom, clarity, and purity of spirit. It was often used in meditation and spiritual practices, and was thought to help facilitate communication with the divine.


Jade has played an important role in human history for thousands of years. Its beauty and durability have made it a highly prized material, and its symbolic value has imbued it with spiritual significance across many cultures.

From China to Mesoamerica, jade has been used for everything from jewelry to weapons to religious artifacts. Its legacy continues today, as people continue to appreciate its timeless beauty and enduring symbolism.