Jade to Be Used for Olympic Medals

For the first time, a material other than metal will be used for medals awarded to athletes for the Olympic Games, the publication China View reports.

Jade from China’s plateau province of Qinghai will be used to make Beijing Olympic Games medals, a Qinghai official said Wednesday.

Qinghai vice governor Jidi Majia said the Organizing Committee of the Beijing Olympic Games had formally confirmed Qinghai jade will be used on Olympic medals, the publication reports.

BOCOG unveiled a medal design in March, 2007, that the gold, silver, and bronze medals incorporate a distinctive band of jade. It’s the first time in Olympic history that medals are made of material other than metal. 

Samples of the jade that will be used to make Beijing Olympic Games medals.

“We had the donation ceremony this afternoon,” Majia said. “Qinghai will donate a great deal of manufactured jade bands to BOCOG. The jade will come from a Kunlun Mountain area.”

He continued, “Qinghai has abundant reserve of jade. We will select the best manufacturer to ensure the quality.”

Majia said several thousand jade bands will be handed over to the BOCOG by the end of March.

According to BOCOG’s design, gold medal will incorporate a light, fine jade set in its back while the silver has the white-greenish jade. A greenish jade will be used for the bronze medal.

Jade represents honor and virtue in traditional Chinese culture and the medal design is regarded to well combine Olympic spirit and Chinese culture, the publication said.

Qinghai, with an average altitude of 3,000 meters in west China, has a rich mixture of cultures from Han people and over 50 ethnic minority groups including Tibetan, Hui, Tu, Sala, and Mongolian among its five million residents.

The Beijing Olympic Games will open on Aug. 8.

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