BN.com Gift Guide

Stone of Heaven: Unearthing the Secret History of Imperial Green Jade

Overview

Taking us from the imperial courts of ancient China to a squalid mine in Myanmar today, this extraordinary book reveals for the first time the bizarre true story of Imperial Green Jade, one of the rarest stones in the world, more precious than diamonds, coveted for its life-extending powers and its aphrodisiac properties as well as for its astonishing beauty -- a stone that has shaped the destiny of nations and changed the lives of all who have worn it.
...
See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers.
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (68) from $1.99   
  • New (5) from $6.29   
  • Used (63) from $1.99   
Close
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
$6.29
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(80)

Condition:

New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

New
Ships same day as ordered. Brand new.

Ships from: Lansing, KS

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$13.95
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(100)

Condition: New
2002 Hard cover American ed. New in new dust jacket. brand new book. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. With dust jacket. 432 p. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: General/trade.

Ships from: St Petersburg, FL

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$15.64
Seller since 2007

Feedback rating:

(456)

Condition: New
Gift quality, Fine. Clean, unmarked pages. Good binding and cover. Hardcover and dust jacket. Ships daily.

Ships from: Boonsboro, MD

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$17.95
Seller since 2010

Feedback rating:

(77)

Condition: New
Boston 2001 Hardcover 1st Edition New in New jacket Book. 12mo-over 6?-7?" tall. This is a New and Unread copy of the first edition (1st printing). Includes photographs. Index.

Ships from: South Portland, ME

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$24.95
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(14)

Condition: New
Hard cover First edition. American ed. Il New in new dust jacket. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. With dust jacket. 432 p. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: General/trade. Brand ... New-Gift Quality In a plastic cover Read more Show Less

Ships from: San Jose, CA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Close
Sort by
Sending request ...

Overview

Taking us from the imperial courts of ancient China to a squalid mine in Myanmar today, this extraordinary book reveals for the first time the bizarre true story of Imperial Green Jade, one of the rarest stones in the world, more precious than diamonds, coveted for its life-extending powers and its aphrodisiac properties as well as for its astonishing beauty -- a stone that has shaped the destiny of nations and changed the lives of all who have worn it.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Fei cui (imperial green jade), esteemed for its "virtue, beauty, and rarity," obsessed the Emperor Qianlong (1736–96). Thereby hangs a tale of passion and loss -- and, more recently, of bloodshed and looting. Qianlong's discovery of a huge fei cui bowl from Kublai Khan's reign (1259–94) drove him to dispatch armies 3,000 miles to mountainous, steamy Burma, demanding "tributes" of fei cui from the mines of the "Southern Barbarian" king. He won his tribute. He did not win the delectable Xiang from far-western Kashgar but immortalized his unrequited love in commissioning the famous "Persian Pepper" fei cui pendant.

In chronicling jade and the pendant's fate, Levy and Scott-Clark offer an exhilarating account of Chinese history and Western barbarism. Highlights include the Taiping Rebellion, the destruction of the Summer Palace, the Boxer Uprising, the sack of the Forbidden City, and the collapse of the Qing dynasty (despite arch-survivor Empress Cixi). Throughout the years, Western diplomats, army personnel, and civilians constantly looted priceless fei cui prayer tablets, memorials, and jewelry.

By the 1920s, vandals and vulgarians had reduced fei cui to a mere commodity -- jewelry or cash. Worse followed. The authors' account of current jade-mining operations in remotest Burma is astonishing, as was their danger-fraught expedition there. A few honorable dealers and collectors redeem fei cui's tragic history; a few distinguished museum collections hint at lost treasures.

The seasoned investigator-authors provide a gripping blend of history and adventure. Vignettes depict valiant explorers, dubious colonials, military geniuses, eunuchs, and survivors. Among them are the Big Barbarian (Lord Elgin), the Fragrant Consort, King Thibaw and the Murderous Queen, "Curio Chang," the Soong sisters, the nefarious Cixi, and the inimitable Sir Edmund Backhouse (a.k.a. the Hermit of Peking) and his remarkable coterie. An extensive bibliography provides for further exploration of this little-known but engaging topic. (Peter Skinner)

Peter Skinner lives in New York City.

Roanoke Times
...fascinating and meticulous detail...
Publishers Weekly
In an ambitious effort that is equal parts history, sensationalized gossip and political expos , London Sunday Times investigative reporters Levy and Scott-Clark trace the winding path of the so-called "Stone of Heaven." The story begins in 1735, when jade-obsessed Chinese emperor Qianlong endeavors to extend China's reach into present-day Burma, reputed to contain the world's finest jade. Over time the infatuation with jade also infects French and British colonials, adventurers, Chinese gangsters, Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Zedong, all of whom energetically loot the Imperial Court's treasures. Descriptions and provenances of legendary jade pieces (some of which are lost for centuries at a time) are given at length. Among the history's cast of characters is bad-girl Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton, who receives a tabloid treatment of her jade collection, marriages, sexual misadventures and profligate spending. But the history, the gossip, even the sensational stories of the depredations of the indigenous tribes who fiercely protected their secret jade mines, pale in comparison to the authors' visit to Burma. Risking their lives, Levy and Scott-Clark pose as gemologists and, with guile, courage and bribery, reach Hpakant, home to the mines. There they find hundreds of thousands of destitute people virtually enslaved amid prostitution, government-sponsored heroin addiction, and "jade disease, or AIDS." The story of the quest for jade ends abruptly in a kind of hell, rendered as astutely as the excesses in this intriguing history. 40 b&w photos. This book's various elements rest uneasily together; no doubt, most readers will be lured by the romance of jade, but in fact the book's strongestpoint is its horrifying conclusion. (Jan. 12) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
Diaries, logs, and files stored in India, China, Britain, and the US provided the clues by which the two investigative journalists journeyed to the mythical valley in northern Burma, and the mine said to produce jadite, a gem more valuable than any other. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Kirkus Reviews
Initially thrilling and ultimately horrifying history of a precious and pernicious gemstone. According to British journalists Levy and Scott-Clark, ever since jadeite, a gem the color of a kingfisher's neck feathers, was unearthed at its single source in northern Burma, it has left a wake of sorrow in its burn through history. The Stone of Heaven has stolen hearts, but mostly it seems to have stolen minds, for people have gone to outrageous ends to possess it. Much of this reads like a well-paced thriller. Kublai Khan set special store by the stone, which came from a smoky jungle rarely crossed by any but elephant trappers and was guarded by mythological creatures. Jadeite was coveted enough to start wars for control of its mines and it has never ceased to inspire greed and depravity. But the stone's 20th-century history is less romantic and more sordid, with an array of sad-sack characters pursuing it: consider the "peanut-headed Sun Tzu scholar" Chiang Kai-shek, his dreadful and rapacious wife Madame Chiang, or the pathetic Barbara Hutton, all of whom found jadeite useful. The narrative becomes even more scarifying when the authors travel to present-day Hpakant, home of the mines in northern Burma. There they witness an appalling spectacle: barbaric mining conditions prompt rampant drug use by despairing miners who share needles and spread an HIV/AIDS epidemic among the local community of unprotected prostitutes. Neither the Burmese government nor the owners of the mines are interested in doing anything about the catastrophe other than exploiting it for jadeite production. Levy and Scott-Clark carry a compelling story back from the depths of a true circle of hell.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316525961
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 1/7/2002
  • Edition description: 1 AMER ED
  • Pages: 432
  • Product dimensions: 6.32 (w) x 9.54 (h) x 1.32 (d)

Table of Contents

Illustrations
Author Note
Acknowledgments
Introduction
1 An Emperor's Obsession 3
2 Lord of the Mines 29
3 A Jungly and Evil Place 57
4 The Palace Plunderers 80
5 'The Far Off, the Strange, the Wonderful, the Original, the True, the Brave, the Conquered' 109
6 An Imperial Side-Show 140
7 Twilight in the Forbidden City 171
8 Whore of the Orient 200
9 As Dead as the Moon 234
10 The New Lord of the Mines 259
11 Welcome to Jadeland 283
12 The Valley of Death 312
13 Romancing the Stone 345
Notes 367
Bibliography 387
Index 393
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)