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"Stone of Heaven" at Koldinghus, Denmark

1st part

HRH Prince Henrik of Denmark has collected Oriental jade all his life. The collection, which is housed at Fredensborg Palace, Amalienborg Palace and Château de Cayx, covers an extensive range both in terms of style, size, form and colour, and numbers more than several thousand objects. Parts of this collection are exhibited here for the first time and can be experienced at Koldinghus (Denmark) from 22 January to 27 August 2017 in the exhibition “Stone of Heaven. HRH Prince Henrik’s Collection of Oriental Jade”.

                                                                                                                              © Lærke Posselt

In Asia, jade stone has been given the poetic title ‘Stone of Heaven’, and because of its beauty jade has become associated with the spirit world – as a link between heaven and earth.

Jade stone, with its aforementioned beauty, colour and texture has been used for carved figures, imperial objects for everyday use, gifts for the dead, protective talismans and jewellery. As jade has not been utilised in Denmark to the same degree, the exhibition will, therefore, give the visitor an insightful glimpse into the artistic craft that is not only unusual to our culture, but which stretches back several thousand years.

 

                                                                                                                              © Iben Kaufmann

Prince Henrik’s eminent collection of jade figures makes up a unique platform for the presentation jade as a material, which is a relatively unknown precious stone to most people in the Western world: an unacquaintedness that stands in sharp contrast to Asia’s thousands of years of history and culture, where jade art has been an integral part of life.

 

 

                                                                                                                             © Iben Kaufmann

In a series of brief films, Prince Henrik himself will introduce visitors to the exhibition’s six themes: colour, form, utility, religious artefacts, fabled creatures and historic styles. In the films the prince will tell some stories of the history and memories linked to selected objects, and the prince will also tell of the background to his great passion for jade.

                                                                                                                              © Iben Kaufmann

courtesy of Koldinghus, © Koldinghus

The "Stone of Heaven" exhibition at Koldhinghus, Denmark

22 January 2017 - 27 August 2017

2nd part

Intrigued by the jade collection of Prince Henrik of Denmark, we decided to make the trip to Denmark to discover a part of this collection which was displayed at Koldinghus, in Kolding, Denmark.

The truth is that we have never been more puzzled than when we got out of the exhibition.

We knew that Prince Henrik of Denmark, born in Talence (France) had spent the first years of his life in Indochina and that he was fond of jade. We also knew that his jade collection was displayed in three places: Fredensborg Palace (Denmark), Amalienborg Palace (Denmark), and Cayx Castle (France), and that part of this collection had been gathered at Koldinghus for this special exhibition.

Why are we puzzled? Because we thought that exhibiting Prince Henrik's collection would give a clearer view of jade to the public, with explanations about meanings of jade, as well as historical and gemmological points. And that the focus would be made between "real" jade and fake jade (the latter might represents 90 to 95 % of the world market)

The exhibition is pleasant, especially since Koldinhus is a well restaured castle, but we have the feeling that pieces are more present in quantity than quality.

Of course it is difficult to judge by seeing pieces through a showcase but it seems that the great majority of the pieces is not jade. Adding to the confusion, except in the second room where pieces from the National Museum of Danemark are displayed and their composition is stated, no indication of origin is mentioned.

Information panels indicate the various kinds of jade, jadeite and nephrite, but without any relationship with the items displayed above. All materials are mixed, without any explanation. 

The Prince seems to show the most objects possible, without focusing on jade (or more widely material) quality. He says in a video that he only buys what he likes, which is a good thing. But when items are displayed in a museum exhibition, one expects more rigour, particularly concerning comments: in a video, the Prince takes a carving out of a carboard box and is ectatic about this beautiful "jade" object which can be seen in the exhibition but the problem is that this statue does not seem to be jade, but serpentine (which is often called by the commercial name "China jade" in Asie).

The piece that the Prince takes off the carboard box seems to be the same that the one displayed in the exhibition: 

No explanation is made about treated (and often dyed) jade while several specimens are a crying example of poor quality dyed jade/stone. 

above, the green and purple piece displays colours which are probably due to a dying process

Whether it be in Denmark or elsewhere, the public has often a very confusing, and sometimes erroneous idea about jad. So we can only regret that this exhibition gives a more confusing idea about jade. We are sorry, but we think that this exhibition would have never taken place should the owner have not been the Prince of Danemark.

We want to thank the team of Koldinghus for their warm welcome as well as Ms Nanna Ebert, Head of Communication. This visit was a way to discover this superb castle with very interesting rooms, especially the ones with exceptional silver pieces.

Koldinghus, South of Denmark

medals and Danish medal winners of the Beijing Olympic Games (2008); jade used for the gold medal is very rare white nephrite jade

the right pendant, worn by the Prince on the poster of the exhibition, is a very beautiful green imperial jadeite jade from Myanmar

  

 

 

Everybody knows James Bond, the British secret agent imagined by Ian Fleming. Some are more interested in the cars he drives (and damages), others by his female conquests, others by the countries he visits to complete his mission.

At Eurojade's, we are going to talk about a subject which is of interest to a very small audience: jade in James Bond's movies!

"James Bond girls" always wear more or less remarkable jewellery. But on the total of twenty-six James Bond movies as of today (September 2016), there is only one where a "James Bond girl" wears jade jewellery: it is 1974 "The Man with the Golden Gun".;

Andrea Anders (Maud Adams, a Swedish actress) recovers golden bullets in a casino in Macao, while watched by James Bond (Roger Moore). We can see a dark green pendant but this pendant is widely hidden by her garment. Then Andrea Anders leaves the casino, followed by bond, and takes a hydrofoil from Macao to Hong Kong, still followed by 007.

The pendant is clearly visible when she is on the boat and when she gets out of the hydrofoil station in Hong Kong. 

   

 

This pendant was made after the original for the "Designing 007: 50 years of Bond style'" exhibition at La Grande Halle de la Villette in Paris. The London jeweller David Morris, who signed several James Bond girls' jewels and conceived the original, made the copy.

Here is the copy made for the exhibition:

 

 

It is obvious that the colour is much lighter green for the copy than the original pendant.... which we found on an internet website dedicated to James Bond's autographs and movie props:  

We must admit that we are puzzled: the pendant sold on internet as the original movie prop does not have the same colour as the copy we saw at the exhibition! 

This pendant is sold as: a wonderful major prop from "The Man with The Golden Gun". An oriental carved malachite pendant of fruit and foliage design, with a diamond set floral mount, suspended by a continental (!) yellow metal link chain, worn by Maud Adams as Andrea Anders... Maud Adams as Andrea Anders, Scaramanga's ill-fated lover, is seen wearing this pendant during the scene when Lazar drops off the golden bullets in the Casino by placing them in the wicker basket from which Andrea retrieves them. James Bond aka Roger Moore follows her then on the boat from Macao to Hong Kong. Absolutely one of the major props from Bond history as prominently seen on screen. Obtained from a Christie's sale in London, Great-Britain, many years ago.". Inside E.U. price: 2,982 euros, German 19 % VAT included, export outside E.U price 2,506 euros.

We think that there is little chance that the prop might be jade, and the German website selling the original prop (which would be much more expensive if it were natural jadeite jade) might be right: the pendant is probably made of malachite. A jade pendant of this type would have been far too expensive. At that time, it was not usual to have actresses wear real jewellery for James Bond movies (you can see that that there is numerous costume jewellery with strass in the exhibition. It is only in more recent movies that actresses wear real jewellery).

In order to solve this mystery, we asked the jeweller David Morris about this pendant and are waiting for his answer...

Update as of February 24th 2017: in spite of several mails which were sent to him, the royal jeweller did not give any answer to our questions until we asked the same question on the social network Facebook... ha the "magic" of social media!

Here is the translation of the complementary information which was given on January 23th: "The replica pendant of the Bond movie was indeed made by David Morris for the purpose of the travelling "Designing 007: 50 years of Bond style" exhibition, and comprises genuine jadeite in a 1960's gold chain".

This does not give any answer to our question about the pendant of the movie (and not its replica). We asked again the jeweller, but the gemmologist was on holidays until the next Wednesday... since then we have had no news.

Conclusion: the pendant of the movie seems to be made from malachite as the on line shop selling props of James Bond movie advertises and not jadeite.