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The term jade conjures up ancient artifacts gathering dust in museums. Few people realize the extent of the modern jade industry where a million people produce and deal in this precious stone. Jade is more popular in China now than it has ever been. More has been carved in the 21st century than in the rest of human history. Through his love of jade Andrew Shaw has gained access to the highest circles of Chinese society and acquired a formidable depth of knowledge. He will discuss why this precious stone is so important in Chinese culture and how, over thousands of years, it has captured the heart and soul of the people in China and beyond. In his interactive talk, Andrew will also speak about the illicit trade of fakes and show examples of different types of jade and other stones that people try to pass off as the real thing. He will provide clues on how to detect reproduction jade and provide hands-on opportunities for people to test their abilities. Those attending the talk are also invited to bring pieces of personal jade, which Andrew will assess to determine its validity.

Andrew Shaw grew up in north London, and before entering the world of jade, worked as a senior reporter for the BBC General News Service. He travelled the world covering ground-breaking news, including 9/11 and the Tsunami in Japan which took the lives of more than 200,000 people. During this time, he was also an award-winning documentary maker. In 2008, he changed his life, moved to China, learned to carve jade and in a few short years became a gold medal-winning master carver. He now lives with his wife in the city of Suzhou near Shanghai where he has a studio and gallery.