Samples of the jade discs for the bronze medal (L,cyan jade) and the gold medal (R, white jade) at a ceremony in Beijing, January 3, 2008. Kunlun Jade, a precious stone from the Kunlun Mountains in Northwest China's Qinghai Province, will be used in the Olympic medals for the Beijing 2008 Games.
The news was announced here on Wednesday following a ceremony at which the government of Qinghai Province signed a memo of understanding with the Beijing Games organizers (BOCOG) on jade donation for Olympic medals.
"All the 3,000-plus jade discs, which are to be set into the gold, sliver and bronze medals, will have been processed by March, before they are handed over to BOCOG," said Jidi Majia, vice governor of Qinghai Province.
"The jade all comes from part of Kunlun Mountains in Qinghai, which boasts abundant high quality jade." he added. "We have different colors of gemstone, which will be fit to make Olympic medals as the gold, the silver and the bronze medals need different colors of jade."
Earlier last year, BOCOG unveiled the designs for the Olympic medals. For the first time in history, the medals blend gemstone and metal. On the reverse side of the medal there is an inlaid jade ring with a metal centerpiece engraved with the emblem of the Beijing Games.
The gold medal has a white jade ring, the silver's is greenish-white, and the bronze's is a glittering cyan jade.
Soon after the BOCOG unveiled the jade-inlaid medals design, the organizers received a request from the government of Qinghai Province saying its people are willing to donate the jade from Ge'ermu city, in the Kunlun Mountains.
"We have one of the best gemstones in China," explained Jidi. "Besides, Qinghai Jade is not only profuse but multi-colored. So Kunlun Jade qualifies for use in the Olympic medals."
"We are honored to have the opportunity to do something for the Olympics and to promote Chinese culture," he added.
As jade embodies elegance, nobility, and virtue in Chinese culture, the design of jade-inlaid Olympic medals is regarded as a successful blend of East and West.
The jade is also renowned for its benefits to health as it has different mineral elements, including zinc, magnesium, iron and copper.