By Ellsworth Dickson
The beautiful ornamental mineral jade has been carved since prehistoric times. Jade is actually two minerals – jadeite and nephrite. The more iron, the more green it appears. And it’s hard to carve being about as hard as quartz, or hardened steel.
Recognizing the huge market for jade, in the past couple years the New Sun Group (Canada, Hong Kong, Mexico) has been developing new jade products that aim to maximize profit for Canadian producers across the jade value chain (JVC).
Under the guidance of Samuel Dilts, President, the New Sun Group has produced a model of the JVC, as well as two new patents and several new trademarks and strategic social media properties for their marketing. Their portfolio also includes new sources of raw materials for its products – nephrite in Canada, the US, and Central and South America – as well as jadeite in many colours from Mexico and Guatemala.
Mexico is proving to be a cost effective place for prototype design and market testing, and jadeite from Guatemala is gaining momentum after Myanmar prices continue to rise and the social well-being of miners continues to be degraded.
To secure a competitive position in the jade value chain New Sun is defining new intellectual property for the jade design sector that is distinguishing its brand, the New Sun®, with products for interior design and architecture, and industrial and jewellery design.
Distribution across several sectors is the company’s plan to optimize financial performance as the traditional ‘ungraded raw materials for export’ model in Canada loses its foothold due to wide-scale profit loss in offshore processing.
“This ‘old model’ cannot sustain itself, which is why we have seen many new jade mining and export companies in recent years fail to develop exploration of new properties,” said Dilts. “Another contributing factor is the widespread availability of high-quality nephrite from several new producing countries. Our research shows the Chinese market is flooded with raw materials, with thousands of tonnes of jade building up behind doors in warehouses around the country. Only modern design will unlock those doors to keep production in motion.”
Dilts noted that, “Sadly, these warehouses are an image of what one source refers to as “the biggest resources heist in modern history’ (Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 2015). We have received greater support from US producers than from Canadian producers still working primarily from the ‘old model’ or which are wholly foreign-owned enterprises exporting raw jade to the Chinese market.”
As a Canadian design firm, the New Sun Group aims to advance domestic production of new fashions and trends manufactured with competitive technology and distributed with the “Product of Canada” trademark.
“We believe in the practicality of doing business in North America, a market of 600 million people, as well as taking advantage of streamlined operations for Hong Kong-based import and distribution companies, like our BC-Jade Ltd., Hong Kong,” said Dilts. “There is no need to force the degradation of our raw materials production in North America through the diminishing returns on falling wholesale profits. The Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada is working with us to analyze current jade export policies as we continue to market our certification of origin (COO) and authentication strategy for our value-added jade products.”
Canadian diamonds underwent a similar decade long process that established the Canadian Diamond Code of Conduct (CDCC). This is important for sustainability for Canadian producers as well as for New Sun’s Jade Bullion product success, its stakeholders and the environment. Cooperation with NR-Can and Global Affairs Canada is progressing, although participation from producers hanging on to the ‘old model’ has been minimal.
“What they need to understand is that changes to the way we export nephrite, which was achieved for the diamond industry, will not kill it, rather develop it for North Americans where we begin to see a fair share of the profits being lost to offshore manufacturing,” noted Dilts.
The New Sun Group has produced a model that defines this development, and it has been marketing around China and North America. New Sun is producing certified Jade Bullion on demand, and seeking North American joint ventures in marketing and distribution of its “bullion” bars of jade and other products.
“After market testing of our premier trademarked products, the Jade Sink, the Jade Bullion®, and the Jade Diamond®, we are excited to continue with our design agenda to complete more products for non-traditional sectors, Dilts said. “We consider our products strategic premium accessories that are well-researched for the modern investment landscape; assets to the emerging domestic image of the jade industry for North American consumers. We focus on ‘designing profit’ for all grades of jade produced, and exposing the North American brands of nephrite and jadeite that are otherwise ‘mutilated’ when they enter the Asian market.”
Jadeite from Guatemala is gaining momentum after Myanmar prices continue to rise, and the decline of social well-being in the mine sites has become more commonly known by such publications as the 2014 documentary by The International New York Times entitled Jade’s Journey Marked by Drugs and Death”. Guatemala possesses very high-quality jadeite in many colours; it is a comparatively short flight, and industry knowledge dates back to the early Mayans, more than 2000 years BC. This is actually much older than the jadeite industry in China, as nephrite, the same as we find in Canada, was the original ‘imperial jade’ of China.
“We have several locations now to source raw materials in Guatemala that we are now using to produce prototypes of new designs to test in the North American market. Export from Guatemala has proved to be efficient and without complication,” explained Dilts. “The industry there does not demonstrate the human rights problems wide-spread in the Myanmar jadeite industry, therefore, we have defined a sound base for our corporate social responsibility. There is no money and no integrity in working to fill up warehouses in China – business models such as this are killing the future of the jade industry at its sources.”