Things to do in Taipei, Taiwan: Jade market
Taipei's jade market can be a very surprising place. The first surprise is that the jade isn't all green. The second surprise is that the stallholders don't seem very enthusiastic about selling jade.
Although jade is associated with the color green in the West, it is actually found in a wide variety of colors, including white, red, yellow, brown and purple. However, a good strong shade of green is the most valuable color, particular for the rarer jadeite variety of jade.
Although the jade sellers at the Taipei jade market aren't impolite, they often seem rather uninterested in selling jade, much to the surprise of visitors. The reason for this is complex. It may be that they find casual visitors to not be very good customers, because they don't understand jade and just want to buy the cheapest items and bargain the price down unreasonably. Of course their attitude tends to discourage customers even more, unfortunately. They will usually warm up a bit if you make it obvious you're serious about jade.
In Asia jade traditionally has a similar status to gold as a disaster-proof way of storing capital. Unlike gold, however, it may actually become more beautiful and valuable with age, because, when jade is worn, the color can grow more vivid. People say this is because the jade is protecting the wearer by absorbing all their bad luck. More likely it's due to a combination of body warmth and natural oils.
You can find the Taipei Jade Market on Jianguo Road. The nearest metro station is Zhongxiao Xinsheng station.
It's the country's largest jade market, although it only opens on Saturdays and Sundays. Just to the south, on the same road, is the Taipei Holiday Flower Market, which opens on the same days.