Cultural appropriation refers to the adoption of practices, customs, and ideas of a person or society by the members of another group that is typically more dominant in society, turning it or making it their own.
It is a touchy subject for most communities, cultures, and subcultures. The group whose ‘thing’ is taken up by the ‘majority’ group often feels that the larger group is taking up their traditions, ideas, practices, or the customs is appropriating their culture.
In such instances, the majority group members will adopt the cultural ideas and elements of the minority group, albeit in a disrespectful, exploitative, or even a stereotypical manner.
Generally, the main elements of cultural appropriation include culture, which covers everything, including behaviors, ideas, customs, institutions, values, language, and beliefs.
In contrast, appropriation has to do with borrowing something from a group that’s been oppressed or exploited. So, having dreadlocks, wearing large gold hoop earrings, or wearing a jade bracelet may be cultural appropriation.
But is wearing a jade bracelet considered a form of cultural appropriation? Or rather, does it bother one group (the minority) to use the jade bracelets?
We’ll answer this question, but first, some basics about jade bracelets.
About jade bracelet
Jade bracelets or the jade stone bracelets are high-quality green-hued bracelets whose stones are believed to carry many positive and healing influences, such as balancing the heart chakra and enhancing your physical and emotional health.
Jade stone bracelets were prominent in ancient China. They were worn by nobility and other members of society because the stones were believed to be protective against negative energy and intentions.
It is also believed to help wearers deal with trauma and past wounds while also opening up the wearer’s heart to love, openness, and understanding.
On top of that, jade stones are considered stones of grace, representing grace, purity, and elegance. And a wearer of the jade stone bracelet also did that not to honor their family and keep the family bond but also because it brings the wearer good fortune, wealth, and health.
There are two main types of jade stones, the jadeite, and the nephrite, but the jadeite is much more valuable and rare than the nephrite.
Jade is mainly held in high regard among the Chinese, and for the Asian Americans, despite being a stone that is regarded as overly traditional, jade stones are considered a symbol of hope.
Jade is a stone often incorporated in bracelets for the Chinese, and parents and grandparents pass it down to generations. It’s also highly revered in most Asian cultures, where it’s regarded higher than gold or even diamonds.
For most ancient cultures, however, and according to legend, jade stone bracelets offer protection from misfortunes. If the bangle or bracelet breaks, the stone has done its job of absorbing evil intentions directed at you. So, it may be time to replace the jade bracelet.
And so, for many Asian-Americans, the jade bracelet is the one crucial tether that connects them to their families. It is also a great family heirloom passed down from their grandmothers and mothers, so jade bracelets are highly regarded and valued.
Jade bracelet origin
Jade has its origins in ancient China, and it has been used in most ritual ceremonies since 5000BCE. It has always been considered one of the most powerful stones, and the Chinese view this stone as a powerful stone that can protect the spirit and the body of the wearer and even the dead.
Recordings from early China note that Jade, also known as the royal gem or yu, and its value is comparable to that of gold and diamonds, while its toughness allowed for its use in weaponry and toolmaking.
Over time, the value and popularity of jade spread beyond Asia to ancient Egypt, the Mayas, Central America, the Olmecs, Aztecs, and even to the indigenous tribe of Maori from New Zealand.
What do jade bracelets symbolize?
Jade symbolizes protection, and it is worn to ward off injuries and evil. The ancient Chinese gave their daughters and sons jade bracelets to ward off evil and remind them of the protection and love of their parents.
Jade bracelets are also a symbol of beauty, and it is a precious stone that embodies the Confucian beliefs and virtues of modesty, courage, compassion, wisdom, and justice.
Is wearing a jade bracelet cultural appropriation?
No, jade bracelets are not considered a form of cultural appropriation. The bracelets are stunning accessories that represent beauty, protection, and love, and even for the Chinese and Asian communities, these meanings hold, and anyone can wear the jade bracelet.
For the most part, therefore, the idea of the jade stone bracelet being culturally appropriated may be considered an absurd thing, mainly because small vocal groups only popularize it.
It’s also interesting to note that Asian culture is hardly considered appropriate because it is all about mixing and mingling, which led to their significant, long-term cultural and regional influences.
It’s also worth noting that the Chinese culture consists of at least 55 ethnic communities. All these communities have adopted similar styles and share beliefs, so it’s safe to say that the bracelets haven’t been culturally appropriated.
Is wearing a jade Buddha cultural appropriation?
No, it is not cultural appropriation. And so, if you want to wear the buddha because of your traditions and beliefs that resonate with the Buddhist belief systems, then you should wear the jade, Buddha.
Generally, there is nothing wrong with wearing a Buddhist symbol if you aren’t Buddhist.
Can white people wear jade necklaces?
Yes, white people and anyone who loves stylish or statement jewelry can wear a jade necklace.
Jade is essentially a stunning, protective, and high-value stone that looks great and would be worth investing in. And anyone can wear a jade necklace.
Tips for wearing jade necklaces from other cultures
- Don’t be afraid to try jade necklaces or bracelets with stones in different colors
- Choose green jade jewelry for a formal and a more sophisticated look
- Jade jewelry in pastel colors is much easy to style
- Opt for the dainty jade jewelry over the chunky pieces
- You could also dress up jade jewelry pieces with your classy evening dresses
- Jade accessories look great in casual settings, especially the jade pendant necklaces
Wearing jade bracelets and necklaces is not considered cultural appropriation, so anyone can wear jade accessories.
Stephanie is a jewelry lover when she was a teenager. Her major was fashion design when she was in college. She is a jewelry designer at SOQ Jewelry and other design companies. Now she is also a writer for our website. She writes a lot of designs&brands posts with very actionable tips.