Claudia Bunce owns and operates a mining company in Jade City near Dease Lake, B.C., and is the star of Discovery’s JADE FEVER.
Jade City is located on the Cassiar highway, which the Americans use to enter Alaska. It didn’t take long for this tiny mining community to become a world famous tourist stop. My father started mining around Jade City in the 1970s and retired in 1992.
My husband Robin and I have taken ownership of the Cassiar Mountain Jade store and set up Dease Lake Jade Mining, all with the help of our family. We’re the only family based mining company that we know of. There isn’t a large scale in mining in the jade industry — that is why it’s still here!
We mine from May to October with our sons — Josh, who operates heavy equipment, and Justin, who cuts the jade so we can grade the quality of it. And our grandchildren are our best marketers and have entertained the tourists in our store since they were born.
Jade can be turned into various goods including jewellery, Inukshuk puzzles, sun catchers, jade pet rocks, jade plates and bowls. The plates come in all shapes and sizes, from fish-like forms to bears and leaves. We also make head stones and urns for ashes. Anything done out of stone, marble or glass can be made out of jade, and if it can’t be done — we’ll invent a way to do it!
Canada has some of the best jade in the world — and we are proud of it. The jade mining industry is estimated to be worth billions of dollars. On average, the estimated price for top quality jade can be as high as $1,000 per kilo.
Mining jade is hard work, and it’s no easy task to find the good stuff. We are four generations, happy to be making our livings in the jade mining industry — and we have the fever alright! We didn’t realize it would be so contagious, though.
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