Why was jade so precious in ancient China?

There are a number of reasons why jade was considered so important.

Jade is not only beautiful to look at, but also is wonderful to the touch. It is cool at first but warms in your hand. Jade is quite rare and to find a good sized piece of high quality is very difficult. It is also a very difficult material to work. It may have taken many months to make larger or more complicated jade ornaments.

Jade was used as a symbol in ancient Chinese literature and was compared to anything that was good, pure or virtuous. In the West people say that someone is 'good as gold' or has a 'heart of gold'. In China gold was not considered the most precious material. Something very good would have been described as being like jade.