'Jade Fever' in northern B.C. showcased in new Discovery Channel series
Claudia Bunce looking to attract new jade buyers to ensure the future of mining in Jade City, B.C.
A lesser-known resource in B.C.'s economy is the star of a new Discovery Channel TV series, Jade Fever, which follows the Bunces — a family of miners in Jade City, B.C.
"It's a gorgeous green, natural stone — there's nothing more natural than that," matriarch Claudia Bunce told The Early Edition's Rick Cluff.
"It brings us money, it creates an industry in our community, so what's not to love?"
Bunce and her family live in Jade City, B.C. — a "stop on the road" along Highway 37 in northern B.C. founded by Bunce's father. As the name indicates, the economy is centred around jade.
"Everybody says it's really not a city, but it's a city! There's 35 of us and we sell Jade. We all live there and love it," she said.
"It's natural. It's rural. It has a massive amount of jade there. We have probably about 500 tonnes of jade sitting around."
An estimated three quarters of the world's nephrite jade is in B.C. mountains, and is primarily sought after by Chinese buyers.
"They treat it as a commodity. They treat it more like gold so it gets handed down from generation to generation and they buy it just like they buy gold," said Bunce.
Unlike gold Jade doesn't have a standardized grading system — its value depends on the buyer.
"It's the weirdest thing to price and to grade because every culture has a different grading and pricing. It's almost like we do have to auction it off for the best price," she said.
"It really does go from $20 a kilo to $2,000 a kilo. Once it gets to China it can go to $3,000 an ounce. It really is demand."
Bunce hopes the green stone will attract the interest of new markets so she and her family can continue mining and selling jade.
"It really is a lifestyle. You have to want to live in the bush, on a quad ... our family argues but we love each other. We have each other's backs."
To hear the full interview with Claudia Bunce, listen to the audio labelled: Claudia Bunce's jade fever.