KHOTAN, China — As long as anyone here can remember, the muddy river that flows through this oasis city in southern Xinjiang has yielded creamy white stones, their rough edges polished smooth by the waters that tumble down the mountains from Tibet.
A man searched for jade at the White Jade River in Khotan, China. Ounce for ounce, the finest jade has become more valuable than gold.
And as long as anyone can remember, those stones — a type of semitranslucent jade — were about as valued as, well, a pile of river rocks.
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