Crazy Stones: The Chinese Gamblers Betting Millions on Rocks
On April 23, a Chinese court finished hearing arguments on a curious legal suit. In 2019, a businessman from the southwestern Yunnan province identified in media reports by his surname, Zhang, sold an 18-kilogram rock of rough jadeite to Ma, the chairman of a well-known steel company, for 80 million yuan ($12.4 million). Although Ma knew the risks involved in buying uncut jadeite, when he cut it open he was nonetheless angered to learn that the value of his purchase was far lower than he expected: just 4 million yuan. Telling Zhang he’d like to try again, he had the broker go to Myanmar to buy another stone.