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Friends of Jade is now a public site

Dear Friends of Friends of Jade:

Today is an important moment in our history. The original Friends of Jade organization began in England in the 1980s. I got involved while writing and photographing the "Jade" article for National Geographic Magazine and began writing jade pieces for the paper-based "Friends of Jade Bulletins." At that time American Robert Frey and Brit Robert Deans were producing a paper "Bulletin," usually once a year into the 90s. After Bob Frey died, Robert Deans did not want to manage FOJ alone. A dry spell with no Bulletins spurred Roger Merk in San Diego to print a revival color issue of the FOJ Bulletin in 1992. Thereafter, Friends of Jade lay dormant.

In 2004 when I decided the world of jade had waited too long for a voice, I announced a web-based entity. Obviously, we had enthusiasm. Soon we surpassed the number of members the paper-based FOJ had had in the 1980s. Between spring of 2004 and now, membership has continued to increase and our web-based archives contains material about jade that is unavailable elsewhere.

It is now time for another great leap forward. The new Friends of Jade website will no longer be fee-based. Instead it will be open to the world as the premier resource for jade information. Beginning this week I expect to see the number of "hits" on the site explode as global jade enthusiasts, dealers, traders, researchers, prospectors, miners, writers, photographers, and just plain interested people log on for a look.

For our wonderful core group of about a hundred FOJ members, you can now toss your FOJ username and password. Log on as you would on any other site. Also, please be my eyes and ears to see what you like and what others are viewing for the first time.

The obvious first question you may ask is how we will support a free site without an annual fee. It will be funded the same way most of the world's Internet sites are--by ads. We will allow companies and people with an interest in jade to advertise on the site, which will look very similar to all the other web sites you visit now. Our new direction will take time to settle down. The benefit of opening up the site is that we may have thousands of people logging onto the Friends of Jade site.....which will be a good thing for us and for jade.

Stay in touch and keep logging on for new information........

Thanks and regards for all your ideas, articles, support, and interest.

Fred Ward
Friends of Jade