Jade is commonly found in veins embedded in walls of rocks, boulders and in river streams in much smaller quantities . At first the ancients most likely just picked the jade out of rivers however when they realized where it could also be found they were forced to use some time consuming techniques such as building a fire near a line of jade and letting the stone warm up so at night the cold temperatures would crack the stone and also the ‘winter’ technique where they would drill holes in the boulder and fill it with water and come back up the mountain in the spring and collect the jade from the split rock. They would then have to put the slabs on the back of camels and carry them back down the mountains.
The modern technique of jade mining uses earth moving machines such as backhoes to find the line of jade and then creates mining shafts to mine the jade. When they are looking for jade in boulders tap the rock with a metal tool as boulders with jade make a different sound or the look for a different texture of stone. They then drill into the rock.