Hundreds of townsfolk in Hejiang county, Sichuan province, flocked to a local river in search of jade, after a rumor about precious stones spiralled in recent weeks, Apple Daily reported Thursday.
Several hundred people were seen sifting sediment from the riverbed in search of raw jade, Tao Dengyong, deputy chief of Nantang town.
There had been rumors that one of the residents had sold some stones for more than 10,000 yuan (US$1,570).
Tao said safety is the town government’s biggest concern.
Samples of the stones have been sent to national laboratories for testing, he said.
If the test results suggested the stones are not jade, the town government will take measures to stop the rumor from spreading further.
Tests of two samples examined at a provincial laboratory suggested that the stones were normal quartz containing silicon dioxide, which can have a shiny appearance.
Senior engineer Du Guangrong, who was part of the team who examined the samples, said it could be a scam in which merchants try to rip off customers by saying there is jade in the stones, which are in fact made to look shiny and translucent using chemicals.
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