From the “greatest stone under heaven” to plain old lucky rocks, Chinese rock hounds are a devoted bunch

Would you spend US$25,000 for a simple rock?

Odds are you wouldn’t, but with the economy booming in China, plenty of collectors are eyeing just such treasures.

And at just such gaudy price tags.

More than 300 rock markets and exhibitions are held throughout China annually, according to the China Stone Appreciation Association, generating an estimated RMB 20 billion (US$3.17 billion) each year.