Jade

WHAT IS IT?

  • Thought to be of one variety until 1863, when Jadeite and Nephrite were identified

  • Confused with Serpentine which is softer (2.5 to 4 versus 6 to 7).

  • Serpentine is also called "False Jade" or "Teton Jade" (often dyed to deceive buyers)

  • A form of Chatoyant Actinolite is known as "Cat's Eye Jade", but is not a true Jade

  • Chrysoprase is marketed as "Australian Jade", but is not a true Jade (It is chalcedony)

JADEITE

  • A Metamorphic Pyroxene mineral with the composition NaAlSi2O6

  • Harder and generally rarer than Nephrite

  • Hardness: 5 to 7 (Quartz is 7)

  • Formed under high pressure at low temperatures

  • Metamorphizes from Albite (NaAlSi2O8)

  • Color:. Pale to Deep Green, Blue-Green, Pink, Lavender, Black

  • Iron, Chromium and other trace elements contribute to the color

  • Primary source of gem-quality jadeite: Myanmar ("Burmese Jade")

  • Other sources: British Columbia, California, Guatemala, Italy, Japan, NZ, Russia, Turkestan

  • Considered the "Imperial Gem" in China

  • Introduced into China from Burma in 1784 (prior to 1784 all Chinese jade was Nephrite)

  • "lmperial Green" jade from Myanmar most prized in China (can be as expensive as diamond)

NEPHRITE

  • A Metamorphic Calcium-Magnesium Silicate: Ca2(Mg, Fe)5Si8O22(OH)2

  • Darker Nephrite consists of iron rich Actinolites

  • Lighter Nephrite contain more Magnesium rich Tremolite

  • Hardness: 6 to 6.5

  • Color: Grays & Greens common; Brown, Yellow, White less common

  • White to Pale Yellow "Mutton Fat" Nephrite from Khotan, China is rare & expensive, often exceeding the price of Gold (up to $3000 per ounce)

  • Chinese "Chicken Bone" Nephrite is Opaque White and may have a light gray or brown tint with a coarse chalky texture

  • Largest source: British Columbia, Canada (5% of B.C. Nephrite is of prime quality)

  • Other sources: Australia (largest black jade deposit), China, Korea, NZ, Poland, Siberia, Taiwan, USA(AK, CA, WY mainly)

  • Best quality deposits: B.C, Siberia

WHAT IS IT USED FOR?

  • Neolithic weapons (jade was used before metals were available because of its toughness)

  • Ceremonial & decorative objects (esp. In China)

  • Was believed to cure kidney stones when rubbed on the body

  • The Maori of New Zealand used Nephrite to make weapons & Ornaments.  The southern island was known as "The Land of the Greenstone Water”

  • Jewelry is made from "Greenstone" Nephrite in New Zealand (most of the raw material is now imported from B.C.)

  • Currently used for ornamental purposes Carvings, Beads, Cabochons & for homeopathy