It’s been called the stone of the heavens, the musical stone, the stone of the loins and some people believe it can predict the future. Found in mountains and riverbeds it is considered to be “the essence of Heaven and Earth”.
Today Jade is recognized as two distinct but similar types of stone – Jadeite and Nephrite. However, over the centuries the name Jade has been applied to a wide variety of minerals including: Serpentine, Turquoise, Malachite, Agate, Hornblende, Marble, Amazonite (Green Feldspar), Idocrase, Calcite, Aventurine, Amethyst, Coral, Ruby and Sapphire.
Pure Jade is pure white. All other colors are due to minute quantities of metals such as iron, chromium, vanadium and magnesium in the crystalline structure. The most sought after color is a deep translucent green known as Imperial Jade. Other popular colors include Lavender Jade, Blue Jade, Purple Jade and even Jade Cats Eyes. White Jade is traditionally known as Mutton Fat Jade.
Although it measures just 6-7 on the Moh’s Scale of Hardness, Jade is actually tougher than steel! It is this toughness that has ensured its enduring popularity and makes it an ideal gem for Gold Rings and other jewelry. Jade Carvings, Cameos and Pendants are timeless and Bracelets, Necklaces and Chokers made from Jade Beads (including various Fancy Colors) are another perennial favorite.
Jade is found in a variety of locations with Myanmar, Guatemala and Russia’s Ural Mountains the main commercial deposits. Other Jade locations include: Rhotan in Mountainous Western China, The Jordensmishl Nephrite Jade Deposit in Poland, the Appenine Mountains in Italy, India, Switzerland and the Netherlands.
When evaluating Jade there are four main factors to consider:
COLOUR : The colour should be penetrating, vivid and also be evenly distributed.
TRANSLUCENCY : The clarity should be as consistent as honey while the translucency can range from near transparent to opaque.
TEXTURE: Jade can be fine or coarse but the best quality is clear and free of impurities.
CUTTING : As Jade is often sold as finished artworks, the quality of the workmanship is paramount.