Quick guide to the most loved gemstone in the East, the jade, which also like in the West. Read how to learn to recognize jade (there isn’y only one) ♦
In China is the gemstone for excellence: the jade is a mineral ancient, valuable and widely used in jewelry. Now not only in the East, but also by many Western jewelers, who use the jades for their creations. But beware: the jade not all the same. Read this guide to learn more and get to know it.
What is it. The term jade includes generally two different stones: jadeite and nephrite. The reason for this misunderstanding is because jadeite and nephrite mineral species that are difficult to distinguish. This ambiguity leads to confusion, especially to those who want to buy a jewel in jade. Nephritis was discovered long before Jadeite, about 5 thousand years ago, and was much appreciated by the Chinese emperors. The oldest jade objects found date back, however, about 7 thousand years ago in pre-Columbian era. Thanks to its hardness, nephrite was used as an ornament, but also for making tools. The nephritis is mostly green and white, with a color pale more than jadeite. In the jewelry industry, however, the word jade is often used as a generic term for nephrite and jadeite. Not only that: the term jade has also been applied to gems and ornamental materials that resemble jade, and sometimes even some artificial equivalents reminiscent of jadeite and nephrite. One more reason to be careful when buying a jade jewel.
In some cases, for the oxidation, also it reveals red and orange shades. It is a mineral abundant and widespread in the world: is located in Taiwan, California, Alaska, British Columbia, Wyoming, New Zealand and Russia. Jadeite is a stone chemically different, classified by the French mineralogist Alexis Damour in 1863. The jadeite has a much more vibrant color of nephrite, is more transparent, more rare and valuable, which is why it is used in jewelry.
The origin. The name jadeite from Spanish phrase “piedra de ijada” meaning stone side. It was believed that would serve to treat kidney stones when rubbed against the side of the body of the afflicted person. The Latin version of the name, lapis nephriticus, is the origin of the term nephritis.
Features. The jade color can range from white to pale apple green, deep green, but can also be blue-green, pink, lavender and a multitude of other rare colors. The color is largely influenced by the presence of trace elements such as chromium and iron. Its translucency varies: the jade can be opaque to nearly transparent. The jade is usually cut in cabochon beads or whether it is mounted on rings and pendants. It is widely used for small sculptures or tools. The coloring is often streaked or mottled: a characteristic that makes jadeite stones very aesthetically pleasing. Furthermore, these streaks can be useful to carvers, who use them to create imaginative and intriguing effects.
The value. Nephritis is less appreciated, unless they make up a very old object. The actual value depends on the processing of the material. In general, the nephritis has not a huge demand when it comes to jewelry and has not the same value of jadeite. When buying jade you must pay attention to the quality, determined by the degree of translucency, transparency and purity of color. One of the most popular variety is the black jade. But often the black jade is actually nephritis, much more abundant and not so expensive. Occasionally, other minerals like serpentine or quartz are sold as jade. At the time the request is made more jade mines of Burma: the great demand, especially from China, has pushed up the price.
What to pay attention to. It seems incredible to say, but there are those who sell fake jade jewelry, which is actually plastic. Sure, it’s a very hard and refined plastic, but it’s not real jade. How to avoid cheating? The first rule is to beware of selling jade jewelry at a very low price. Don’t be fooled by special offers or, worse, by jewels of dubious origin: they are almost always scams. In China, for example, there are state-owned stores authorized to sell jade. Of course, the price is much higher …