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  • Jade
  • Mines Producing Jade

Also Known As : Metamorphic Rocks - Jadeite - Nephrite

Jade, as an ornamental rock, is equally referred to, to describe two different metamorphic rocks, jadeite and nephrite:

Jadeite - an aluminium and sodium rich pyroxene that forms the rock that is a micro- crystalline interlocking crystal matrix.
Nephrite – a micro-crystalline interlocking fibrous matrix belonging to the calcium- magnesium-iron rich amphibole mineral, tremolite (a form of asbestos). The higher the iron content the deeper the green colour.

Jade has had a special appeal to mankind for many thousands of years, both as a gemstone that has a unique symbolic energy that attracts various myths, and because of its expressiveness and beauty. It has a greasy discrete lustre that comes in numerous fine shades of green, a colour for which it is most easily recognised but it also exists in various shades of delicate violet, orange, yellow, black, grey and white tones.

Three thousand years ago jade was known in China as a royal gem, “yu.” It has a long history in Chinese culture and art, and has developed special significance similar to that of gold and diamonds in western countries. It was used as grave furniture for members of the Chinese imperial families as well as cult figures and as some of its finest objects. In China today jade remains as a symbol of good, beauty and preciousness. It embodies Confucian virtues of courage, modesty, compassion, justice and wisdom. A symbolism on public display at jade markets in Rangoon and Hong Kong.

Besides the Chinese having long historical links with jade as a gemstone of considerable importance to its culture, it had a similar influence on the Central American civilisations of the Olmecs, Aztecs and Mayas. New Zealand Maoris use jade to carve out weapons and create cult artefacts and ancient Egyptians admired it as a stone representing harmony, peace, love and balance.

Nephrite is considered to be of lesser value than jadeite because of it being more readily available. There are nephrite deposits in the Swiss Alps, Guatemala, Russia, New Zealand, and China. A darker jade known as Canadian jade is located in western Canada. Jadeite is located in Guatemala, Russia and China but it finest examples are found in Burma where the stones are known as Myanmar.

Jade is regarded as a fascinating gemstone around the world but its main appeal remains with the Chinese where it is collected as an antique with important religious or faith connection. In Western countries people tend to collect jade more as small bowls, cigarette holders and snuff-boxes. In more recent times jade has been used in modern designs as creative jewellery, breaking from its traditional character.

In most markets today the value of jade is determined by its colour intensity, its texture and its vivacity as much as its transparency and clarity. Colour preferences differ between regions and cultures. In western countries the most popular jade remains green although even here there are many qualities jade connoisseurs prefer as there is imperial green jade, apple green jade and spinach green jade as well as heavily speckled to lighter shades of green.

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