Monday, July 13, 2009

What is Jade?

Jadeite vs. Nephrite Jade
Jadeite is a pyroxene mineral with a hardness of 6.5 to 7.0 on the Mohs scale depending on the composition. Jadeite is formed when high-pressure is applied to Albite.

Jadeite's color commonly ranges from white through pale apple green to deep jade green but can also be blue-green, pink, lavender, and a multitude of other rare colors. Color is largely affected by the presence of trace elements such as chromium and iron. Its translucence can be anywhere from entirely solid through opaque to almost clear. Variations in color and translucence are often found even within a single specimen. Typically, the most highly valued colors of jadeite are the most intensely green, translucent varieties, though traditionally white has been considered the most valuable of the jades by the Chinese, known for their carefully crafted jade pieces.

Currently, the best known sources of gem quality jadeite are California, Myanmar, New Zealand and more recently Guatemala; other localities of jadeite include Kazakhstan, Russia, British Columbia, Alaska, and Turkestan.

Nephrite is a variety of the calcium and magnesium-rich amphibole mineral actinolite with a hardness of 6 to 6.5 on the Mohs scale.

Nephrite can be found in a translucent white to very light yellow form which is known in China as mutton fat jade, in an opaque white to very light brown or gray which is known as chicken bone jade, as well as in a variety of green colors.

Nephrite is found in Canada, China, Alaska & New Zealand.

Nephrite jade in New Zealand is known as "pounamu" in the Māori language, and is highly valued, playing an important role in Māori culture. Jade jewelery in Māori designs is widely popular with locals of all races, and with tourists – although much of the jade itself is now imported from British Columbia and elsewhere.

See more Jade here.
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PolymerClayTutor said...

I did not know that about jade. I've made faux jade in polymer clay but I didn't know it had so many colors like that. What beautiful pictures you've posted! ~Cindy Lietz

Yana said...

I like the dragon!