Mohs scale hardness: Nephrite 6-6.5, Jadeite 6.5-7.
Jade is the stone valued for its beauty and utility. It is the mystical birthstones for March and the suggested gems for 35th wedding anniversary. The cult of jade stone goes back to Neolithic times in China, when the versatile stone was fashioned into tools and weapons, as well as symbolic objects for ritual. Eventually it came to be known as the “Stone of Heaven” and formed the bedrock of Chinese culture. China’s religion, ceremonies, philosophy and art are all closely bound with jade stone.
Confucius wrote that jade held all the most excellent qualities that men should aspire to. Yu, the Chinese word for jade stone, took on a larger meaning and was used to describe greatness and beauty. A beautiful woman was known as a “jade woman” and the highest Taoist divinity was referred to as the “Jade Emperor”.
Difference Between Jadeite and Nephrite
Jade stone comes in two distinct varieties that are actually two different minerals: nephrite and jadeite. Both types of jade are extremely hard, tougher than granite and more difficult to carve than solid steel. Jadeite is about the same hardness as quartz, although jadeite is slightly harder than nephrite, fractures more easily. The variety known as nephrite is a silicate of calcium and magnesium, while jadeite is a silicate of sodium and alumunium. Other impurities which may contained in jadeites are calcium, potassium, chromium, magnesium, titanium, manganese and water. Under a microscope, nephrite appears as tightly interwoven tufts of filament-like fibers. Jadeite shows a more crystalline structure.
Jade is the toughest gemstone in nature, although nephrite and jadeite (the jades) are relatively easy to scratch and much softer than diamond but its resistance to chipping is extremely high. Diamond is the hardest gemstone in nature but it can be broken by a hard blow.
Nephrite was the only type of jade used in ancient China, most of which was obtained from the Kunlun Mountains. While small deposits of jadeite exist in scattered parts of the globe, upper Myanmar is the only place in the world with a large and consistent supply of gem-quality jadeite. The Manchu emperor Chi’en-lung quickly developed a passion for the vivid green Imperial Jade stone for which Myanmar is justly famous, and jadeite soon surpassed nephrite as the favored gem of China. Both nephrite and jadeite jades are white when pure.
What is Imperial Jade?
Jade stone comes in a huge range of color and patterns. White jade stone is usually nephrite. Blue-green, mauve, orange-red or lavender colors are always jadeite, and are the rarer and more valuable of the jade types. Imperial jade refers to a translucent, deep emerald green jadeite and it is considered as the most valuable type of jade.
The intense green color of the imperial jade is due to a small amount of chromium, while the presence of iron (Fe) gives the stone a paler green, blue-green, bluish black, or blue-black. The darkest color contains a relatively high amount of iron oxide. The mauve color in jadeite is relaeted to the presence of manganese. For those jade lovers as well as collectors, do becareful when purchasing jade stones as many unscrupulous gem dealers sometimes like to dye white jade to the color of imperial jade and sell it for higher prices. Although jade is currently one of the most beautiful and affordable gemstone, unfortunately it is also one of the most commonly imitated.
It is believed jade stone have special properties:
- Curing ailments of the loins and kidneys.
- To increase body strength and add longevity.
- Used as a good luck stone and to attract good fortunes.
- To eases eyestrain.
- To offer protection and harmony.
- Chinese believe if the jade you wear breaks into pieces, it means you will or are in deep trouble. (i think is probably true, since jade is the strongest gemstone so how come it breaks easily, unless it is a fake jade, maybe you get some kind of warning).
Astrologically, jade stone is associated with the zodiac sign of Virgo.
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