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Jade Description

Jade has been cherished for thousands of years. It’s considered pure and enduring enough to inspire the wearer’s highest spiritual aspirations, yet sensuous and luxurious enough to satisfy down-to-earth cravings. 
Two different gem materials can correctly be called jade. Jadeite is one of them, and the other is nephrite. Both are actually metamorphic rocks made up of tiny interlocking mineral crystals. These interlocking crystals make both gems exceptionally tough.

Jadeite comes in a wide range of attractive colors: Many shades of green, yellow, and reddish orange, plus white, gray, black, brown, and lavender (often a light purple or light grayish violet color). The coloration is often streaked or mottled, giving jadeite gemstones an interesting visual texture that carvers can use to create imaginative and intriguing effects.
Nephrite is also accepted as jade in the international gem and jewelry industry. It ranges from translucent to opaque and can be light to dark green, yellow, brown, black, gray, or white. Its colors tend to be more muted than jadeite’s, and they’re often mottled or streaked.

Modern gemologists use the word “jade” as a generic term for both nephrite and jadeite.
To understand the value of jade, you have to look beyond its durability and its role as a gemstone and beautiful adornment. Jade is a spiritual stone with significant meaning that’s intricately woven into the Chinese culture.

Jadeite’s three most important qualities, in order of their impact on its market value, are color, transparency, and texture.

When jadeite buyers evaluate fashioned jadeite, they consider many factors. First, they judge its color under both fluorescent and incandescent light sources. They check its level of transparency. They look for even coloration or a pleasing mottling of colors. They also look for fine polish and undistorted surface reflections. Clarity is important, too, because any fractures can strongly affect value.

Jadeite’s transparency ranges from completely opaque to semi-transparent. The best jadeite is semi-transparent, meaning the text you can read through it would be slightly blurred. Because light penetrates below the surface, semi-transparent jadeite has an alluring brilliance. It almost appears to glow, increasing the charm of a lush green or rich lavender hue. The least desirable jadeites are completely opaque or have opaque or cloudy patches that break up their transparency.

Jadeite has a smooth, even texture that makes people want to touch and hold it. Jadeite’s texture can be fine, medium, or coarse, depending on variations in crystal size and hardness. These texture categories are sometimes called, respectively, old mine, relatively old mine, and new mine.

The finest-quality jadeite is usually cut into cabochons for use in rings and other jewelry. When buyers judge cabochons, they consider symmetry, proportion, and thickness. Calibration is not as important for top-quality material as it is for more commercial qualities. The finest jadeite cabochons are rarely cut to calibrated sizes because the cutter’s goal is to save rough weight.
Fine-quality jadeite might also be cut into round beads, which are carefully selected and strung into strands. Color and texture are the most important factors for matching jadeite beads. Manufacturers also match transparency, size, and symmetry of cut. Because matching is difficult, especially for color, longer strands or larger beads can sell for extremely high prices.

Size and Weight
Jadeite size is commonly expressed in millimeters. The value of cabochons, beads, and bangle bracelets rises with an increase in size, all other quality factors being equal. With top-quality imperial jadeite, slight differences in size can make large differences in value. With nephrite, larger sizes do not raise the value dramatically in most cases.

The Chinese associate jade with clarity of mind and purity of spirit. Some of the ancient symbolic motifs still used in modern jade carvings (both nephrite and jadeite) include:
  • Bat—happiness
  • Butterfly—long life
  • Dragon—power, prosperity, and goodness
  • Peach—immortality
  • Bi (flat circular disk with a hole in the center) – heaven
1)      GIA Edu –encyclopedia. Jade History and Lore- Retrieved December 22, 2016 from