The term jade is Spanish in origin and goes back to the Spanish conquest of South America but Jade itself was first known to man about 8,000 years ago.
A stunning green colour, jade is instantly noticeable and adds a glamourous hint of colour to any piece of jewellery. Popular in the 1920s during the Art Deco time, jade is a timeless stone but one that is not as popular as others.
What is Jade?
Jade is type of silicate and is formed of either jadeite or nephrite. These are two distinct materials but look the same and have the same uses. In China, for example, nephrite arrived in the 18th century from Burma, now known as Myanmar, and at that time was the only real jade. Jade is extremely hard (7 on the Mohs hardness scale.)
What is Jadeite?
Slowly, the superior qualities of the apple to grass green jadeite, which when polished has a fine orange peel effect, came to be appreciated and its value increased. This light green imperial jade appears reddish when viewed through a Chelsea filter.
What is Nephrite?
Nephrite, which is dark green and takes a very smooth polish, was then somewhat forgotten as jadeite became the forefront. Today, both these variants are sold under the name of jade.
However, jadeite can be worth ten to one hundred times more than nephrite.
What Colours Can Jade Come In?
Jade comes in a vast range of colours, green, pink, violet, brown, black and yellows. By far the most prized is jadeite emerald green, which is known as “imperial Jade.”
Where Does Jade Come From?
The most expensive jade comes from Burma (Myanmar). Other jadeites come from Mexico, Tibet, California and Japan.
Nephrite is found in Western Canada most commonly now, although pre 1800s the “mutton fat” yellow-y white nephrite jade was found in a region of China called Hetian, which is in north western China.
Why is Jade So Expensive?
A purer, more interrupted jade colour such as Imperial Green or one with a lavender hue will fetch much more value, in the millions on occasion.
The cultural and spiritual importance of jade in China has kept prices high, as most upper- or middle-class houses in China want to own purer, un-treated jade. Sourced from Burma, Imperial Jade is the most sought-after type of jade in the world. Historically, the Royal Court of China had a standing order for this type of stone, hence where the name Imperial Jade came from.
Today, jade carries a high value and a large jadeite necklace will fetch many thousands of pounds.
What Stones Imitate Jade?
There is a large number of stones that resemble jade, such as chalcedony and the quartzes, which can be confused with jade. It is not easy to produce artificial jade so there is little of it on the market.
Historical Uses of Jade
In early times, jade was used for tools, household implements, objets d’art and religious accoutrements. Also, jade has always been used to make jewellery, rings, pendants, bracelets, broaches, and earrings.
What is the symbolism of jade?
Jade is believed to bring love to a relationship and then prosperity and happiness, for many giving jade to someone is giving them your love. It holds great standing in Chinese culture and in alternative healing due to it’s holistic properties.