Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Gemstone Highlights: Jade (Repost)

a picture of a jade rock from

is a name applied to two different metamorphic rocks:  Jadeite and Nephrite. Its name comes from the Spanish "piedra de ijada" or loin-stone, because it was believed by the Amerindians as a remedy for loin and kidney ailments, and thus placed on the body for such. Alternative spellings include "jaid" and "jadeite."  "Nephrite" is derived from the Latin version of the Spanish words.

Ancient Stone

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Known to man for over 7000 years, prehistorically, it was collected more for its toughness which made it ideal for tools and weapons. In 3,000 B.C. jade was known as the "royal gem" in China, not only used in the finest objects, but in grave furnishings for members of the imperial family. The Mayas, Aztecs and Olmecs of Central America honored jade more highly than gold. In Egypt, jade was considered the stone of love.

Dyed Jade Drops Clip on Earrings

Composition and Location

Jadeite is a sodium- and aluminum-rich pyroxene in a microcrystaline interlocking crystal matrix. It is rarer than nephrite and regarded as more precious.  It is found in China, Russia and Guatemala, with the best stones coming from Myanmar. Jadeite polishes to a glassy luster.

Nephrite consists of microcrystaline interlocking fibrous matrix of tremolite which is a calcium and magnesium-iron rich mineral.  It is found in China, New Zealand, Swiss Alps, Siberia, South Korea and the USA (Wyoming and California). Nephrite polishes to a resinous luster.

Both are tough, dense, close-grained, matted aggregates that only differ in their chemical composition. Jadeite has about the same hardness as quartz (Moh's Scale 6.0 - 7.0) while Nephrite is softer (Moh's Scale 6.0 - 6.5).

Color and Value

The value of jade is according to its color and color intensity, texture, transparency and
Petite Dark Jade Clip On Dangle Earrings
clarity.  Different cultures and regions vary in their favor of certain stone colors. In green jade alone, the connoisseurs differentiate between seven main qualities which range from the intense dark imperial jade, to apple green, to spinach green to the lighter and speckled shades of green. The higher the iron content the greener the color.  Jadeite also shows more color variations including blue, lavender, pink and emerald. Nephrite on the other hand can be found in a creamy white form known in China as "mutton fat" as well as the variety of green colors. Both jadeite and nephrite often have veins or streaks running through them; though not considered a flaw, some patterns are considered valuable.  However, it is the very finest jade that is evenly colored.

Caring for Jade Jewelry

It is quite simple. A mild, soapy water solution is the best way to keep jade clean.  The use of a soft bristle toothbrush is also useful if the jade is intricately designed or has crevices. Never use ultra-sonic equipment or jewelry cleaning solutions on jade.  It is also best to remove jade jewelry before swimming in a pool or hot tub (due to chlorine) or the ocean, and before messing with dirt and soil (due to quartz dust in soil that may be abrasive.)

Birthstone, Folklore and the Mystical

Jade is the alternative birthstone for August, the 12th anniversary stone and 35th modern/modern alternate anniversary gift. Its zodiac association is with Venus, and it's considered the mystical birthstone for March.  As noted above jade has a high regard throughout Asia comparable to gold and diamonds in the West.  Egypt admired jade for inner peace, harmony and balance, while China regards this gem as the symbol of the good, the beautiful and the precious. Gemstone therapy uses jade to stimulate creativity and mental agility.  In Chakra classification jade is related to the 4th or Heart Chakra. Healing properties are said to include the heart, kidneys, the immune system and the nervous system. Jade in all types and colors is said to be protective and especially strong for children against illness.  Distinct colors of jade are said to produce individual results. offers over 500+ non-pierced earrings, including the jade clip on earrings featured in this blog post.