What is Jade

What is Jade?

Jade : History

Being one of the most popular gemstone types, Jade’s name would probably always ring a bell even to those who are not gem or jewelry enthusiasts and collectors. This gem name is known for its beautiful green color, but it can actually also be available in other colors like white, red, lavender, orange, gray, black and even blue. Amazing, isn’t it? Not only is Jade an exciting stone because of this fact. Equally, the stone’s history is as interesting.

Jade’s interesting history can be traced back to some 5, 000 years ago when the stone’s first uses were recorded. In fact, even before the stone was officially discovered and given a name, stones that resemble similar color and tough characteristics as Jade were referred to as ‘jade’. Before its gem-quality samples were discovered, the stone was used as a utility tool in the old times. These include being used for hammering hard objects, making axe heads, and other weapons used by ancient civilizations in hunting and war.  Ancient religious beliefs also made ritual objects from carved Jade stones. Through time, Jade had been widely utilized as a raw material not only as an aid to survival but also as an ornament - like ornamental sculptures and as body embellishments like jewelries, amulets and carvings. 

Two Varieties of Jade : Jadeite and Nephrite

The term Jade may sound very simple, not to mention common, but the stone actually comes with many complex features, and is in itself a wonder that needs to be aptly translated.

There are two gem minerals that are called Jade: Jadeite and Nephrite. Both of these stones are metamorphic rocks whose hardness is especially attributed to the interlocking of tiny mineral crystals that make up these stones. They used to be indistinguishable until scientists made clear-cut distinctions between the two in the 20th century. Both are usually valued for their remarkable green color, but there are differences that separate them from one another.

Jadeite is a calcium aluminum silicate that is considered to be rare in the gem and jewelry market. Rich emerald green, also known as the ‘imperial jade’ color, is its most valued color, but the stone is available in different tones like white, red, pink, blue and lavender to name a few. These stones, moreover, are often mottled or streaked, which even make the Jadeite stone a true piece of eye candy.

On the other hand, Nephrite is a variety of Jade which is a calcium magnesium silicate. Unlike Jadeite, its color varieties are not as lively and varied as  the former, but they are still either streaked or mottled.

Physical Properties

Both Jade varieties , although having different chemical compositions and physical attributes, are equally durable and have nice shine when polished. With a hardness score ranging from 6.5 to 7 in the Mohs scale, both stones - Jadeite and Nephrite - are ideal jewelry materials, especially for those which are intended to have intricate and unique designs and shapes. Although Jadeite produces smoother and more appealing vitreous luster when polished, Nephrite’s luster is also one for the record. Both can also have opaque, translucent to transparent appearance, but the most coveted is the almost-transparent rich emerald green (Jadeite) variety. These stones also have splintery fracture, a monoclinic crystal system and fine fibrous or grainy crystal habit which add up to the overall aesthetic of the stones when cut into beads or cabochons for jewelry making. 

Geographic Distribution

The distribution of Jade gemstones has reached an undeniably global scale, and a few places have been deemed to produce top-of-the-line samples of the stone. These include China, Guatemala, Russia, New Zealand, Swiss Alps, the United States, and Myanmar. However, although natural specimens of the stone are available in the global gem and jewelry market, it is also worth noting that knock-offs of these stones are also being circulated at relatively lower prices, which is why everyone should be extra careful.

Jade and Jewelry

Because of its beautiful appearance characterized by regal colors, most commonly green, with dainty mottles and streaks, proven record of toughness and durability, splendid shine and luster, and its added cultural and historical value, Jade is among the most sought-after gemstones in the jewelry-making industry.

Beautiful cabochons, beads and loose stones - even small, intricate carvings - are among those that the beautiful Jade stone can be made for. These stones can be used in making bracelets, earrings, brooches, pendants and many more. Assemble it with other stones of complementary colors in a mix-and-match style, or in an all-Jade construction with gold or silver strings, cords or accents, jewelry pieces made from Jade stones are true headturners.

Metaphysical & Healing Properties of Jade

Not only does Jade’s color make it a jewelry market’s favourite. This stone is also equally popular for its many beneficial metaphysical and healing properties.

According to gem experts, Jade is a stone of harmony and happiness. It promotes good relationships among families, at work, or among couples. It is said to keep only the positive energies and releases off the negative ones in order to calm and clear the mind of its wearer and the people near him / her. It is also believed to have the ability to stabilize systems of the body for an overall integration. This gives someone with a Jade stone focus and drive to reach for their dreams and succeed.

The two varieties of Jade - Jadeite and Nephrite - are said to also have their own healing properties. Jadeite, the more expensive and rarer variety is believed to promote longevity, love and health. It is said to aid in keeping its wearer from accidents and illnesses, which in the long run would help someone live a long life. A heart that is open for love is also what this stone is said to anchor. The stone helps in healing emotionally disturbed and broken individuals. It gets rid of hatred and makes way for forgiveness and love to overflow.

Physically, the Jade stone is believed to aid illnesses relating to the kidney, spleen, skeletal system and tissues. In fact, because of this, the stone was used to be referred to as the ‘spleen stone’ by Mesoamericans in the old times.

How to tell whether what you have is a genuine Jade or not

Because it is one of the in-demand and highly valued gemstones for jewelry-making, Jade is very prone to imitations and replicas - and the worst part is, some stores are not being honest about it for the sake of sales! This is why it is important to be able to know how to tell whether the Jade you have is real or a knock-off.

One of the easiest ways to check whether what you have is a real Jade or not is to hold the stone in your hand. Your hand’s temperature would make it a bit warm, but the stone should immediately become cool once you take it out and set it aside for a few seconds. Real Jade stones cool down pretty quickly.

Another tip to remember when checking for a Jade stone’s authenticity is that genuine specimens don’t have uniformed and even color. If it is, it may be fake. Jade stones usually have mottles and streaks, and sometimes incorporate some other tinges.

Given the relative hardness of the stone, one could also check for their Jade stone’s genuineness with its ability to stand scratches at a quite stronger level. If your stone scratches easily, you may have to return it!

Take off message

Jade is one of the toughest gemstones in the gem and jewelry industry when it comes to beauty and durability. However, this does not mean that it should be taken care of any less. No matter how tough the stone is, any abusive usage of it could also mean the end of it.

Two things: If you want them to last the way they should, take care of them, but first, make sure to purchase them from legitimate gem stores like Gomggsale where quality and honesty are not sacrificed in the name of beauty.

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