Nephrite & Jadeite
Jade Origin & Physical Properties
Jade is the common name for two separate minerals. Nephrite Jade is a silicate of calcium and magnesium, while Jadeite is a silicate of sodium and aluminum. Jadeite is slightly harder, measuring 6.5-7 Mohs, while Nephrite is 6 to 6.5 Mohs. Jade can be translucent to opaque, often with a mottled appearance. Colors range from light to dark green, yellow to brown, with sometimes white to black nodules. Nephrite Jade has been used most frequently throughout China, New Zealand, southeastern Asia and Neolithic Europe. Jadeite usually ranges from pale green to a deep jade green, but also occurs in pink, lavender, white and black colors. Nearly 70% of the world’s Jadeite today originates from Myanmar.
The distinction between Nephrite and Jadeite was not recognized until 1863. Nephrite is a fibrous matrix consisting of calcium, and the iron-rich magnesium mineral called amphibole. Jadeite is actually a microcrystalline interlocking of crystals made up of sodium and aluminum-rich pyroxene. The use of Jade for ceremonial purposes dates back to ~6000 BC. It has long been one of the most popular materials for carving, both for utilitarian and ceremonial objects. It’s use in jewelry is mainly confined to beads but Jade is also polished into cabochons and wearable carvings.
Vitreous or waxy
1.6 – 1.67
Greenish: weak; whitish: Glimmer; nephrite: None
Translucent to opaque
Dark green, gray, red, blue, yellow, orange, black
China, New Zealand, Russia, Russia, Guatemala
Brings Harmony, Stabilizing, self imposed limitations
Jade Healing & Metaphysical Properties
Jade has been an important metaphysical tool around the world for millennia. Jade is the dream stone, and acts like a calming force in chaotic times. It has long been a symbol of life, of virtuous knowledge and endurance. Green Jade is particularly effective as a stone of renewal and vitality. It is strongly connected to the Heart Chakra and represents the Yang aspect of this energy point. Jade can revitalize the energetic body and calm the emotions.
For man cultures, Jade has represented abundance. It is said to encourage prosperity in the material realm and is a strong symbol of security and stability. The Goddess of ancient China, Kuan-Yin is often symbolized in Jade. She is the Goddess of compassion, unconditional love and a protector.
Jade History & Mythology
Nephrite Jade was mined in abundance in ancient China from at least 6000 BC. Jade was an imperial stone with an important status and was crafted into many ceremonial objects for royalty, scholars and the wealthy who could afford it. The Chinese developed certain techniques using cord and natural abrasives to shape the Jade stones before using drills to carve intricate depictions into its surface. Chinese held that Jade symbolized the five virtues of courage, compassion, wisdom, justice and modesty.
In New Zealand Jade has played a crucial role in the Maori culture. Called ‘pounamu’, meaning ‘green stone’, it is considered a national treasure. It can only be found on the South Island of New Zealand, which is known as “The Place of the Greenstone”. Carved taonga jade pieces are treasured and are said to grow in their power as they are passed on generation to generation. Apart from ceremonial objects, the Maori carved nearly all their tools in jade including adzes, chisels, drill points, fishing hooks and weapons.
In Mesoamerica Jade was a treasured and rare material. When the Conquistadors arrived in Central America, the Aztecs valued Jade more than gold by weight! The Olmec, Maya and Aztecs used Jade for ornamental carvings, inscriptions, weapons and important ceremonial objects. For hundreds of years, western explorers could not find the origin of the rare Jade used by the native cultures.