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Jade Guide

ABOUT JADE (in brief)

Jade is the one gemstone with the longest history from coast to coast. Though its history is perhaps made most famous by the Chinese, jade has played prominent roles in many other cultures in North to South America, New Zealand, Europe and Russia-all of which highly revered it a stone of high value and status.

"It has a 'certain something' that made a Chinese emperor offer 15 cities for a jade carving he could hold in one hand; that made Montezuma smile when he heard that Cortez was interested only in gold, since Montezuma's most precious possession was jade. That caused men of civilizations, oceans, and centuries apart to believe it to be the stone of immortality. That made some men forbid it to their wives, and other men speak through it to their gods, and still others spend years carving a single object from it."

The mysteries of Jade is ancient and still persists to mystify jade admirers with its unique qualities as the "Stone of Heaven". This gemstone is believed to bring its wearer good health, good luck and protection. So, while everything has a price, Jade is priceless because it stands for the essence of purity and the symbol of life.



Earliest history of Jade in China began with Nephrite jade.

It is considered the "Stone of Heaven" more prescious and reverent than anything else on earth. Being so revered and honored, it was only rightfully worn only by the Emporer, who was considered the "Son of Heaven". The Chinese consider Jade, the "Stone of Heaven"~ a sacred mineral, used as the material for making sacred implements and articles. It was not until Chinese started trading with it's neighboring countries that Jadeite, from Burma, began to appear in China's Gem history. The distinction between jadeite and nephrite was not made until the late 1700-when there was sufficient scientific knowledge to find the differences between the two stones. Thus, Nephrite is the truely original jade in the greatest and most famous of all Chinese Jade history. As the "Stone of Heaven" to bless all that which it touches.

Across the Seas, Jade in Mayan Culture

Jade was revered in the Mayan culture as the "Sovereign of Harmony", facilitating balance within the physical, emotional, and intellectual planes. It brings harmony to the environment by releasing the negative and instilling resourcefulness. It is believed that Montezuma, king of the Mayan empire, was relieved to hear that the Spanish Conquistadors were only interested in Gold, not Jade, when they arrived in the New World.

Across the Seas, Jade in Maori Culture

Jade in New Zealand was honored by the Maori natives who consider it a talisman of protection~to provide an invisible defense against attack and illness.

GEOGRAPHY. Sources of Nephrite Jade occur in a number of locations along the Pacific Rim.
Rocky Mountains of US (Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California) and 3. 3. Canada (British Columbia)
Other US Territories (Wyoming, Appalachian Mountains)
Russia (Siberia)
New Zealand
China (Kunlun Mountains)

Today, the highest quality nephrite is found in British Columbia.

BUYER BEWARE: Jade Simulants
"Simulants" are natural gem minerals and glass or plastic substitutes that appear to have some of the same visual characteristics as jade, but lack jade's unique optical, physical and chemical properties. For example, Mexican jade-is the trade term for a Mexican calcite.
Other examples:
Amazon jade-amazonite.
Henan Jade-Talc
Suzhou Jade-Serpentine
New Jade-Serpentine
South African Jade-TL Grossularite
Verdite-Verd-antique mixed with Marble
Maw-Sit-Sit - serpentine mixed with zoisite


While Jade is a term for two stones: nephrite and jadeite, the jade that the ancient Chinese carved was nephrite jade. Though they knew about jadeite that was brought in from Burma, only nephrite was considered to be real jade. Jadeite only became popular when trade with Burma was openly allowed and encouraged in the late 18th and 19th century.

Deposits of Nephrite jade have been found in New Zealand; Taiwan; Siberia; China; British Columbia, Canada; Alaska, California, and Wyoming, United States; and Guatemala. Of these places, Taiwan and Canada have been reputed as the top commercial quality producers. However, Taiwan's mines have already been depleted since the 1980's, so today, British Columbia, Canada is the world’s largest supplier of Nephrite Jade.

British Columbia nephrite is characterized by a deep and rich green, and often have bright chromium specks. It is this same chromium mineral that is responsible in giving the stone its green color.

Part of the unique characteristics of this gemstone is in its soft, glossy appearance, luster, unusual colors, and extreme toughness. Its first recorded use in history was a pragmatic one. Because of its toughness that is of the strength greater than steel and sizeable nature, it was first utilized as one of mankind’s first tools; axes, knives, and weapons. Because of this, Jade became a prized material, and was deemed a rare and sometimes spiritual gift; "Stone of Heaven". Eventually it became a symbolic stone used as gemstone, as well as, ornamental stone. In early Chinese history, this "Stone of Heaven" was designated only for the royal family and highest ranking religious leaders and deities.

Jade is valued for its color and its lack of cracks. Polished pieces should be shiny, and hold a luster that appears to be greasy and is cold and smooth to the touch. For finished, carved pieces the quality of craftsmanship and the overall color of the piece is the most important value factor, attention is also paid to translucency, texture, and pattern.

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