Jade

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Considered a very lucky stone, jade is the common name under which two of its varieties lie. The very rare kind, called jadeite, is a composite of sodium aluminum silicate. Nephrite, which is much less costly and more frequently found, has a composition of calcium magnesium iron silicate. Jadeite is usually white or green in color, whereas nephrite ranges from white to dark green. However, the colors of these two stones are so similar to each other that they were once considered the same stone. It was only in 1863 that they were distinguished from each other as two separate gems because of their different chemical compositions.

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Characteristics and usage

Jade, a very hard stone found in a variety of colors, comes in two different silicate forms. It is the official stone of a province in Canada.

  • Jadeite and nephrite are two different forms of silicate. Jadeite is a pyroxene; nephrite is a form of amphibole actinolite.
  • Nephrite ranges from creamy white to green in color whereas jadeite shows more color variations. It may be found in a brownish, bright emerald-green hue or in pink or lavender.
  • Jade is an exceptionally hard stone and therefore was essentially used to make durable tools such as axe heads, weapons and knives. It was only when other materials replaced this usage of jade that people recognized it to be a beautiful stone to possess or to be used in jewelry.
  • Jade is the official gem of British Columbia and is found in large deposits in

Lillooet and Cassiar regions.

History

Jade has a long history throughout civilisations across the world.

The word 'jade' is derived from the Spanish words 'piedra de hijada', meaning 'the stone of the loin'. When the Spanish conquerors invaded South America, they were charmed by these stones, which were studded into the loincloths worn by the natives around their waists.

From the Neolithic Age, jade was considered to be the 'royal gem' in Chinese civilization. It was used for religious purposes in the creation of many utilitarian and ceremonial objects ranging from decorative ornamentation to jade burial suits. In early times, from the kingdom of Khotan, yearly tributes of white jade were sent to the Chinese Imperial court, where they were re-constructed to manufacture 'objets d'art' by skilled artisans and were attributed more worth than gold and silver.

Faux jade

Beware of jade look-alikes.

Numerous minerals are sold as jade including serpentine carnelian, aventurine, quartz, glass, grossularite, Vesuvianite, soapstone and Australian chrysoprase.

Enhancements

Jade may be enhanced to increase its attractiveness.

  • Jade may be treated with surface waxing.
  • Jadeite may be exposed to chemical bleaches or acids, thereby suffusing it with polymer resins to improve its color and transparency.
  • Jade may be stained or dyed. The red color of red jade is achieved through a heating process. However, the translucency is lost and the color often fades to brown over time.

Mystical usage

Jade is believed to have mystical properties.

Jade is often associated with Chinese culture. The Chinese people believe that jade represents courage, vitality, wisdom, mercy, justice, emotional balance, love, and fidelity.

It is also a symbol of beauty, generosity, and purity. It upholds the virtues of love, health, wealth, and long life.

Jade encourages peacefulness and the ability to strike a balance among the emotional, physical and material worlds. That is why it is related with occult wisdom. It is believed to bring luck in matters of health and wealth.