Jade is really two different stones. Can you spot the differences?

Jade Vault
3 min readOct 21, 2022
Raw Jadeite and Nephrite stones

Contents

- The birth of Jadeite and Nephrite
- The chemical makeup
- The other qualities
- How is Jade used?
- The Jade at JadeVault

The birth of Jadeite and Nephrite

A gemstone known as Jade dates back over 7,000 years, revered by ancient civilisations around the globe. However, in 1863 mineralogists revealed that Jade was in fact two quite distinct minerals.

As a result there became two subcategories of Jade, named Jadeite and Nephrite. Although the two are alike in appearance, the chemical composition and crystal structures are very different. A keen eye would be able to select which is which or the two minerals can be tested for their composition, likely originality and any post-processing to alter the stones.

Why is this all important? Well the two minerals have varying qualities in appearance, toughness, density and texture. This greatly affects what can be done with the stones and as a result, their attractiveness and value.

The Chemical Makeup (the technical bit)

Jadeite’s chemical composition is ‘sodium aluminium silicate’ and Nephrite is ‘calcium magnesium iron silicate’. This is what gives Jadeite a higher density and hardness.

The Other Qualities

In contrast to the chemical makeup, the crystal structure of Jadeite is grainy, in comparison to Nephrite being fibrous with an interlocking texture. As a result, Nephrite is the tougher of the two and the toughest gemstone of all. (Jadeite is still very tough — the second toughest of all).

The colours are also very important.

Nephrite often comes in greens and greys but can also lean towards white, yellow and red. Jadeite comes in a wider range of colours including green, lavender, yellow, black and white. Jadeite is also rated by its quality of colour with Imperial Jadeite being almost a translucent green and extremely rare. More common jadeite is often greyer and whiter.

Imperial Jadeite

How is Jade Used?

The toughness of both Jadeite and Nephrite makes an excellent material for carving intricate designs. Alongside its beauty, ancient cultures have used the minerals in a number of ways including decorative pendants, ornaments, jewellery and weapons, such as sharp spear tips. The glossy green of Imperial Jade also makes an impressive gem for fine jewellery, with its rarity giving it a higher price tag than emerald.

Newer technologies are also allowing sheets of Jade to be cut from large monolith deposits. These can be crafted as thin as a few millimetres and used to make tables, panels and ornamental covers, maybe even for your iPad.

Having been treasured through centuries of civilisation, especially in the Eastern world, Jade also possesses a number of virtues:

  • Its smoothness is related to the virtue of humanity
  • Its translucence, the virtue of justice
  • Its sound, the virtue of wisdom
  • Hardness, virtue of courage
  • Purity, virtue of honesty

These make the mineral highly desirable for good luck and fortune.

Carved Jadeite into cabochons, a bracelet and a pendant

The Jade at JadeVault

Our Jade is exclusively Jadeite. It is classified as ‘Type A Fei Cui’ which is a globally recognised official standard for genuine, untreated Jadeite.

Our Jadeite comes in a variety of grades in relation to how it is naturally mined. These grades cover the full spectrum from Utility, through Commercial to Imperial Jadeite.

Our Jadeite is also very product friendly. Due to the nature of the large rocks, commercial products can be crafted such as tables and panels as well as all the attractive smaller items from gems to rings.

Any questions? Get in touch with our team at jadevault.io and we’d be more than happy to chat.

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