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Contrary to popular belief there are actually two kinds of the jade gemstones. The two kinds of jade are jadeite jade and nephrite jade. The two minerals share the same name, but they have very different chemical compositions, gemological properties, and appearances. These two types of jade may also be known as soft and hard jade. Jade has a strong association with the ancient Chinese culture, and ancient Chinese societies used jade for decorations, knives, needles, and axes.

Ancient Chinese people viewed white jade as the most precious of all jade, and saw green jade as being inferior to the ancient jade. The Chinese people used Green jade as decoration. The view and the uses of jade changed with each Chinese dynasty. During the Tang dynasty, jade was reserved for the royal families. On the other hand, during the Song dynasty, the technology of making jade became easier, which made it popular and obtainable by the common people.

Although jade is associated with China, most jadeite is found in Burma, and has only been shipped to China since the late 18th century. Nephrite was the traditional jade of China, but other gems that were green like jade were given the same name of Yu. It was the most used jade in pre-1800 China, New Zealand, the Pacific Coast and Atlantic Coasts of North America, neolithic Europe, and southeast Asia. There are many differences between jadeite and nephrite. The nephrite jade consists of the calcium-and-magnesium-rich amphibole mineral actinolite. On the other hand jadeite consists mainly of jadeite, which is a sodium-and aluminum-rich pyroxene.

The nephrite mineral is often found in a creamy white color and a variety of green colors, but jadeite has many more color variations than this. Jadeite may be found in blue, lavender-mauve, pink, and emerald green colors. The jadeite mineral is also more rare than nephrite, and has only been found in less than 12 places in the world. Translucent emerald green jadeite is also more valued and prized than any nephrite kind. Jadeite is sometimes called “imperial” jade, and is much more highly valued than nephrite. The top-grade cabochons of jadeite sell for more than $50,000 in Asia.

True imperial jade color is rare, and the jadeite is most often dyed in order to improve its appearance. Jadeite is often said to bear a close resemblance to emerald when it is at its finest green color. Quality jadeites are said to be uniform in color, not blotchy, semi-transparent in natural light, and inclusion free when lit through from behind with a penlight or other bright light source. Nephrite jade is a magnificent mineral that can be carved or cut into cabochons. The nephrite can be found in abundance in northern Canada, which is sometimes referred to as British Colombia jade.

Top quality nephrite jade has a darker green shade, is translucent to opaque, is a color that is called “spinach,” and it is oily in appearance. There is some likeness between the jadeite and nephrite jade. The internal structures of both kinds of jade are the same. For example, if a light is shining in the back of a nephrite are jadeite jade gem, fibrous, felt like intertwining will be visible. However, nephrite is more fibrous than jadeite, and jadeite is more granular than nephrite. Nephrite is made up of long, fibrous interwoven crystals, and jadeite it made up of granular crystals grouped in clusters. The gemstones are also both hard and extremely tough, which makes them resistant to chipping, breaking, and cracking. The ancient Chinese viewed the jade’s permanence as a major part of the jade’s presence.

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