Prestige and nobility have placed certain gemstones in the pedestal such as diamond, ruby, and sapphire, set for wedding rings, engagement ring, bands, and other fine jewelry to name a few. In the same light, jade gemstones have been revered to bring wealth and longevity. It has been prized for thousands of years and is considered to be pure. Amongst many different charts in circulation around the world, the most popular and the most used are modern, traditional, mystical, and ayurvedic. Jade is the mystical March birthstone which is Tibetan in origin. It has been prized for thousands of years and is considered to be pure. Today, let’s know more about jade and its unique traits!
What is a jade gemstone?
Jade is derived from the Spanish Piedra de ijada which means “stone of the flank” (i.e. stone for colic, which it was believed to cure). Composition-wise there are two gem materials which are correctly referred to as jade—nephrite with chemical symbol Ca2(Mg,Fe)5(OH)2[Si8O22] and jadeite NaAl[Si2O6]. These metamorphic rocks are composed of tiny interlocking mineral crystals (monoclinic). Nephrite is regarded as a silicate of calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg). It’s a mixture of fibres of actinolite and tremolite. Jadeite, on the other hand, is also a silicate mineral—rarer and tougher in variety. However, it contains mostly sodium (Na) and aluminum (Al). This is granular in structure and originates from the pyroxene group.
These typically green gemstones are durable for jewelry as its hardness scores 6-7 in the Mohs scale.
Jade sources come from Myanmar, New Zealand, Canada, Taiwan, Guyana, Surinam, Southern Europe, Russia, and China. Jade is the official gemstone of Wyoming (Alaska) and British Columbia (Canada).
Artefacts from this gemstone have been found at ancient sites around the world. The toughness of jade is the reason why these are used as diamond-tipped tools to cut the stones. Commonly, jade is carved to make jewelry, ornaments and urns, etc. Evidence as such surfaced proving that jade materials (adornments, tools, and weapons) were used for cultural and religious rites by the Aztec, Maya, Chinese, and Maori cultures.
Jade is rich in teachings that it is believed to instill calm and relaxation. Spiritual beliefs refer to jade gemstones as the “Protector of Generations”, living or dead. Some legends also claim that Buddha’s tears are made up of pure jade which explains the theory that jade can treat eye disorders.
Revered as a spiritual stone in Chinese culture, the “Jewel of Heaven” increased in demand drastically along China's economic rise. Back in 2010, Forbes reported that jade gemstone costs up to $3000 an ounce. It was far more valuable than gold! All the more reason to believe that jade’s value to date is high-priced. As modern gemologists refer to both nephrite and jadeite as jade, these gems have been linked throughout history. Nephrite’s variety of colors ranges from translucent to opaque and can be light to dark green, yellow, brown, black, grey, or white. On the other hand, jadeite has a wider variety of colors which range from many shades of green, yellow, reddish orange, white, black, grey, brown, to lavender (light purple to purple greyish). From completely opaque to semi-transparent, the best jadeite is semi-transparent as light penetrates below the surface giving off its alluring brilliance. Thus, it increases the charm of lush green or lavender hue jadeites. Just like other gemstones, the least desirable ones are with patches or inclusions which are close to completely opaque breaking up its transparency.
The center for polishing jadeite is China although some jadeite from Myanmar polishes near their open jade markets of Hpakan, Lonkin, Mogaung, and Mandalay. To date, numerous cutters still polish jadeite the ancient way—using a hollow bamboo lathe treated with sand and water. Jadeites are usually carved into distinctive traditional jewelry forms while some are Hololiths (from one single piece of stone/rough). Hololiths may include bangles, rings, and even pendants. The most expensive and valuable from the variety of jadeite colors is “imperial jade” with intense green color. Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton owns the single most expensive jade item ever sold—the Hutton-Mdivani Necklace sold for $27.4 million in 2014. The grandiose necklace is made up of 27 graduate bright emerald green jadeite beads with lavish diamonds and rubies set in the clasp.
Even in the reverence and prestige of this gemstone, there is said to be an estimate of $8 billion dirty underbelly industry which raises serious concerns in human and labour rights (from the mining industry). In which tracing jade items that are decades or even centuries old would be practically impossible to crack. Looking for ethical and sustainable jewelry to add in your collection? Satisfy your indulgence and see our guilt-free bands. Visit Meycauayan Jewelries today!