"Stone of Heaven"
(Abridged from Gemological Institute of America Graduate Gemologist Guide's Jade)
Jade--the precious gem known as the "stone of heaven"-- has been cherished for millennia. It's considered pure
and enduring enough to inspire the wearer's highest spiritual aspirations, yet sensuous and luxurious enough
to satisfy down-to-earth cravings.
Modern gemologists use the word "jade" as a generic term for two distinct mineral aggregates--jadeite and
nephrite. Soft enough to carve, tough enough to withstand repeated hummer blows, the two minerals look and
feel very similar. But their chemical compositions are different, and gemologists classify them as separate
There are two types of jade~ jadeite and nephrite.
Jadeite's exceptional look and feel, combined with its intimate association with Asian culture and tradition,
make it unlike any other gem. Not surprisingly, the trade uses slightly different standards to judge jadeite than
it does to judge transparent colored stones of comparable value, like ruby, sapphire, and emerald. Jadeite’s
three most important qualities, in order of their impact on its market value, are color, transparency, and texture.
Jadeite’s three most important qualities are color,transparency, and texture.
Color is jadeite’s most important value factor. Because consumers traditionally associate jadeite with the color
green, it surprises some people to learn that it comes in other color as well—lavender, red, orange, yellow,
brown, white, black and gray. All of these colors can be attractive. But jadeite’s most desirable color is, in fact, a
very specific shade of green. Compared to fine emerald, top-quality jadeite is often slightly more yellow in hue
and slightly less saturated. The color is medium in tone, not too light or too dark. This pure, bright color is
renowned Imperial green hue, which comes from chromium, the same element that causes the green in some
Imperial Jadeite is rare. Other shades of green jadeite are more common. In order of market value, these
include yellowish greens—sometimes called grassy greens or apple greens—grayish greens, and blackish
greens. In general, darker tones are more valuable than lighter tones.
Lavender is jadeite’s second most valued color. This light purple hue is most prized when it’s highly saturated.
Lavenders that are pale or that look too blue are lower in value. Lavender jadeite attracts buyers uniquely
interested in its unusual color.
Jadeite comes in a variety of colors such as green, red, orange and brown but the most
desirable color is a special shade of green called Imperial Green: The second most valued
color is lavender.
Jadeite’s transparency ranges from completely opaque to semi-transparent. The best jadeite is semi-
transparent. Because light penetrates below the surface, semi-transparent jadeite has an alluring brilliance. It
almost appears to glow, increasing the charm of a lush green or rich lavender hue.
Jadeite has a smooth, even texture that makes people want to touch and hold it. Jadeite’s texture can be fine,
medium, or coarse, depending on variations in crystal size and hardness. The same crystal structure that
contributes to jadeite’s texture also contributes to its exceptional toughness. Jadeite’s interlocking crystals
produce a tightly intergrown, compact mass that bonds together and resists breaking.
Because the right combinations of color, transparency, and texture can raise the value of jadeite to spectacular
levels, many producers use treatments to improve jadeite’s appearance. Treatments have aroused a great deal of
concern in the industry and therefore the trade grouped jadeite into three basic types: Type A, Type B, and Type
C. Type A jadeite is natural jadeite. Type B jadeite is natural jadeite that’s bleached in acid to remove
undesirable staining, then impregnated with wax or polymers. Type C jadeite takes the treatment a step further
by introducing dye. Type C is often dyed Type B jadeite.
Nephrite, for century, was the only jade known to the Orient. More than any other property, nephrite and
jadeite share exceptional toughness. But the two materials derive their toughness from slightly different
structures. While jadeite’s structure is an arrangement of grainy crystals, nephrite is made up of fibrous
crystals that interlock in a matted, tufted texture. These densely packed and interwoven fibers are extremely
resistant to fracturing, even more so than jadeite’s interlocking grains.
Though different in crystal structure, jadeite and nephrite share exceptional toughness.
While both materials are known as jade, there are some very important differences between them. Jadeite is
much more rare than nephrite, so it commands a much higher price. Another different is color. Jadeite’s finest
green is not seen in nephrite. Instead, nephrite’s greens are more subdued, darker, and less saturated.
Nephrite’s beautiful, earthy colors, combined with its toughness, make it ideal for carving. From dynasty to
dynasty over thousands of years, Asian nephrite carvings have delighted the imagination as well as the eyes.
Currently, there’s no commercially available synthetic jadeite. But there are some cleverly crafted assembled
stones that allow inferior jadeite to masquerade as top quality. Some assemblies use jadeite as a component,
while others are made or plastic or glass. In addition, jade substitutes such as maw-sit-sit, serpentine, and
chrysophrase chalcedony are also common in the market. Therefore, extra caution is recommended before
Orchid Jade does not tolerate any type of treatment on jade. All our jadeite jewelry are Type
A and thus we can guarantee that they are of the highest quality. In addition, our jewelry are
exclusively made, which means most, if not all, are handcrafted. We firmly believe in crafting
the finest jewelry that will help reflect the unique personality and style of each of our
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