Known and loved for over 7,000 years, jade is one of the most popular green gemstones on the market today. When the stone was discovered, it was used to create a variety of weapons and tools due to its incredible durability. For this reason, jade was once more valuable than gold in some parts of the world. The name of this precious stone comes from the Spanish expression "piedra de ijada", which translates as "stone for pain in the side". Many historians believe that jade was named so because the natives of Central America used to hold pieces of the stone to their sides, in hopes that it could cure disease. In China, jade is called "yu", which means "imperial"; for this reason, Chinese culture regards jade as the imperial gemstone. Thousands of years after the discovery of this stone, it became apparent that jade was not a unique mineral. In fact, they were two separate minerals that we know today as jadeite and nephrite.
jade bangle by Santa Muerte
How to identify jade
In most cases, jade can be identified by its hardness and density. However, it is often difficult to tell the stone apart by its appearance alone. This is why there are many precious stones on the market today that are fraudulently sold as jade. For trained professionals, the most reliable way to distinguish jade from similar materials is to test its specific gravity. When it comes to identifying jadeite from nephritis, the easiest solution is to perform a chime test. Unlike jadeite, when a nephrite specimen is struck, it emits a musical sound.
There are a variety of substances with a similar appearance to jade, so it is important to be able to identify the stone. Some of the most commonly confused substances are serpentine, agalmatolite, actinolite, amazonite, and californite. Serpentine is generally much softer than jade, it is also less dense and has a greasy outer coating. Agalmatolite and actinolite have a different chemical composition than jade, which makes it easy for professionals to tell them apart. Amazonite has a much lower density than jade. Californite has a tetragonal crystal system, while Jade has a monoclinic structure.
jade bangle by Santa Muerte
The different colors and types of jade
As mentioned earlier, two distinct minerals can be identified as jade. Of the two, nephrite specimens are the most common. The color of nephrite generally ranges from medium green to dark green, although the stone can sometimes emit white, yellow or red tones. Measuring 6.5 on the Mohs scale, nephrite is slightly softer than jadeite, which scores a 7. Another difference between the two minerals is their chemical composition. Jadeite is a silicate of sodium and aluminum, while nephrite is a silicate of calcium, magnesium and iron. The minerals also have different crystal structures: jadeite is made up of a collection of grainy crystals, while nephrite is made of interlocking fibrous crystals. Due to the dense structure of nephrite, this mineral is considered the more durable of the two.
where do you find jade?
Today, nephrite is more common than jadeite. Nephrite deposits are still found in Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, China, Canada, Russia, Zimbabwe, Alaska and Poland. Today, most jadeite on the market is mined in Myanmar, although smaller deposits are also found in Canada, Japan, Guatemala, Russia, Turkey, Cuba, and the United States.
Healing properties of jade
Often considered a stone of serenity and purity, jade is popular in crystal healing. This stone is believed to increase love and nurture, making it popular with new parents and families. A stone of protection, jade protects the wearer from illness and injury, and brings harmony to all aspects of their life. Also, this stone is believed to attract good luck and promote lasting friendship. By promoting self-reliance and stabilizing the personality, adolescents and young adults with hormones can benefit from wearing a jade piece. Endowed with the ability to calm the mind and clear negative thoughts, jade is also beneficial for those suffering from anxiety and depression. By helping to release unwanted emotions, a good quality piece of jade can help the wearer to combat various mental illnesses.
Ideal for people with kidney disease, jade improves the body's organs of filtration and elimination. The gemstone can also be used to balance bodily fluids and acid/alkaline ratios. Promoting the elimination of toxins from the body, the stone is ideal for people who participate in various types of body cleansing. The gemstone is also believed to fight reproductive disorders, especially in men. Additionally, jade is believed to facilitate childbirth, helping to ease pain and ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible. Jade is also popular after childbirth, especially with new mothers who are afraid of not knowing how to raise their child.