A Tale of Three Jades

August 21st, 2018 by James L. Sweaney, CGA, FGA. GG

Custom Ring by Mardon with fine Jadeite

Jade is unique in the world of gems because there are several different minerals that are correctly called jade. The history of jade begins as far back as the Stone Age. Jade minerals, including nephrite and jadeite, resist breakage but are soft enough to carve, so they were used to make stone tools by several neolithic cultures, both in Europe and Asia. As far back as ~3400 BC, nephrite was mined in China where it was used mainly as ceremonial carvings and utilitarian objects like cups and incense censers.

While the colors of nephrite are muted and soft, the best jadeite from Burma can be rich emerald green with a beautiful jelly like translucence.

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