The Ultimate Guide to Jade Stone: Types, History, Value, and Care

Explore the secrets of jade stone! Learn how this gem boosts health, enhances beauty, and brings tranquility into your life.

JADE STONE

6/11/20249 min read

jade stone
jade stone

What is Jade?

Jade is a precious gemstone cherished in many cultures for thousands of years. There are two main types of jade: nephrite and jadeite. Nephrite is made of calcium and magnesium, while jadeite is made of sodium and aluminium. Both types are known for their strength and smooth, shiny surface. Jade comes in various colours, like green, white, lavender, yellow, and red. The most valuable jade is a deep emerald green, called "imperial jade."

Importance and Appeal of Jade

Jade's appeal goes beyond its beauty. Throughout history, jade has been important in many cultures. In ancient China, jade was called the "Stone of Heaven" and was believed to represent courage, wisdom, and justice. It was used in rituals, burial items, and as a symbol of power.

In Mesoamerican cultures, jade was highly valued for its beauty and rarity and was often used to create detailed carvings and ceremonial objects.

Types of Jade

Characteristics:

  • Composition: Jadeite is a pyroxene mineral of NaAlSi2O6 (sodium aluminium silicate).

  • Hardness: It ranges from 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs hardness scale, making it quite hard and durable.

  • Density: Jadeite is denser than nephrite, typically ranging from 3.2 to 3.3 grams per cubic centimetre.

  • Lustre: It has a glassy (vitreous) to slightly greasy lustre.

  • Transparency: Jadeite can be translucent to opaque, with the best-quality jadeite being highly translucent.

Colour Varieties:

  • Imperial Jade: Vivid emerald green is the most valuable variety.

  • Lavender Jade: Purple or lavender hue, highly prized.

  • Red Jade: Ranges from red to orange.

  • Yellow Jade: Pale to intense yellow.

  • Blue Jade: Rare blue tint.

  • White Jade: Also known as "mutton fat" jade, creamy white.

  • Black Jade: Dark green to black.

Sources and Locations:

  • Myanmar (Burma): The primary and most significant source of high-quality jadeite, particularly from the region of Kachin State.

  • Guatemala: Known for producing various colours, including bright green and lavender.

  • Japan: Minor deposits were found in the Omiya and Kotaki areas.

  • USA: Specifically in California and Washington.

Read more: Green Onyx: Meaning, Healing Properties, Powers, and Uses

TYPES OF JADE STONE:

Nephrite

Characteristics:

  • Composition: Nephrite is a variety of amphibole mineral actinolite, composed mainly of calcium, magnesium, and iron silicate (Ca2(Mg, Fe)5Si8O22(OH)2).

  • Hardness: It is slightly softer than jadeite, with a hardness of 6 to 6.5 on the Mohs scale.

  • Density: Nephrite is less dense than jadeite, with a density of about 2.9 to 3.1 grams per cubic centimetre.

  • Lustre: It has a silky to waxy lustre.

  • Transparency: Nephrite ranges from translucent to opaque.

Colour Varieties:

  • Green Nephrite: Commonly dark green to light green, often called "spinach jade."

  • White Nephrite: Known as "mutton fat" jade, creamy white to light yellow.

  • Black Nephrite: Often dark green to black.

  • Brown Nephrite: Varies from light to dark brown.

  • Yellow Nephrite: Light to deep yellow hues.

Sources and Locations:

  • China: Historically and currently, China is the largest producer of nephrite, particularly in the Xinjiang and Qinghai provinces.

  • Canada: Significant deposits in British Columbia, often producing high-quality green nephrite.

  • Russia: Siberia is known for producing high-quality green nephrite.

  • New Zealand: Known as "pounamu" or "greenstone" by the Maori, it is found primarily on the South Island.

  • USA: California and Alaska have notable deposits.

Both jadeite and nephrite have been used for ornamental and ceremonial purposes throughout history, with each type valued for its unique properties and beauty.

Market Value of Jadeite and Nephrite

Jadeite

  • High-End Value: The most expensive, especially Imperial Jade (vivid emerald green), can reach prices over $30,000 per carat.

  • Factors: Color (especially green and lavender), transparency, texture, craftsmanship, and origin (primarily Myanmar).

  • Average Range: Quality jadeite typically ranges from a few hundred to several thousand dollars per carat.

Nephrite

  • Value: Generally less expensive than jadeite, with high-quality nephrite costing up to $100 per kilogram.

  • Factors: Color (predominantly white and green varieties), texture, and size.

  • Average Range: Commonly ranges from $5 to $50 per kilogram for most nephrite pieces.

Properties of Jade Stone

Physical Properties

  • Types: Jade comes in two varieties: jadeite and nephrite.

Jadeite: Rare and typically more valuable. It comes in various colours, including green, white, lavender, yellow, blue, black, and red.

Nephrite: More common and found in a narrower colour range, primarily shades of green, cream, and white.

  • Hardness: On the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, jadeite ranges from 6.5 to 7, while nephrite is slightly softer at 6 to 6.5.

  • Density: Jadeite has a density of about 3.3 to 3.5 g/cm³, and nephrite ranges from 2.9 to 3.1 g/cm³.

  • Lustre: Both types exhibit a glassy to waxy lustre.

  • Structure: Jadeite comprises interlocking granular crystals, while nephrite consists of fibrous crystals, making it more challenging and less prone to breaking.

Mental & Emotional Healing Properties

Jade's mental and emotional healing properties are truly remarkable. This nurturing stone can:

  • Diminish negative thought patterns.

  • Boost self-sufficiency, self-esteem, and self-love.

  • Clear the mind and heart.

  • Relieve stress and anxiety.

Whether grappling with self-doubt or striving to cultivate greater inner peace, jade provides the emotional support and mental clarity needed to face life's challenges with resilience and grace.

Metaphysical Properties

  1. Healing and Protection: Jade is often associated with healing and protective energies. It's believed to offer physical and emotional healing, enhancing body strength and longevity.

  2. Harmony and Balance: Many cultures view jade as a symbol of purity and serenity. It's thought to bring harmony and balance, helping to calm the mind and promote peace.

  3. Prosperity and Abundance: Jade is a stone of prosperity and good luck. It's often used to attract wealth, success, and abundance.

  4. Heart Chakra: Jade is linked to the heart chakra and is thought to promote emotional release and openness to love and compassion.

  5. Dream Work: Some believe that jade can help with dream recall and interpretation, making it a helpful stone for those who practice dream work or seek insights from their dreams.

History Jade Stone

Ancient Civilizations

Jade has been used since prehistoric times, with the earliest known jade artefacts dating back to the Neolithic period. Due to its toughness, Early societies used jade for tools, weapons, and ornaments. The most notable ancient civilizations that prized jade were those in East Asia, Mesoamerica, and Oceania.

Jade in Chinese Culture

In Chinese culture, jade holds an unparalleled place of importance. Revered for over 7,000 years, jade is not just a material but a symbol of purity, moral integrity, and social status. During the Neolithic, jade was used for ceremonial objects like bi disks and cong tubes. In subsequent dynasties, especially during the Han and Tang periods, jade became a medium for intricate carvings and personal adornments.

The Chinese philosophy and cultural significance of jade are deeply embedded in Confucianism, where jade represents virtue and righteousness. The famous saying "Gold is valuable, but jade is priceless" encapsulates its esteemed status. Jade was also believed to possess protective and healing properties, further embedding it in Chinese mythology and daily life.

Jade in Mesoamerican Cultures

Jade was equally revered in Mesoamerican cultures, particularly among the Olmec, Maya, and Aztec civilizations. Jadeite, the type found in this region, was often associated with fertility, rain, and the agricultural cycle. The Olmecs were among the earliest to carve jade into symbolic figures and ritual objects.

The Mayan civilization flourished from 2000 BCE to the 16th century CE, and jade was considered more valuable than gold. It was used in religious ceremonies, burials, and as a symbol of power. Mayan kings and elite members wore ornaments and were often buried with jade masks and jewellery to ensure their safe passage to the afterlife.

Jade in Maori Culture

The Maori of New Zealand have a profound connection with jade, known locally as "pounamu" or "greenstone." Pounamu is crucial in Maori culture and is considered a taonga (treasure). It creates tools, weapons, and ornaments, each carrying deep spiritual significance.

Pounamu is traditionally carved into hei-tiki (neck pendants), mere (short clubs), and adzes, often passed down through generations as heirlooms. These items are believed to embody the mana (prestige) of their owners and are usually given as gifts to forge alliances and express respect.

Jade in Modern Times

In modern times, jade continues to hold cultural and economic significance. The stone is widely used in jewelry, decorative items, and sculptures. Its aesthetic appeal and symbolic meanings have transcended cultural boundaries, making it a globally cherished gemstone.

Technological advancements have enabled more intricate jade carvings, and contemporary artists often blend traditional techniques with modern designs. Moreover, jade's perceived metaphysical properties, such as promoting balance and harmony, keep it popular in holistic and alternative medicine practices.

Jade in Contemporary Jewelry

Contemporary jewellery designers appreciate jade for its vibrant colours and versatility. Jade jewellery ranges from traditional pieces to modern, minimalist designs, appealing to a broad audience. In Asia, especially in China, jade bracelets, pendants, and rings remain popular, often given as gifts during significant life events.

In the West, jade has found its place in high fashion and luxury markets. Designers incorporate jade into various styles, from classic elegance to avant-garde fashion. The demand for jade jewellery continues to grow, driven by its beauty and enduring cultural symbolism.

Cultural Symbolism Today

Jade’s symbolism has evolved but remains influential. Jade is still a stone of purity, protection, and good fortune in many cultures. It is often worn to ward off negative energies and to bring harmony and prosperity to the wearer.

In China, jade is considered a symbol of longevity and is often associated with the five virtues: wisdom, justice, compassion, modesty, and courage. In the West, jade is increasingly appreciated for its beauty and symbolic meanings related to health, wealth, and longevity.

Read more: Carnelian Crystal | Meaning, Properties, and Much More

Uses

  • Jewellery: Jade is commonly used in rings, necklaces, bracelets, and earrings.

  • Carvings: Due to its toughness, jade is famous for intricate carvings and sculptures.

  • Healing: Jade stones and rollers are often used in alternative medicine for massage and relaxation.

Care

  • Cleaning: Clean jade with warm, soapy water and a soft cloth. Avoid harsh chemicals and ultrasonic cleaners, which can damage the stone.

  • Storage: Store jade separately from other gemstones to avoid scratches, preferably in a soft cloth or padded container.

Jade's beauty, toughness, and deep cultural significance make it a cherished gemstone worldwide.

Jade with other Stones

Pairing jade with other stones can enhance its beauty and benefits. Here are some great combinations:

Jade and Amethyst

  • Benefits: Promotes inner peace and clarity.

  • Appearance: The green of jade contrasts beautifully with the purple of amethyst.

Jade and Rose Quartz

  • Benefits: Enhances feelings of love and compassion.

  • Appearance: The pink of rose quartz complements the green of jade nicely.

Jade and Citrine

  • Benefits: Attracts wealth and joy.

  • Appearance: The yellow of citrine adds a vibrant touch to jade's green.

Jade and Clear Quartz

  • Benefits: Amplifies the energy of jade.

  • Appearance: The clear, neutral tone of quartz pairs well with any shade of jade.

Why Invest in Jade?

Cultural Value: Jade has deep cultural significance, especially in Chinese culture, which enhances its desirability and value.

Scarcity and Demand: High-quality jade is rare and in demand, particularly in Asia, which can drive up prices over time.

Tangible Asset: Unlike stocks or bonds, jade is a physical asset that can provide stability and hedge against economic uncertainties.

Potential for Growth: As wealth increases globally, especially in Asia, the demand for luxury items like jade is expected to grow, potentially increasing its value.

Tips for Investing in Jade

  1. Education: Learn about jade types (jadeite and nephrite), qualities (colour, transparency), and reputable sources to buy from.

  2. Buy Quality: Focus on high-quality jade pieces with vibrant colour and delicate texture, such as Imperial Jade, known for its deep green hue.

  3. Diversify: Balance your investment portfolio by including jade alongside other assets to manage risk.

Risks and Considerations

  • Market Volatility: Jade prices can fluctuate due to economic factors and market trends.

  • Authenticity: Beware of fake or treated jade; buy from trusted sellers with certifications of authenticity.

  • Liquidity: Jade can be less liquid than traditional investments, making it challenging to sell quickly at a fair price.

  • Storage: Proper storage is crucial to maintain jade’s value; exposure to harsh conditions can damage it.

  • Expertise Required: Investing in jade requires market knowledge and quality assessment to make informed decisions.

Conclusion:

Jade is a beautiful and essential gemstone loved for its strength and smoothness. There are two main types: jadeite and nephrite. Different cultures, especially in China, Mesoamerica, and New Zealand, have treasured jade for its beauty and deep meanings, such as power and purity.

Even today, jade is highly valued in jewellery and carvings. High-quality jadeite can be very expensive, making it a good investment. To keep jade-looking its best, clean it gently and store it carefully. Pairing jade with other gemstones can make it even more attractive and powerful.

Jade is unique because it combines beauty, cultural importance, and investment value, making it a cherished gemstone worldwide.

Frequently asked questions

How much is a jade stone worth?
The value of jade varies widely, ranging from a few dollars per carat for lower-quality pieces to thousands of dollars per carat for high-quality, rare jadeite.
What does jade stone symbolize?
Jade symbolizes purity, serenity, and strength. It is also associated with protection and healing in various cultures.
How to tell real jade stone?
Real jade feels cold to the touch, is hard to scratch, and often has a smooth, soapy feel. It can also be tested for authenticity through specific gravity and refractive index tests.
Where is jade stone found?
Jade is primarily found in Myanmar (Burma), China, Guatemala, and Russia.