Jade Stones

People have always looked for meanings in everything around them. Some of the most powerful and important objects when it comes to symbolism are gemstones. Among these, one variety stands out as the bearer of good luck and fortune – jade. While initially gaining popularity in China and adjacent regions, jade has spread throughout the world and became an important gemstone in the jewelry industry worldwide. The term jade is derivative from the Spanish phrase “piedra de ijada”, which means “loin stone.” Such name comes as a result of the belief that jade was allegedly useful in healing illnesses related to the loins and kidneys.

Jade refers to two different minerals, nephrite and jadeite, both used since prehistoric times for stone carving. Nephrite is softer than jadeite, which is close in hardness to quartz. Be aware of the word “jadite”, which should not be confused with jadeite, as it is used to refer to translucent or opaque green glass.

From immemorial times, jade has been used for a variety of purposes, ranging from decorating burial sites to carving hunting tools. With the advent and development of metal crafting, people recognized the ornamental beauty of the jade and started using it in more frequently in their jewelry. Jade is a rather soft mineral, with jadeite ranking between 6.5 and 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness, and the nephrite between 5.5 and 6 (the diamond is at the top of the scale with a ranking of 10). Therefore, jade is fairly easy to work with – it can even be carved with quartz and polished with bamboo.

Due to its increasing popularity, lots of other minerals are marketed and sold as jade, such as serpentine or certain types of quartz and glass. The reason is that nephrite and jadeite, the “true jade” stones, are headed to high-end jewelers for jewel crafting, and sold at high prices, so the artificial varieties are left to be sold as low-cost jewelry or beads to the general public. However, make sure that you are not drawn into purchasing jade jewelry from a shady dealer that will sell you fake jade at the price of the genuine variety. In order to avoid such situations, always buy from reputable jewelers, who are most likely able to inform you of the scientific name of the specific jade that you are interested in.

Although jade is a naturally exquisite gemstone, certain treatments are applied to the stone for different enhancements. Keep in mind that enhancing a stone does not necessarily guarantee a high quality result – such treatments can be applied to poor quality jades without raising their appeal. The treatments will result in an improvement in the transparency and the color quality of the gemstone, and will provide a layer of luster to its surface.

Historically, jade has been a stone of great importance to the dynastic system in China. During the dynastic reign, jade was the Imperial stone and was widely used for decorative purposes, including the creation of jade armors used as burial confinements for certain rulers. Although jade was popular in the American regions as well, where it was used for crafting ceremonial objects and to engrave hieroglyphs, and in other regions of the world, no culture can truly match the exquisiteness of the Chinese finest jade decorations, which exhibited superb intricacies in their design.

Nowadays, jade is mainly used as a gemstone in jewel crafting to produce a variety of jewelry pieces, including rings, earrings, brooches and bracelets. The price of jade jewelry is dependent upon the perceived value of the gemstone in the particular region that you are buying from. For example, although jade is traditionally associated with green hues, in China, jade that is white or streaked with a touch of yellow is highly valuable. Conversely, the highest-prized jade in Western countries is the traditional vivid, dark green variety, as it is sometimes perceived as akin to emeralds.

The conclusion is that jade is a marvelous creation of nature that will enchant you with its colors, be it a deep green hue or a shining-white tone. Whether you want to collect jade as a loose gemstone or wish to purchase a jade jewelry item, you can rest assured that it will be a wonderful addition to your jewelry collection.

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