Jadeite Jade

Jade tops the list of touchable, wearable gems. Something about jade makes many people want to hold it or rub their thumbs across it. And whoever gave jade its descriptive names—like melon, apple, and spinach—must have thought it looked good enough to eat. The term jade refers to either of two rocks, jadeite and nephrite, which look alike but are chemically different. Nephrite, a calcium magnesium silicate, is the “original” jade. Jadeite, a sodium aluminum silicate, is the rarer and more valuable of the two jades and is the subject of this article. History and romance. Nephrite jade was discovered in what is now far western China (formerly Turkistan) nearly 5,000 years ago and has long been associated with Asian culture. It’s said that the wearer of jade imparts an aura to the gem, giving it greater life. But the jade mystique has been all but hidden to the West. Jadeite

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