Feature Gems & Gemology, Winter 2012, Volume 48, No. 4

Color Origin of Lavender Jadeite: An Alternative Approach

The market value of jadeite has risen dramatically in recent decades, often rivaling that of fine ruby and sapphire. Understanding the color origin of jadeite and reliably determining treatments have become increasingly important in the trade. This study uses single-crystalline analogs in conjunction with polycrystalline jadeite to examine the color origin of lavender jadeite through quantitative spectroscopy and modern trace-element analytical techniques. Several previously proposed chromophores are assessed for their possible contribution to jadeite coloration. Quantitative analysis confirms that green and lavender colorations are caused by chromium and manganese, respectively. The relative significance of these two chromophores is compared to determine their impact on observable coloration. The findings on color origin are applied to the identification of treated material on the current market.