Jade has its cultural roots in the smoke-dimmed caves and huts that sheltered prehistoric humans. Around the world, Stone Age workers shaped this toughest of gems into weapons, tools, ornaments, and ritual objects. Their carvings invoked the powers of heaven and earth and mystic forces of life and death.
Birthstones & AnniversariesJade is the official gem for the 12th anniversary.
The philosopher wrote that jade is like virtue and its brightness represents heaven.
The traditional jade flat disc with a hole in the middle, known as a “bi,” symbolizes heaven.
The character for jade is one of the oldest in written Chinese, dating to 2950 BC.
Jadeite and Nephrite
NaAlSi2O6 and Ca2(Mg,Fe)5Si8O22(OH)2
Green, white, orange, yellow, lavender, black
1.666 to 1.680 (+/-0.008) and 1.606 to 1.632 (+0.009, 0.006)
Usually not detectable
3.34 and 2.95
- Mohs Hardness: 6.5 to 7 and 6.0 to 6.5
There are a number of processes used to alter the color, apparent clarity, or improve the durability of gems.Learn More
Some gemstones have synthetic counterparts that have essentially the same chemical, physical, and optical properties, but are grown by man in a laboratory.Learn More
Any gem can be imitated—sometimes by manmade materials or by natural materials chosen by man to impersonate a particular gem.Learn More
Why We Love This Gemstone
Interaction with Light
Jadeite’s structure scatters light. If properly cut, a white piece with a small green spot will make the gem appear completely green if lit from behind.
Tough, But Not Hard
Not unusually hard for a gem, both jade types are extremely tough. Neolithic knives and axe heads were often made of nephrite.
Nephrite rings musically when struck. The imperial court in China had jade wind chimes designed to ring specific notes.
For both jadeite and nephrite, green is the most valued color. Semi-transparent clarity and fine texture also increase jade’s value dramatically.
The finest jadeite—almost transparent with a vibrant emerald-green color—is known as “imperial jade.”
Jadeite’s transparency ranges from completely opaque to semi-transparent. The best jadeite is semi-transparent.
Jadeite has a lovely, smooth, and even texture that makes people want to touch and hold the gem.
While jade is rarely faceted like other gems, plain as well as intricate jade carvings are judged by their artistry.
Jadeite is generally sold by the piece rather than by weight. For top-quality imperial jadeite, slight size differences can make large value differences.
Jadeite Jade quality factors: The Comprehensive Guide
Explore sources, gemological research, and the role of gems in history.
Gem Localities of the 2000sJames E. Shigley, Brendan M. Laurs, A. J. A. (Bram) Janse, Sheryl Elen, and Dona M. Dirlam , Sep 6, 2010 Read Article
Gemstone Enhancement and its Detection in the 2000sShane F. McClure, Robert E. Kane, and Nicholas Sturman , Sep 1, 2010 Read Article
Burmese Jade: The Inscrutable GemRichard W. Hughes, Olivier Galibert, George Bosshart, Fred Ward, Thet Oo, Mark Smith and Tay Thye Sun, George E. Harlow , Mar 1, 2000 Read Article
California Jade: The Geologic Story of Nature's Masterpiece
Donald L. Dupras
The John Sinkankas Jade Symposium : April 21, 2007
John Sinkankas Memorial Symposium
Jadeite Jade: A Stone & A Culture
C. M. Ou Yang