Schwanke-Kasten Discusses Jade

What we call “jade” can be one of two different gems: jadeite or nephrite.  Humans have been using jade for thousands of years, with cavepeople first using them for weapons or tools.  Ancient China considered it their royal gem and jade remains important in Chinese culture – not unlike diamonds for those living in the West.  A pierced jade disk is a symbol of heaven in China.

Jadeite and nephrite are both tough gems, but they differ in their chemical makeup and colors.  Jadeite can be found in hues of green, pink, red, violet, brown, and even black and white.  Nephrite are often mid to dark green or a greyish-green, but you can also find yellow, white, or reddish nephrite.  Color distribution can vary greatly for both of them and only in the finest jade can you find even color distribution.

The value of jade is typically determined by its color, texture, transparency, clarity, and vivacity.  The choices of color, and the price of jade, can differ greatly depending on what country or culture you are purchasing from.