A stunning ornamental gemstone that is steeped in history and has been set in jewellery for thousands of years. The word ‘Jade’ is thought to have come from the Spanish phrase ‘piedra de ijada’ or ‘loin stone’. When used without a prefix, ‘Jade’ refers to the green variety of the gemstone, and is also used as the name of a colour in its own right. It can be shaped and carved into the most intricate and beautiful designs.
In the 19th century, a French chemist determined that what people referred to as “Jade” was in fact two different gemstones: the first being Nephrite and the second being Jadeite. However, in China there is a broader cultural concept of "Jade" with other stones such as Quartzite and Dolomite commonly being called "Jade".
Jadeite is usually opaque to translucent, and often has a luscious glass-like quality and is found in several colour variations. These include delicate pastel blue, lavender, white, yellow, black and pink. The most sought after colour would be a bewitching apple green; this colour is also known as Imperial Jade. The reason it features this enchanting colour, as with many other green gems, is due to the presence of chromium.
As it has currently only been discovered in a few places around the globe and always very sporadically, mystical and magical Jadeite is rarer of the two.
Nephrite’s colours range from green to creamy white to grey. The green of Nephrite is spinach to sage green and is darker than Jadeite. It has a pearly to greasy lustre. During Neolithic times (towards the end of the Stone Age) the main source of Nephrite Jade was China, where it was often used for ceremonial purposes.
As far back as 500AD it is said that Chinese doctors would prescribe finely ground Jade to be mixed into fruit juices to aid the relief of various ailments, such as asthma, heartburn and even diabetes. The drink was said to be a powerful tonic that also soothed and calmed. Doctors believed the finely powdered Jade would pass through the digestive system and the body would absorb all the benefits of the gemstone.
Jade carvings were also created by the Chinese, and are famous around the world. They started carving the gem during the late 1600s and often sacrificed beautiful Diamonds to make cutting tools, so as to shape and carve their beloved Jade!
Wearing Jade in bangles and bracelets is said to protect you from sickness. In China, delicately carved bracelets are very popular for this reason. In lovemaking Jade is said to help you connect with your lover on an erotic and spiritual level.