When we talk about the hardest gemstone, diamond is the king. But when it comes to the toughest gemstone, Jade prevails over other gems. In gemology, toughness indicates the gemstone’s ability to absorb changes in its form without breaking. The gemstone’s toughness highly correlates with its strength and flexibility, in other words, the tougher it is, the more flexible it becomes. Given with high flexibility, these gemstones can be twisted around and formed into different shapes without the risk of breaking. As such, jade is widely used as a primary material in various carved pieces
Jade, which is widely known as “Stone of Heaven”, can be classified into 2 types: Jadeite and Nephrite. These two types of jade have similar looks, but they are classified as two different types because the gemologists found that they have different chemical components. In this article, I will primarily focus on Jadeite.
The most famous sources of jadeite-jade are Northern Burma and Guatemala. Burma is also the primary center of jade production with large concentration of jade mines at Hpakan. Jades found in Burma are usually of high quality and are famously known as “Burmese Jade”. They are also found in Japan and California. Most of jadeite-jade has certain unique inclusions, such as uneven color distribution, root-like inclusion, and granular structure (invisible if the surface is polished since the internal structure cannot be seen.) For jadeite-jade, the most common cutting technique used is cabochon, but sometimes it is carved in various shapes and designs. When you buy a jadeite-jade, here are the 3 factors that you have to consider:
- Color Tone (includes darkness and shade) – Jade is usually misunderstood of having only green color, but in fact, jade has a far wider range of colors, such as lavender, red, orange, yellow, brown, white, black, and even grey. Preference of one color over another is different from one country to another, yet green is the most valued and has the highest demand, while lavender comes in second. We often hear the word “Imperial Jade”, which refers to high-quality green jade, which has perfect green-color intensity: not too dark or too light, no yellowish-green or greyish-green, even color distribution all over the stone, no other color stain, and no inclusion.
2. Translucent – Jade’s translucent ranges can be anywhere from semi-translucent to opaque. In the market, semi-translucent jade commands higher price and demand over opaque jade.
3. Texture – High-quality jade has smooth, stainless, and spotless surface
The price of jade ranges from as low as ten dollars to a few hundred thousand dollars, depending on the quality and rarity of the stone. In ancient times, people believe that jade can help people to calm down. This is due to the fact that jade can absorb coldness very well. Try holding a jade in your hand then you can feel the cold.