05th November 2019
Jade is exploited since 7000 years but it is only during the XIXth century that we differentiate the two types of Jade: Jadeite and Nephrite. It is difficult to distinguish them, but they are different for their composition, hardness, structure, and rarity.
In Chinese culture, jade is a symbol of loyalty and wisdom. It is believed that this stone helps to conserve the body of the dead, which is why we usually find them in graves.
Jadeite is mainly found in sources located in Burma, Russia & USA, but not in China. It is composed of sodium, aluminum and silicate and has a hardness of 7 on Mohs scale.
It is commonly of pale green color but it exists in all colors of the spectrum. The most valuable specie is the Imperial Jadeite that presents an intense and homogenous green color with a translucent body. Indeed, jadeite can be opaque to semi transparent and can have a certain glow that increases its desirability.
Jadeite is most of time certified by gemological laboratories to indicate their typology. The typology is graded depending on the treatments the stone endured:
Type A : non treated stone, 100% natural à highest value.
Type B: indication of bleaching which improves the color by reducing brown hues. Indication of impregnation with polymers which improves clarity and transparency.
Type C: indication of dyeing which improves the color.
Different Types of Jadeite. Legends on pictures.
Nephrite is more common than Jadeite, its main deposits are in China, Burma, Brazil, Canada and Australia. It has a slightly different composition as it is constituted of calcium, magnesium, iron and silicate. It also has a lower hardness compared to Jadeite: 6 on Mohs Scale.
On the contrary of jadeite, nephrite is mostly presenting a white, dark green or black body color, with a lower translucency and a more opaque luster. Nephrite doesn’t have any type of grades.
Different Types of Nephrite. Legends on pictures.
This intriguing stone is quite used in jewellery as it is especially appreciated by the Asian clientele, Jade can be seen as beads or carved, it is also common to wear jade bangles as it is a symbol of protection. Most of the big brands offer jade creations at a high jewelry level. Jade stone was definitely prominent during the Art Deco movement, 1920s’, when jewelers were influenced by Asian creativity. Nowadays, jade jewels are quite popular at auctions sales held in Asia and often register sales records.
Jade Jewellery. Legends on pictures.
Back in the early XXth century, Cartier was very inspired by jade stone in its jewels aiming at Asian clients. The stone often appears carved to give floral shapes, mainly set on brooches and clips. It was most of the time associated with onyx or black and red enamel, codes of the Art Déco style. The creations are rather geometrical with a compact structure that gives the image of a statement piece.