Jade is one of the most favorite materials in carvings used in various feng shui cures, and it is also much loved as a medium for various jewelry pieces—from beads to bracelets and rings. It is especially popular in ancient and modern Asian arts and crafts but is also popular with artisans from all over the world. The term jade applies to two different minerals—nephrite and jadeite—and most of the world’s commercial supply of jade comes from China, Russia, and the U.S., though the mineral is found all over the world.
Jade has been a part of Chinese civilization from the earliest days. Chinese jade was used as a material for practical and ornamental purposes at an early period in history, and it continues to be very popular today.
The earliest Chinese jade is from the early Neolithic period Hemudu culture in Zhejian Province (about 7000–5000 BCE). Jade was an important part of ritual contexts in the middle to late Neolithic periods, such as the Hongshan culture that existed along the Lao River and the Liangzhu culture in the Tai Lake region (both date between 4000–2500 BCE). Carved jade has also been found in sites dated to the Longshan culture (3500–2000 BCE) by the Yellow River; and the Bronze age cultures of Western and Easter Zhou dynasties (11th–3rd centuries BCE).
In 說文解字 (shuo wen jie zi), the first Chinese dictionary published in the early second century CE, jade was described as “beautiful stones” by the writer Xu Zhen. Jade has been a familiar substance in Chinese culture for a very long time.
heaeeeChinese people love jade not only because of its aesthetic beauty but also because of what it represents regarding social value. In the Li Ji (Book of Rites), Confucius said that there are 11 De, or virtues, represented in jade: benevolence, justice, propriety, truth, credibility, music, loyalty, heaven, earth, morality, and intelligence.
Because jade represents desirable virtues, the word for jade (“yu”) is incorporated into many Chinese idioms and proverbs to denote beautiful things or people. For example, 冰清玉洁 (bingqing yujie), which directly translates to “clear as ice and clean as jade” is a Chinese saying that means someone is pure and noble. 亭亭玉立 (tingting yuli) is a phrase used to describe something or someone that is fair, slim, and graceful. Additionally, 玉女 (yùnǚ), which means jade woman, is a term for a lady or beautiful girl. A popular thing to do in China is to use the Chinese character for jade in Chinese names. The Supreme Deity of Taoism is known as Yuhuang Dadi (the Jade Emperor).
What do people believe that Jade is used for?
Jade is useful in dream-solving, facilitates access to the spiritual world and ritualistic knowledge and supports creativity, all of which are encompassed in jade meaning. Jade is carved into talismans that are believed to insure a long life and peaceful passing. Jade gemstones are also thought to have powerful healing powers for all those times during a long life when healing is required. Jade meaning is based in an ability to gather tranquil wisdom while discarding negativity and seeing one’s true self.
Jade meaning is strongly based in healing. Different names have been given to jade based on jade stone’s ability to cure ailments of the bladder or kidneys. In ancient Chinese, the name Yu-Stone was given to represent jade meaning. Mesoamericans referred to jade as the “spleen-stone” to reflect jade meaning in regard to its special healing abilities for maladies of the spleen.
In fact, archaeological artifacts of jade include sacrificial vessels, tools, ornaments, utensils, and many other items. Ancient music instruments were made out of Chinese jade, such as the yuxiao (a flute made of jade and played vertically), and chimes. The beautiful color of jade made it a mysterious stone to the Chinese in ancient times, so jade wares were popular as sacrificial vessels and were often buried with the dead.One example of the ritual importance of jade is the burial of the body of Liu Sheng, a prince of the Zhongshan State (Western Han Dynasty) who died around 113 BCE. He was buried in a jade suit composed of 2,498 pieces of jade stitched together with gold thread.
Nephrite, the more common type of jade, reflected jade meaning in Greek based on the Greek word nephros which translates to kidney. When the Spanish took over the New World they named the green stones Piedra de hijada which translates to “Stone of the loin” or “Stone of the flank” in keeping with jade meaning.
Jadeite, the more rare and expensive type of jade, has a slightly different meaning than the more common nephrite jade. Jadeite jade meaning has to do with health, longevity and love. Wearing, holding and meditating with jadeite jade improves health problems that stem from illness or accidents. Jade also helps people live longer. Jadeite is reputed to open one’s heart to love when worn in jewelry.
Jade is not always the blue-green or light green mineral rock that many people think of when they say something is the color of jade. While jade meaning is rooted in calm wisdom, healing and protection, each jade color carries a slightly different jade meaning and power.
- Black jade meaning represents the gemstone’s particular ability to protect by warding off negative physical or psychological assault, especially the negative energies associated with self-defeat.
- Blue jade meaning is about calm, inner peace and reflection. It is very useful for encouraging dreams and visions. The mind is calmed with blue jade.
- Brown jade meaning has to do with staying well-grounded. The use of brown jade strengthens a connection with the earth while imparting comfort and a sense of reliability.
- Lavender jade meaning has to do with spiritual support. It heals emotional pain while nourishing spiritually. Lavender jade vibrates at the highest ethereal level.
- Orange jade meaning is all about the joy that can be achieved through connections with all living beings. Lavender jade energy provides quiet stimulation of the mind.
- Purple jade meaning is focused on the aura. Happiness and mirth are brought about with purple jade while it eliminates negativity and supports a higher level of discernment.
- Red jade meaning has to do with the life force. Use of red jade reduces fears while it encourages action and strengthens the life-force energy.
- White jade meaning has to do with better focus. The use of white jade reduces distractions to allow for a better grasp on helpful, relevant information. It improves the decision-making process.
- Yellow jade meaning is all about a cheerful, energetic way of being. Use of yellow jade enhances assimilation and discrimination.
Needless to say, the most valuable and coveted jade is a specific shade of green, also called imperial jade. This is one of the most expensive gemstones and is highly sought after. Some other valued green jade shades are kingfisher jade, apple jade and moss-in-snow jade. After green, lavender jade is the second most valuable, with black, orange and red jade also being popular.
When choosing your jade, look for strong vivid colors. The color of the jade should be vibrant and lively. You should also ensure that you view the stone under artificial and natural light.
Jade is found in opaque to semi-transparent varieties. This is what gives jade its special look and distinguishes it from other green gemstones. The most valuable type of jade is semi-transparent, giving it a slightly blurry look. When light reaches into such jade, it goes deep within the stone giving it a glowing appearance.
Completely opaque jade is not desirable, and neither is completely transparent. Jade with patchy transparency, where some parts of the stone are cloudy, is also not very desirable.
Jadeite is smooth and soft to the touch. What contributes to its texture is the size and hardness of its crystals that make the stone. Jade is composed of minute crystals that interlock densely as the stone forms. Jade can be found with three main crystal sizes – fine, medium and coarse. The best texture is fine-grained jade. These stones have a smooth feel and very high luster.
Jade is a versatile stone that can be cut and carved into all shapes and forms. Because of its fine-grained crystal structure it is easy to cut and does not break, crack or chip while cutting. The best quality jade is usually cut into cabochons and used in jewelry. These cabochons are often not calibrated in order to make the most of the jade rough and gain the highest yield.
Sometimes a single piece of jade rough is used to create an entire piece of jewelry. These are called hololiths and include bangles and rings. Jade hololith jewelry is often very costly because a lot of wastage of the rough occurs during the cutting process.
Because jade is a very dense gemstone, it is much heavier than most other stones. A jade stone of the same size as a diamond, for example, would be much heavier than the diamond. This is why jade (and most other colored gemstones) is measured in millimetres and not in carats.
Jade is an incredibly tough stone, and this is one reason it has been so highly valued. It is generally able to withstand damage and does not break easily. In fact, in the jewelry industry, there is a saying that if you hit a piece of jade with a hammer, it will ring like a bell! The interlocking pattern of the tiny grains as the stone forms is what gives it its outstanding toughness. While it only ranks at 6 to 7 on the Mohs scale, jade is quite scratch resistant and high-quality jade is excellent in jewelry for daily wear.
Most jade on the market undergoes many treatments to enhance its color. This can affect the stability of the stone and reduce its toughness. When choosing jade, there are three grades to consider:
Type A – This type of jade is natural and has had no artificial treatments. However, its luster may be enhanced by giving it a waxy coat. This does not affect the stone in anyway. Type A jade is dyed or fracture-filled and exhibits its real color.
Type B – This refers to jade that may have been bleached to remove pigmentation and coated or filled. When jade is bleached, it becomes porous and easier to break. To combat that, polymer fillers are used to improve the jade’s stability. However, treatments can cause the stone to be unstable and reduces its toughness. Even so, Type B jade still has its natural, true color.
Type C – This refers to jade that has undergone many treatments such as bleaching, fracture filling and dying. Over time, the color of Type C jade can fade exposure to heat and the stone is often not stable.
When buying jade, ensure that your jeweler discloses this information to you. Needless to say, Type A jade is the most expensive and also the most durable. It is perfect for engagement rings and other high ticket pieces of jewelry.
Due to jade being a highly coveted, rare and expensive gemstone, there are many imitations on the market. It is important to be able to tell if your jade is genuine or a fake. The best way to do this is to have a certified expert check the stone for you.
However, there are some tests that you can do to check if your stone is authentic:
- The Scratch Test – Scratch the stone with your fingernail. Check if it leaves a mark. You can take this a step further and use a sharp object such as the end of a pair of scissors or a nail. Gently scratch the jade and look to see if there is a scratch. If yes, it is likely that it isn’t genuine jade. When doing this test, ensure that you scratch a part of the stone that isn’t generally visible. Be careful when doing this test as you may damage your jade.
- The Temperature Test – Real jade does not heat up quickly. Hold your stone in your hand and see if it quickly warms up. It should feel cold, heavy and smooth in your hand.
- Density Check – Both jadeite and nephrite have high density levels, meaning that jade is heavier than most other stones. One way to check density is by throwing the stone up into the air and catching it. Feel its weight. Does it feel heavier than another stone of similar size? If it is suspiciously light, it is likely that the stone is not genuine.
The price of jade has increased exponentially over the past several years. Experts attribute this giant hike in price to the economic boom in China over the past decade. With this prosperity, the demand for jade has exceeded the supply, causing prices to sky rocket. In some cases, the value of jade has surpassed that of gold. Is it a good investment? Well, I think it’s just better to enjoy the gem and perhaps its qualities!
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