Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Jade ~ nephrite and jadeite

Nephrite pendant
The jade group is made up of two different metamorphic rocks:
Nephrite, which is a variety of actinolite, and
Jadeite, which belongs to the pyroxene group.

Until 1863 the two were considered to be the same mineral - jade, but at that time were found to be chemically different.

The term 'jadeite' was then coined to distinguish one form from the other.  (Refer to Kim Howard's article as linked to below.)

In Chinese culture the term jade has been more general and can refer to 'precious/ ornamental stone'.

Nephrite: Of the nephrite group I have already written about New Zealand Greenstone, termed Pounamu, by the Maori people.

Jadeite:  Colours of jadeite include various shades of green through to white, and in rare instance, bluish and violet shades.

"Jadeite" by Kim Be Howard, is a fascinating article for those wanting to read about jadeite in depth.   I found the history of its usage and cultural value in South America particularly intriguing.  Only the inclusion of photographs could improve this publication!

What are the pieces below?  I'm inclined to think they're jadeite simply because I haven't seen nephrite this pale, but am happy to be corrected.  

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