All Jadeite Is Jade But Not All Jade Is Jadeite – The Brilliant Green Gemstone
If you have ever shopped for the brilliant green gemstone known as jade, you may have also come across the term “jadeite.” If you have, you probably have been wondering what the difference is. The truth is, all jadeite is jade but not all jade is jadeite. Confused? Most people are. See, the stones that people traditionally know as jade are actually two different minerals that look very similar to each other. Jadeite is one of these and nephrite is the other. So, if you see a loose jade stone, it can either be jadeite or nephrite. Jadeite is rarer, and therefore more valuable and more expensive, but there are other differences as well.
The Brilliant Green Gemstone
Main Differences between Jadeite and Nephrite
Jadeite and nephrite are totally different minerals. They have different densities, different hardness, different crystal structure, and different chemical compositions. Classic jade, the jade that comes from China, is nephrite, and jadeite, the rarer type of jade, comes from Burma. The most valuable type of jade is a type of jadeite known as imperial jade that takes on a yellowish tone and contains chromium. Most nephrite, on the other hand, is quite affordable and doesn’t have that added composition. There are other differences as well.
The Brilliant Green Gemstone
|Traits of the Gemstone||Jadeite Characteristics||Nephrite Characteristics|
|Hardness||6.5 – 7 on the Mohs scale||6 – 6.5 on the Mohs scale|
|Specific Gravity||3.30 – 3.50||2.90 – 3.02|
|Chemical Characteristics||Made of sodium and aluminum||Made of calcium and magnesium|
|Color||Many color combinations in addition to green including yellow, pink, and lavender.||Typically green or dark green but can be found as white jade or even reddish jade.|
Determining the Value of Jade
Now that you know jade can be either jadeite or nephrite, you are probably interested in learning about the way that value is determined. As mentioned earlier, jadeite is more valuable than nephrite and because of this, will be more expensive in most cases. Jadeite is studied for quality much more often than nephrite is and people take the value of jadeite much more seriously. There are three qualities of jadeite that have a large impact on its price and value. They are color, texture, and transparency.
The Color of Jadeite
Most people simply assume that all jade is green, but that is not true. The most desirable jadeite is certainly a specific green shade, but there are also other colors that are common including red, yellow, lavender, brown, orange, black, and gray. As mentioned, the most highly prized jade is imperial jade and the finest gems are almost transparent with a bright emerald green color. It is acceptable for imperial jade to also have a slightly bluish or slightly yellow shade as well.
Other primarily green jadeites are also popular and highly sought after. One of these is “kingfisher jade,” that looks remarkably like imperial jade, but less vivid. “Apple jade” is another type of jadeite that you will find on the market and instead of bright, deep green, the color is better described as intensely yellowish green. Finally, you will find that ” moss-in-snow jade” is highly sought after too and is a translucent white color with bright green areas throughout.
The Texture of Jadeite
The texture of jadeite is also important when it comes to its value. Jadeite typically will have a very smooth texture that is soft to the touch in most cases. However, when you really get into jadeite, you will find that the texture can actually be coarse, medium, or fine depending on the variations of the crystal that makes up the jadeite. They are typically put into categories that are, respectively, new mine, relatively old mine, and old mine.
Just as the crystal structure of jadeites determines the texture of jade, it also contributes to the toughness. Theses crystals, also called grains, essentially form tight, interwoven bonds on a chemical level that is resistant to breaking. Because of this, as a side note, jadeite was often used to make weapons and tools.
The Transparency of Jadeite
The third main indicator of jadeite’s value is its transparency. Jadeite can really run the gamut when it comes to transparency and can be totally opaque to semitransparent and almost clear. The most valuable jade can be seen through. For instance, if you were reading these words by looking at them through a high quality single jade pendant, you could read the words, but they would look slightly blurry. Because light can get through a semitransparent stone like fine jade, it has a brilliance that lower quality stones simply don’t have. May people will even describe this as a glow and this typically has a green or lavender hue coming from it. Less valuable jadeite is totally opaque.
Other Indicators of Jadeite Value
In addition to color, texture, and transparency, there are other factors that can influence the value of jade. The cut of the jade can certainly affect the value of the stone, and thus, cut can increase the value of jadeite jewelry. Specific cuts are worth more when it comes to the value of jadeite. The finest examples of jadeite are often cut into cabochons, for example, and that makes them more valuable when on the commercial market. Jadeite is also often cut into round beads. In addition to the cut of the jade, size and weight are also a factor in the value.
Buying Jadeite and Nephrite on eBay
You will be able to buy nephrite and jadeites on eBay. As with any type of fine gemstones and materials, there are some things that you will want to keep in mind before you buy. When buying on eBay, for instance, you will want to make sure that you are buying from a highly reputable seller. In order to determine the reputation of the seller, you should take a look at two numbers. The first, found on the item description page next to the name of the seller; is known as the feedback score. This is a number that represents the number of customers they have worked with who have left feedback.
You probably won’t want to buy from any seller who doesn’t have several hundred or thousand past customers. The other number that you will want to take a look at before buying jadeites is the percentage right underneath the name and the feedback score. This is the percentage of positive comments the seller has received out of all their total comments. You shouldn’t work with any seller who doesn’t have at least a 99 percent feedback score for best results.
Other things that you will want to consider when buying jadeite on eBay is the availability of a certificate of authenticity. This should certainly be a focus when you are dealing in fine jade and may not be important or even available when dealing with jade fashion jewelry or items.
Shipping is also important when it comes to jade as many of these items will be sent from overseas. You should expect that the shipping could take several days; and even weeks depending on where the jade; is coming from and how you are shipping it. Insurance may be something you want to consider for shipping your jade.
Jade is a highly sought after material but so many people don’t realize exactly what it is. Most people have a picture of what jade is; but, in fact, jade as most people think of it; is very different to the reality. What does exist, however, is jadeites and nephrite; two similar looking; but highly different materials that are sold on the market as jade. By knowing the differences between jadeite and nephrite; and knowing what makes jadeite much more valuable; when it comes to shopping for jade; you will be able to make well-informed decisions. If you are interested in buying jade; start shopping for jade on eBay, today or from Amazon