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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) / Jade and Jadeite Gemstones

What is the Difference Between Jade and Jadeite?

Green Burma Jadeite Cabochon

What was traditionally called jade is in fact two separate and distinct minerals; jadeite and nephrite. These two materials have different chemical compositions, as well as two distinct levels of hardness and densities. They even have different crystal structures. Most of the classic jade from China is nephrite; jadeite comes mainly from Burma. The rarest and most valuable jade is a variety of green jadeite referred to as 'imperial jade'. Imperial jadeite is colored green by traces of chromium. It has a color and transparency that rivals that of fine emerald, though imperial jade is slightly more yellow in tone. Jadeite is generally very expensive, while nephrite is still quite affordable. Other varieties of jade gemstones are actually 'rocks' composed of part jadeite or nephrite, along with various other minerals, such as albite, kosmochlor (maw-sit-sit) or omphacite.

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  • First Published: February-20-2006
  • Last Updated: August-08-2017
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