About Jade Jewelry
Jade jewelry is one of the most amazingly eloquent and beautiful of gems, and this is why jade is a perfect choice for those seeking a totally stunning or unique gemstone ring or perhaps, other jewelry design.
Traditional jade is actually two completely different and distinct minerals: nephrite and jadeite. The differences between nephrite and jadeite are bountiful, including chemical compositions, densities, colors, physical properties and even crystal structures.
Nephrite is the most common type of jade and it is formed by a mixture of calcium, magnesium, and iron, while jadeite is a silicate mineral containing sodium and aluminum.
Nephrite is slightly softer than jadeite; nephrite is 6-6.5 on the Mohs scale, while jadeite is 6.5-7, and nephrite can occur in various mid to dark green grey-green shades, it can also be found in white, yellowish or reddish tones. Jadeite, on the other hand, occurs in different shades of blue, emerald green, lavender and even pink.
Hardness: 6.5 - 7.0
Refractive Index: 1.640 - 1.667
Specific Gravity: 3.25 - 3.36
Hardness: 6.0 - 6.5
Refractive Index: 1.600 - 1.641
Specific Gravity: 2.90 - 3.02
Jade Jewelry Buying Tip
If you are looking to purchase a jade engagement ring or any other type of frequently worn jade gemstone jewelry, it is advisable to purchase jadeite rather than nephrite. This is because nephrite is softer, so it will scratch more easily and is therefore not ideal for everyday wear and tear that is typically exposed to a wedding or engagement rings.
Jadeite is priced much higher than nephrite due to its extreme rarity. The most sought after color for jadeite can be described as an emerald green color, and this color jadeite can fetch prices around $1200.00 per carat. Nephrite on the other hand, which is not all that rare, is priced very modestly, usually in the range of $50.00 to $100.00 per carat. Nephrite is minimally affected in price in regards to carat size, meaning an increase in carat size will result in only a small increase in price. This is because larger size nephrite is very common, but however, the price of a jadeite is greatly affected by carat size because of rarity of large sized jadeite specimens. Even a small increase in carat size can exponentially increase the price of jadeite.
Shopping for Jade
When shopping for jade wedding or engagement rings, be sure to shop for a jadeite ring. If you're looking for earrings or another type of jade jewelry not worn on a daily basis, than nephrite should be fine, but do be careful and do your research before buying.
Like with all valuable gemstones, there are unfortunately, synthetic and imitation jade gems on the market. These imitations are deceivingly sold as natural, authentic jadeite and even nephrite, even though nephrite is rather affordable. These synthetic and imitation jade jewelry pieces are typically composed of less valuable quartz, soapstone, chrysoprase, serpentine and even colored glass.
Jade Treatments & Enhancements
Consumers should also be aware of jade enhancement treatments. A common and typical enhancement for jadeite is a surface coating of colorless resin. This enhancement process it the only enhancement that is considered stable. This type of enhancement is rather accepted in the gem trade because it has a fair stability rating; however, resin-coated enhanced jadeite should not undergo any type of ultrasonic cleaning in order to retain the shiny coating.
Jadeite can also be bleached and injected internally with wax or resins to enhance color. This is not a very common enhancement, but nonetheless. This process of bleaching the stone has a very poor stability rating and jadeite specimens that have undergone this treatment should not be exposed to extreme heat, harsh chemicals, or any type of ultrasonic cleaning.
Jadeite is often dyed, which is a process used to improve color. This is different than infusing the stone with resins or wax, but still, it will result in reduced stability, therefore, dyed jadeite should also not be exposed to any extreme conditions. Nephrite can also be found dyed, but this is rather rarely occurring.
Currently, authentic jadeite is only found in Burma (Myanmar), China, Guatemala, and Russia; while nephrite can be found in Canada, China, Russia, Guatemala, New Zealand and the Swiss Alps. The price of jadeite is a good indication of its authenticity. By being aware of market prices, you may be able to protect yourself from unscrupulous sellers. This is because natural and authentic jadeite is very rare and very expensive. If the price for your jadeite ring is too low, than most likely it is not authentic, likewise, if the price for your nephrite jewelry is too high (or too low), the the seller may be trying to deceive you.
Jade Jewelry Buying Advice
As always, only deal with trustworthy, reputable gem dealers who offer returns. By doing this, you can take your jade jewelry and have it evaluated to confirm its identity, authenticity and even valued if appraised by a jeweler. Also remember, all jade can scratch from excessive or daily wear, so before engaging in any harsh physical activity, place your jade jewelry in a safe protective location.