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Jadeite Meanings and Properties


Jadeite History

Jadeite is one of two forms of jade. This beautiful gem is loved in jewelry for its striking green color, but jadeite gemstones were actually originally used thousands of years ago as weapons. Jade's toughness made it ideal for carving into ax heads and tools as well as ritual artifacts. It didn't take long before ancient civilizations noticed jadeite not only for its durability, but also its beauty and potential metaphysical capabilities. Central American cultures would sometimes hold jadeite against their sides to help cure ailments, which is why the Spanish called jadeite "piedra de ijada," meaning "stone for the pain in the side." On the other side of the world, the Chinese called jade "yu," meaning "heavenly" or "imperial" and has been found in the tombs of some Shang dynasty kings and other important figures. Lady Fu Hao's tomb contained 755 jade objects!

Jadeite Metaphysical Properties

The Chinese especially valued jadeite and have used the gemstone for multiple purposes. First, jadeite gems are said to possess health-strengthening abilities and improve longevity. Jadeite bangle bracelets are said to protect the wearer and absorb negative energy. According to feng shui, jadeite can influence not only health, but prosperity. Considered a "dream stone" by ancient cultures, jade is used today to dream solve, access the spiritual realm and encourage creativity.

Jadeite Geological Properties

There is more than one type of jade, but only two pure jades: nephrite and jadeite. Jadeite is the more uncommon of the two and has therefore been considered more valuable with a more vitreous luster. Jadeite is a sodium-rich pyroxene mineral that is formed by fine-grained interlocking crystals in metamorphic rocks under high pressure, but low temperatures. Pure jadeite is actually white, but the prized green hue is a result of chromium impurities. High-grade emerald-green jadeite is commonly called "Imperial Jade" and is quite rare. Burma is the main source of jadeite, including Imperial Jade. Other sources include Japan, Canada, Guatemala, Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkey, Cuba and the United States.

Mineral Information Jadeite, augiste group
Chemical Composition NaAI(Si2O6)
Color Pale green
Hardness 6-1/2 to 7 (Mohs)
Specific Gravity 3.30 - 3.36
Refractive Index 1.654 - 1.667

Proper Care of Jadeite

Jade stones may have been known for their toughness, but the surface is still able to be scratched. The best method of cleaning jadeite is to use a soft cloth dipped in soapy water. Jadeite is also fairly porous, so it's best to avoid submerging the stone completely in the soapy water. Make sure the jadeite as well as the rest of the jewelry piece is completely dry before storing. Do not use steam or ultrasonic cleaners.

To learn more about jadeite and other gemstones, order your copy of Walter Schumann's revised and expanded edition of Gemstones of the World.

Designing with Jadeite

While jadeite is mostly known for being green, jadeite colors can range from green, white, yellow, grey, pinkish and more, which means you have quite a palette to design with. Combine light-colored jadeite beads with warmer colors to create a cooling effect. On the color wheel, green hues are complementary to reds and purples while analogous to yellows and oranges.

View design inspirations featuring jadeite in the Gallery of Designs

Shop for Jadeite Items

**Please note that all metaphysical or healing properties listed are collected from various sources. This information is offered as a service and not meant to treat medical conditions. Fire Mountain Gems and Beads® does not guarantee the validity of any of these statements.

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