Jade is an ornamental mineral. It has different varieties of green minerals. It is a very durable mineral that had been used in sculptures, tools, gemstones and jewelry for over 5000 years. Due to its hardness, it was used to make head of the axe, weapons, instrument for scraping and hammering. It is divided into jadeite, which is a silicate of sodium and aluminum and nephrite, which is a silicate of magnesium and calcium. Jade can be enhanced or stabilized. There are three main methods of enhancement called as ABC Treatment System. In type A, only surface is waxed. In type B treatment, the jadeite is exposed to chemical bleaches or acids and infused with clear polymer resin. This improves the colour and transparency of the jade. In type C the jade is dyed artificially. This has a dull brown colour and the translucency is absent. In type B+C the jade is dyed artificially as well as infused. Type D jade consist of a jade top with plastic backing.
Greenstone and jade are different thing. Greenstone are metamorphic rock. Its colour range from darker to light green. It comes in the form of pillows, blister bubbles of lava expelled in line from volcanic fissure into the cold water, during the Precambrian era. It was formed after the hot lava settled and solidified about one billion years ago. It is found in the belt of greenstone. Greenstone Ridge is one of the largest and thickest lava flows and is 800 feet thick and extends deep under Lake Superior in a flow which is continuous that again reappears 50 miles later on the Keweenaw Peninsula in Michigan. In Isle Royal National Park, the gemstone can be found cocooned by the hardened volcanic rock on the island. Sometimes found as pea-sized pebbles on the shore when weathered out of the basalt. These pebbles comes only from Isle Royale and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. This rare stone is found along the beaches on Mott and Smithwick Islands and in the south shore of Siskiwit Lake.
Jade can be found in green, red, lavender, yellow, black and white. Pure Jade is white. When the stone rises to the surface of the earth and comes in contact with different minerals it changes its color. Imperial green colored Jade, an intense emerald green color is very rare, hence it’s the most valuable. The intensity of the color is very important. Lavender is also a rare and valuable color. Pure white colored jade is translucent and rare. Burmese Black Jadeite is grayish and Guatrmalan Black Jade is jet black in color, which is not translucent and is valuable and rare.
Jade is found all around the world. Jade is found in mountain deposits. Jade is mined through a process which is very similar process like removing rock from the quarry. Depends upon the deposits it has – Nephrite and Jadeite. Nephrite deposits is very common in the regions of New Zealand, China, Russia and Swiss Alps. The dark, vibrant green is the Jadeite. This variant is mostly found in North America, mainly in Western Canada. While the lighter shade of Jade is found around Russia, Guatemala and China. It is estimated that Burma has 70% of the supply of the world.
Until fifty years ago, the traditional method used was drawing a bowstring back and forth to propel a drill with abrasive and water. Since Jade is a hard gem, chipping and polishing techniques differ very much from regular stone. In the early time, quartz, a mineral with a very high hardness level was used , and it was the only thing used. Red sand, which has a hardness level of 7.5 was used at the beginning of the Song Dynasty. Different abrasives were used by the Jade carvers. Calcareous silt mixed with carborundum, quartz, corundum, diamond and almandine garnet.
Yes Jade being a costly material was reserved for wealthy people. The craftsmen of China have been producing objects made of jade for over 5000 years. The master Chinese craftsmen who daily worked on Jade realized that few Jade which were obtained from Burma was different. The Jade which came from Burma was more denser, harder, was easy to work on it and produced more higher shine when polished. Slowly that form of Jade was preferred by the Chinese artisans and it was highly prized by the people of that nation. They differentiated jadeite and nephrite. This fine- grained jadeite along with a bright translucence and uniform green color. It was taken to be of the highest quality and named as Imperial Jade. During ancient time, the Imperial Jade was reserved for the Emperor only. The best specimens cost more per carat than high-quality diamonds.
Jade is considered a very precious stone and a lucky one. It symbolized purity and moral integrity. It was prized for the durability and magical qualities. It was used mainly for ritual objects like that of bi disc and zong tubes. Due to the high value, it was associated with aristocracy and people decorated their homes mainly in their writing desk. Since it was considered indestructible and thought to give immortality to the owner, jade objects were buried along with the dead. In Chinese culture it was a symbol of beauty, goodness and preciousness. Along with gold it was thought to be a symbol of heaven. It is thought to protect one from evil, attract love and bring good luck.
Jade was popular only in the east, predominately in China. Jade was identified in Canada in 1886 for the first time by Chinese settlers. It was not given importance at that time as Gold was considered precious. Jade was commercialized in Canada after 1970. Commercial jade started in 1972.
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