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Article: Jade


Properties and Types of Jade

  • Refractive index: 2.9–3.38
  • Birefringence: 1.600–1.688
  • Pleochroism: 0.020–0.027
  • Absence of dispersion
  • Mainly produced in China and other countries
  • Jade is an umbrella term for two types of ornamental rocks: nephrite and jadeite
  • Nephrite is typically green but can also be yellow, white, or black
  • Jadeite comes in various colors, including emerald green, lavender, yellow, orange, brown, and black
  • Both nephrite and jadeite are mineral aggregates, not mineral species
  • In China, the name jadeite has been replaced with 'fei cui'

Cultural Significance and History of Jade

  • Jade is widely used in East Asian, South Asian, and Southeast Asian art
  • It is commonly used in Latin America, such as Mexico and Guatemala
  • Jade holds symbolic and ideological value in Mesoamerican cultures
  • It was considered the imperial gem in China and used for utilitarian and ceremonial objects
  • Jade had a higher status-value than gold or silver in China
  • Nephrite jade was mined in China as early as 6000 BC
  • Jade was used extensively during the Shang Dynasty (1600 to 1050 BC)
  • Khotan in Xinjiang, China, was a major source of jade
  • Jadeite from Burma became popular in China after 1800
  • Jade had special significance in Chinese art and was used for grave furnishings

Jade in Japan, Korea, South Asia, and Southeast Asia

  • Jade bracelets were used as symbols of wealth and power in Japan
  • Jade was used in rituals and is the national stone of Japan
  • All jade used in Japan since the Jomon period is from Itoigawa
  • Korea has a long tradition of using jade and other greenstone
  • Comma-shaped jades were found in Silla royalty and elite burials
  • India is known for its craftsman tradition of using large amounts of green serpentine or false jade obtained primarily from Afghanistan for jewelry and ornamental items.
  • The Jain temple of Kolanpak in Telangana, India is home to a 5-foot high sculpture of Mahavira carved entirely out of jade.
  • The Salar Jung Museum in Hyderabad has a wide range of jade hilted daggers, mostly owned by the former Sultans of Hyderabad.
  • Myanmar is estimated to be the origin of upwards of 70% of the world's supply of high-quality jadeite.
  • The highest quality jadeite in the world is found in the Jade Tract located in Kachin State, Myanmar.
  • Taiwan, the Philippines, and Maritime Southeast Asia were part of an extensive trading network for carved nephrite jade, known as the Maritime Jade Road.
  • The maritime road was in existence for at least 3,000 years and was a golden age for the diverse animist societies of the region.
  • Pounamu taonga, or greenstone, has cultural significance in New Zealand and is used to create tools, weapons, and ornaments.

Jade in Mesoamerica and Canada

  • Jade was a rare and valued material in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica.
  • The only source of jade for indigenous cultures like the Olmec and Maya was located in the Motagua River valley in Guatemala.
  • Jade was often carved into symbolic figurines and used in ideological practices and rituals.
  • Jade was first identified in Canada by Chinese settlers in 1886 in British Columbia.
  • Jade was not commercialized in Canada until the 1970s.
  • Canadian jade is mined from large boulders using diamond-tipped core drills and water-cooled diamond saws.
  • Hydraulic spreaders are used to break away the jade from the rock.
  • Russia has its own jade deposits in Siberia, with estimated reserves of 336 tons.

Mining, Trade, and Conservation of Jade

  • The jade industry in Myanmar produces over 70% of the world's high-quality jadeite.
  • Myanma Gem Enterprise (MGE) is the main producer in Myanmar.
  • Most of Myanmar's jadeite is exported for use in jewelry and art.
  • Canada is a major source of lapidary nephrite.
  • The beauty of jade makes it valuable for ornaments and decorative objects.
  • Myanmar's jadeite deposits are the source of the highest quality jadeite.
  • Chinese culture places significant importance on jade.
  • Myanmar exports most of its jadeite to other Asian nations.
  • Myanma Gem Enterprise has enough assets to run for 172 years.
  • The jade industry in Myanmar has grown with Chinese influence.
  • Jade continues to be highly sought after in the global market, with demand driven by collectors, jewelry designers, and enthusiasts.
  • Conservation efforts are being made to protect jade resources and promote sustainable mining practices.
  • Environmental impacts of jade mining, such as deforestation and water pollution, are being addressed through regulations and initiatives.
  • The identification and authentication of genuine jade have become important due to the prevalence of counterfeit and treated stones.
  • Museums and cultural institutions play a crucial role in preserving and showcasing the historical and artistic significance of jade.

Jade Data Sources

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