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What is Jade?

Jade is a name that actually covers two gem species: jadeite and nephrite. Nephrite jade carvings are a characteristic of the Chinese civilisation with nephrite examples dating back thousands of years. The use of jadeite in China is more recent. 

A selection of rough and worked specimens of jadeite and nephrite. ©The Natural History Museum, London


Jade is a very important gem to the Chinese culture and considered the noblest of gems. It was believed to have many magical properties, from preserving a body, invoking the dead, banishing evil and bringing rain. Jade bowls bring energy to food and drink and the stone itself protects against heat, cold and hunger. 

The most magnificent jewellery, carvings and sculpture as well as tools and other objects have been made from jade. When jadeite is very translucent with a strong bright emerald green colour, it is often referred to as Imperial Jade. 

The magnificence of Imperial Jade with its bright colour together with an almost soft limpidity means they are highly prized and can be some of the most expensive of all gemstones.

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