What is jade? Jadeite vs. Nephrite


What is jade? Jadeite vs. Nephrite

When thinking about the jade stone, the general image that comes into people's minds is likely a bright green stone that appears in carved form, such as a jade bangle, a jade Buddha, or an almond-shaped pendant. But what is jade the gemstone, how do experts determine its value, and does it come in different colors? We're here to answer some of your burning questions in a series of "Jade, Explained" articles.

Jadeite vs. Nephrite

In gemstones, there are actually two types of materials that are classified as jade: jadeite and nephrite.

Jadeite, known as "hard jade" in Chinese, is harder than nephrite, and is considered the more valuable gemstone compared to nephrite. The value of jadeite is mainly determined by its color, level of transparency, and texture.

While nephrite jade comes in colors between white, dark green, red-brown, and black, jadeite actually occurs naturally in a full variety of colors: red, orange, yellow, brown, white, black, and gray. Out of this rainbow of colors, the most treasured colors of jadeite are green (with the emerald green jade, known as Imperial Jade, the ultimate prized hue) and violet. At TRACE, we create our jewelry designs out of traditional and non-conventional colors to let our customers express themselves.

Did you know?

The most expensive piece of jadeite jade jewelry was auctioned at Sotheby's for $27.44 million USD in 2014. The precious jade necklace, featuring 27 large vivid green jadeite beads with an Art Deco diamond and ruby clasp by jeweler Cartier, showed excellent transparency and extremely fine texture. What was impressive was the enormous size of the jade beads, which must have come from the same stone for them to match.

Want more?

This is the first of a series of "Jade, Explained" articles to help demystify the jade gemstone. Sign up for our newsletter to get notified of our new articles and promotions.