Jade gemstones have a long and rich history. The stone is considered incredibly luxurious, and many associates it with royalty. Jade’s beauty is what has made it so popular. Jade jewelry is still fashionable, especially with the many colors of jade stones.
Here’s everything you need to know about genuine jade beads.
Technically speaking, jade doesn’t have to be one thing. It isn’t even a gemstone. Jade is a mineral. The name refers to two minerals: jadeite and nephrite.
Both minerals are complex and have crystals. Their chemical compositions, however, are pretty different. Some of these differences and the overall stone’s makeup are responsible for jade’s different colors.
Although the color of a jade piece could be considered a property, many jade stone colors can be used to make jade stones. Each piece can be slightly different in terms of its characteristics. Some stains can only be found in jadeite and nephrite, while others may not.
The final color of a stone can be affected by other nearby minerals and chemical processes such as oxidation. Here are some examples of jade varieties you might find today.
People usually think of jade as the green variety. It is the most popular color, and it is associated with gemstones.
A green piece of jade can be jadeite, nephrite, or both. Both minerals can create green-hued stones. However, fine-grained and rich-toned jadeite specimens are more valuable.
Green jade comes in many colors. Like more deep, vibrant colors, lighter, more delicate shades are equally likely. The stone might not be truly green, depending on its mineral. For example, it could be yellowish or brown.
Red jadeite is another popular color variant of jadeite. The most valuable gemstones tend to be reddish brown, like brick-red. They can also have yellow or orange tints, but these stones are less valuable.
Some red jade has been heat treated. This process enhances the stone’s color but reduces its transparency. This makes treated stones less desirable than their natural counterparts.
Jadeite is purple jade. You can choose from a light lavender to a deep plum shade. The lavender stones are less desirable and, therefore, more expensive than the green jades.
The amount of iron or magnesium in Nephrite will determine if it takes on a yellow color. Yellow jade is the most affordable when it comes to affordability. Yellow jade isn’t as standard or sought-after as other colors, which means it comes at a lower price.
Black is one of the most common nephrite colors. The color is rich and intense. Higher-value pieces tend to have a glassy surface with limited texture.
White jade, also known as “pure jade”, is translucent and can appear white to gray or slightly chalky. It takes a lot of polishing to make this jade look its best. It can look a little dull otherwise.
Only recently (1863), did anyone notice that “jade” was used to describe two different minerals. The Chinese realized that minerals have other properties much sooner than they realized. The Chinese began to import jadeite from Myanmar around 1750 for some pieces. They preferred it to the local nephrite sometimes.
The Empress Cixi ruled between 1861-1808, and the empress loved green jade. She would collect only the best pieces. Chinese carvers started to refer to her favorite stone as “imperial Jade.”
Whether you love beads for their beauty, their purported healing properties, or for any other reason, understanding their history should help you better understand what makes them unique. Here at Beads of Cambay, they are honored to bring high-quality natural gemstone beads from around the world to your doorstep. Browse the selection today to find the perfect pieces for your collection or your next project.