Jadeite

Category  :  mineral variety of pyroxene
Hardness  :  6.5 - 7
Gravity  :  3.34 (+.06, -.09)
Reflection  :  ...1.66...
Color  :  Translucent to opaque and often mottled, white, green, yellow to reddish orange, brown, gray, black, light purple or lavender.
Chemical formula  :  NaAlSi2O6
Crystal system  :  monoclinic
Major varieties  :  Jadeite Jade

Jadeite Jade

Jadeite's color commonly ranges from white through pale apple green to deep jade green but can also be blue-green (like the famous and recently rediscovered "Olmec Blue" jade), pink, lavender, and a multitude of other rare colors. Chloromelanite is a very dark green to black variety. Color is largely affected by the presence of trace elements such as chromium and iron.

Its translucence can be anywhere from entirely solid through opaque to almost clear. Variations in color and translucence are often found even within a single specimen. Currently, the best known sources of gem quality jadeite are California, Myanmar, New Zealand and more recently Guatemala; other localities of jadeite include Kazakhstan, Russia, British Columbia, Alaska, and Turkestan.

Jadeite is one of the minerals recognized as the gemstone jade. The other is nephrite. Jadeite from the Motagua Valley, Guatemala, was used by the Olmec and Maya peoples, as well as the indigenous peoples of Costa Rica. Typically, the most highly valued colors of jadeite are the most intensely green, translucent varieties, though traditionally white has been considered the most valuable of the jades by the Chinese, known for their carefully crafted jade pieces. Other colors, like "Olmec blue" jade, which is characterized by its deep blue-green, translucent hue with white flecking, are also becoming more highly valued because of its unique beauty and historical use by the Mesoamerican Olmec and also in Costa Rica; however, this variety was only recently rediscovered and is only being minimally exploited by native Guatemalans. It is thus difficult to obtain and as yet too rare and little known to have attained great value as a gemstone. When purchasing jade, quality is determined by the degree of translucence, cleanness of color, and purity of color. Occasionally, other minerals like serpentine or quartz are sold as jade but the difference can be determined by cleavage and hardness.


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