Jade is a gem made from mineral aggregates, or different mineral materials such as stone, sand, and gravel. Jade is made up of two different minerals, Jadeite or Nephrite. A jade gem can be various colors depending on its mineral make-up. Yellow jade is a Nephrite mineral. Jade gems have a long history and meaning, especially in China. The jade market also has an economic impact based on mineral composition and color.
Types of Jade
All jade is made from fine grain, highly intertwined or textured crystals. Jadeite jade is made mostly from sodium-rich aluminous pyroxene, or important rock forming minerals. Nephrite jade is made from fine grain, calcium rich, magnesium, iron and aluminous amphibole. Due to the fact that the materials in both were so difficult to distinguish between and because the word “jade” was so ingrained in common language, its use in the gemstone trade has continued today. Neither type is very hard but in comparison, jade, is one of the tougher gem minerals known.
Yellow Jade History
The common species Nephrite was only given its distinction and characteristics in 1863. Nephrite varies from translucent to opaque, in many different colors including yellow. The lighter colors such as yellow contain more magnesium rich members in their mineral group. Nephrite is mined in New Zealand, South Korea and the United States. The largest deposits are in British Columbia. Nephrite artifacts have been found that date back as far as 3500 BCE in Europe and for more than 7,000 years in China. Nephrite is known as “The Stone of Heaven” and has a religious and cultural place in China.
Chinese History of Yellow Jade
Jade, pronounced “yu” in Chinese, means “the most beautiful stone.” It was a royal gem in the early dynasties of Ancient China. It was part of cultural, religious and commercial use. Although not as prestigious in the West, jade was held in high regard over other precious metals such as gold and silver. The Chinese had a proverb that said: “gold is estimable, jade is priceless.” Chinese dignitaries were buried in ceremonial suits made of pieces of jade. Nephrite jade was most popular during the Ming Dynasty for making jewelry and figures for Ming tombs.
Yellow Jade Properties
Gemological properties include technical terms such as carat, makeup, hardiness, toughness, RI, and several other factors that determine the value of gemstones. A carat is a unit of weight that gemstones are measured. The makeup involves the minerals of the gemstone. Yellow jade consists of calcium magnesium iron silicate. Hardiness is the ability to resist scratching and is rated on the Mohs scale. Yellow jade has a hardiness of 6-6.5. It is exceptionally tough and has a refraction index (RI), or ability to create effects of brilliance and light dispersion, of 1.61-1.63.
Meaning of Yellow Jade
All Jade has many symbolic meanings in society today. It can indicate wisdom from tranquility, it keeps harm away from the those who posses it, it attracts good luck and enables self sufficiency. It helps with releasing emotions and is considered a "dream stone". Yellow jade has the meaning of energy yet quite thoughtfulness. It brings happiness and joy, and teaches the connection between all living beings. Yellow jade also is believed to help with the digestive system in the human body.
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