Essay on Mineral Jade

Jade: A Treasured Gemstone with a Rich History

Jade is a greenish-black to creamy white colored ornamental stone or gemstone highly valued in Korea and China. It is a beautiful and long-lasting material that has been used to create sculptures, jewelry, and other objects for over 5000 years.

Early Uses of Jade

It was used to make arms, ax blades, and flaying and hammering instruments in the early days because of its hardness. After some time, humans began to use jade for precious stones, lucky charms, and decorative items due to its beautiful color and ability to be ground to an adamantine finish. Although most people think of jade as a beautiful green gem, the materials come in various colors and the ability of it being grinded to adamantine glance led humans to start using it to create precious stones, lucky charms, and pieces of decoration. Majority of people only consider jade as a gorgeous green gem, yet the materials are in different colors like green, lavender, blue, white, yellow, red, gray, black, and orange (Keverne 265).

Jadeite and Nephrite: Two Distinct Gems

It was commonly known that all materials made from jade were all the same, but it was discovered by Alexis Damour in the year 1863 that its elements are separated into two distinct gems named jadeite and nephrite. It is hard to differentiate between jadeite and nephrite as these kinds of gems possess rather resembling physical features judging from the visual perception – especially, for an individual, who does not have the knowledge on the minerals. Jadeite and nephrite possess distinct and diverse crystal structure, as jadeite is a pyroxene that is rich for aluminum, and nephrite represents magnesium that is rich in hornblende. These kinds of gems were not properly distinguished until 1863, and only those observers, who are trained and have significant experience, can accurately differentiate them without necessarily using the mineral testing equipment (Nassau 175).

Jade in Chinese Culture

For over 5,000 years, China has been considered as the leader in producing the objects made of jade. Chinese artisans, who always worked with jade, were the first to realize that the jade obtained from Burma was not the same, as it was more concrete, more solid, easier to handle, and after polishing, it created a high glance. These made the jade from Burma to be highly valued and demanded by Chinese artisans. The Chinese artisans rarely encountered the jadeite consisting of the fine grains that had a crystal transparency along with a gorgeous consistent shade of green, making them refer to it as the Imperial Jade, as it was of the highest quality. The jadeite’s and nephrites luster and color improved to make these possess the look of the excellent jade through the processes of dying, waxing, bleaching, polymer impregnating, heat treating among the other mechanisms (Nassau 175). A person, who is not trained on these minerals, will be unable to identify these treatments. It is important that when one wants to buy a jade, he/she should look for a dealer, who is knowledgeable and can be trusted.

Jade as a Versatile Material

Jade was first used to make tools, as it is highly concrete, and if broken, forms extremely steep edgings. Because the jade is tough, the material can resist fracturing, even when it is subjected to stress. This property that is in the jade was the reason why early toolmakers formed into cutting tools and weapons. As Nott specifies, jade is applied to manufacture a vast majority of jewelry objects like “pendants, rings, bracelets, earrings, beads, cabochons, tumbled stones, and other items” (350). Apart from jewel objects, jade is also applied to create ornaments, religious art, not big statues, and other moderate-sized items. People have always known China to be the primary source of jade producing, its cutting center, and the consumer for jade and jade market. China puts extreme importance to jade jewelry and jade artwork (Till and Swart 123).

The Geological Formation of Jade

The minerals jadeite and nephrite are shaped via the metamorphosis and are mainly discovered in thermodynamically altered materials that possess association with the zones of subduction. The reserves of jadeite and nephrite are lengthwise “the geologically ancient convergent plate boundaries involving oceanic lithosphere”, as states the research conducted by Leaming (176). One can find the jadeite mineral in the materials, which possess a more intense level of press rather than nephrite, and due to such fact, there is a geographical disjunction of jadeite and nephrite reserves. Since the early periods of time, jade has been constantly searched in more steep-sided areas of stream basins, where one might have discovered a wide range of stuff – from cobblestone to boulder-size parts of materials there in the watersheds. Jade is also gotten from hard rock deposits, as the ophiolite’s wedging-outs are a significant kind of hard material reserves. Vast majority of the global jade’s amount geographically is discovered at the edge of the Pacific Ocean, as this is the place, from which the subduction process transmits huge slab-stones of ocean’s bottom lithosphere underneath the arcs of the volcanic islands and continents (Leaming 180).

Value of Jade in Different Cultures

In countries like the U.S. and other European state, the gems like emeralds, rubies, diamonds, opals, sapphires, garnets, and some of the others present more fame and demand for than jade. China stands as the only nation that views and values jade as a precious stone. People of China have always considered jade as the one being the most popular gemstone for thousands of years, as even the emperors demanded to have excellent specimens of jade and they would trade, and at times, even wage wars with distant people just to have them. Jade has been had many famous for many ways to be used, and these are mostly influenced by its physical appearance, toughness, and hardness, making it resistible to breaking. When purchasing jade, it is imperative to go to a trusted and knowledgeable seller or go with someone that is experienced and trained on the physical properties of jade. This is to prevent one from buying a jade that its color and luster has been enhanced through treatments like bleaching and waxing.

Works Cited

Keverne, Roger. Jade: A Special Stone, 2012, 258-376.

Leaming, Stan. Jade Fever: Hunting the Stone of Heaven. 2014, 170-191.

Nassau, Kurt. Gemstone Enhancement: Heat, Irradiation, Impregnation, Dyeing, and Other Treatments which Alter the Appearance of Gemstones, and the Detection of Such Treatments. 2015, 156-221.

Nott, Stanley C. Chinese Jade Throughout the Ages: A Review of its Characteristics, Decoration, Folklore, and Symbolism. 2013, 332-365.

Till, Barry, and Paula Swart. Chinese Jade: Stone for the Emperors. 2012, 95-144.

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