‘Jade’, or yu, as it is called in China, is strictly speaking a generic term for two different gems, nephrite and jadeite. The name is derived from the Spanish ‘piedra de ijada’, loin-stone, jade having been recognised by the Amerindians as a remedy for kidney ailments. Because of its beneficial effect on the kidneys, the stone was also known as ‘lapis nephriticus’. That, indeed, is where the term ‘nephrite’ came from.
Jadeite and nephrite are both regarded in China as ‘zhen yu’, ‘genuine jade’. It was not until the beginning of the 19th century that mineralogists and gemologists started to differentiate between them, since they bear a considerable resemblance to each other in terms of their appearance, their hardness and the properties they exhibit when being processed. Both are tough, since they consist of dense, close-grained, matted aggregates, but they differ from one another in their chemical composition and colors. Nephrite ranges mainly from mid to dark green or grey-green, but it can also be white, yellowish or reddish. Rarer, and somewhat tougher, jadeite displays hues which include green, but also white or pink, and reds, blacks, browns and violets. In both minerals, the way the color is distributed varies a great deal. Only in the very finest jade is the color evenly distributed. Both nephrite and jadeite often have veins, blemishes and streaks running through them, though these may not always be regarded as flaws. On the contrary, some of these patterns are considered particularly valuable.
Jade – a gemstone of unique symbolic energy, and unique in the myths that surround it. With its beauty and wide-ranging expressiveness, jade has held a special attraction for mankind for thousands of years.
This gem, with its discreet yet rather greasy lustre, which comes in many fine nuances of green, but also in shades of white, grey, black, yellow, and orange and in delicate violet tones, has been known to Man for some 7000 years. In prehistoric times, however, it was esteemed rather more for its toughness, which made it an ideal material for weapons and tools. Yet as early as 3000 B.C. jade was known in China as ‘yu’, the ‘royal gem’. In the long history of the art and culture of the enormous Chinese empire, jade has always had a very special significance, roughly comparable with that of gold and diamonds in the West. Jade was used not only for the finest objects and cult figures, but also in grave furnishings for high-ranking members of the imperial family. Today, too, this gem is regarded as a symbol of the good, the beautiful and the precious. It embodies the Confucian virtues of wisdom, justice, compassion, modesty and courage, yet it also symbolises the female-erotic.
In ancient China and Egypt jade was used as a talisman to attract good fortune and friendship. Worn as an amulet it is believed to protect one from evil while traveling and to promote wisdom and ensure a long life.
Helps to protect the kidney, heart, larynx, liver, spleen, thymus, thyroid and strengthens the body. Jade is known as a symbol of love and virtue.