Jade is one of the oldest gemstones known. It dates to the Spanish conquest of Central and South America, which is where its name comes from. Thought to protect and cure kidney diseases, the Spanish for it is ‘piedra de ijada’ – meaning hip stone. We’re going to delve into its history, simply because there’s so much of it.
Jade jewelry was used for centuries not only as personal adornment, but jade was also a currency, tools and weapons! Its resistance to breakage and chiping – making it suitable for weaponry – is a result of the made of tight, interlocking crystals.
The Chinese have always been fascinated by jade, even as early as 3000 B.C. Jade was known as the royal gem: what diamonds were to the European royal families, jade was to the Chinese emperors.
Jade jewelry varieties and origins
There are actually two distinct varieties of jade, being jadeite and nephrite jade. However, is was the more common nephrite that was typically used by early civislizations such as the famous Chinese and Maori works of old.
Jade is mined principally in Myanmar, and shipped to its very large neighbour, China, where it is in huge demand.
Jade remains a highly sought after item in the East, with a record-breaking sale of HKD$405m – that’s some USD52m – for a round cabochon bracelet. We couldn’t believe it either until we read this article!
Jade jewelry designs
Hollywood celebrities are also strong proponents of the gemstone: here we see Julianna Margulies wearing these amazing Lorraine Schwartz jade and diamond drop earrings
- Julianna Margulies wearing Lorraine Schwartz jade earrings
Image: via gemsaboutjewels.blogspot.com.au
However, if you’re after the regal look but can’t afford the regal price tag, how about our beautiful ring shown below?