Most people think of jade as a green gemstone. While it’s most valuable color is a vibrant emerald-like green, jade actually comes in several different colors.

Since the Chinese first discovered the gem in Myanmar hundreds of years ago, it has been a cherished stone, often even more valuable than gold.

Mined primarily in Asia, Russia, Europe and the Americas, there are actually two different stones that we refer to as jade.  The most highly prized jade is mined in Asia. Jadeite, which is made up of silicate, sodium and aluminum, is the more valuable of the two. Nephrite, which is made up of calcium and magnesium is the less cherished of the two, though it’s not always easy to tell them apart and they both carry the same jade name.


Shades of green

The most valuable jade is a translucent, bright and vibrant green and is called Imperial Jade.  It is one of the most expensive gems in the world. Kingfisher jade is the second most valuable.

However, even the green jades come in dozens of different shades and different levels of clarity. Ranging from a bright translucent green to an apple shade, a greyish green and on to a bluish green, these stones are always stunning.


Lavender jade

After green, the next most valuable jade is the lavender jade. It also comes in a wide range from nearly white with a slight hint of color to a deep rich purple. It’s sometimes mixed with green jade in a single stone, which can make a piece even more valuable.


Red jade

Red jades are uncommon, but beautiful. They can come in a rich reddish-brown and are sometimes even pink. You’ll find hints of red jade mixed in with yellows and greens in many of my one-of-a-kind pieces.


Yellow jade

While it is a more common and slightly less expensive color for the stone, yellow is beautiful and has been used extensively by some of the best artisans in Asia to create culturally significant and historic pieces. It also blends well with other colors of jade, giving them a distinct look.


White jade

This can be stunning, especially if it has veins of color running through it. It’s usually nephrite, however, which is the less valuable of the two jade stones.  However, mutton fat jade, a translucent creamy white, is highly prized by Chinese.


Black jade

When nicely polished, black jade is beautiful. It can sometimes have deep purple hues and was used in carvings when the artist was trying to achieve a certain feeling.


How jade is used

Asian artists have carved culturally significant pieces from jade for centuries. The hard stone endures and the stories in the carvings live on through these pieces. The carvings have been part of many things in the past.


I travel to Asia and buy these authentic jade carvings where I can find them and incorporate them into beautiful one-of-a-kind jewelry using high quality semiprecious stones. If you have any questions about the jade the artists used, where I found the pieces or how I incorporated them into a current piece of jewelry, please contact me and ask.