Jade beads come in two different varieties of jade, specifically jadeite and nephrite. Jadeite, the more expensive of the two, is composed of microscopic crystals. Nephrite, more commonly found in jewelry supplies, is a variety of the mineral actinolite and composed of fibrous crystals.
In addition to jewelry making, jade was used in ancient times in tools, weapons, ornamentation, and other carved artifacts due to its strength. There are many other stones that bear the name of jade that are not really jade. Some of them are called jade, because in the Chinese language, the criteria for a stone to be jade is much more broad than our scientific definition. While others bear the name because of the perceived value of jade over some other name.
Jadeite can be found in lavender, pink, yellow, and white as well as green. While nephrite is usually only seen in green and white. The content of chromium, iron, and manganese contribute to the many variations of color found in jade. It can be translucent or opaque.
|common treatments: none|
|special care: Protect from abrasion.|
|hardness: 6.5 - 7|