Did you know that Jade is classified into two types? Nephrite and Jadeite Jade. Jadeite is an aluminium-rich pyroxene, it is composed of interlocking and very compact crystals. While nephrite is a magnesium-rich amphibole, it is composed of fibrous intertwined crystals. Though it can be difficult to tell them apart just by looking, the two varieties differ both in chemical composition and crystal structure. Experts often detect nephrite by its lower translucency and luster. Nephrite tends to have a resinous luster, while jadeite is more vitreous.
Nephrite jade is also formed in metamorphic rocks but goes through less pressure and stress than jadeite. Because of this, nephrite jade is much softer than jadeite. Jadeite has a higher hardness and is more durable. Nephrite is almost always opaque. Jadeite comes in a wider variety of colour while Nephrite generally comes in darker, more matte tones. While nephrite jade possesses mainly greys and greens (and occasionally yellows, browns or whites), jadeite jade; which is rarer, also contains blacks, reds, pinks and violets.
The easiest way to tell the difference between jadeite and nephrite jade is by colour. Nephrite jade comes in a variety of colours, including dark to light green and even black. Due to its high level of magnesium, nephrite jade can also be translucent white to a very light yellow, known in China as “mutton fat jade.” People are probably most familiar with the green colour of jadeite, but this gemstone comes in almost every colour of the rainbow. Jadeite can be white, pale apple-green, pink, lavender, and even dark blue. Of course, the highest valued colour is the deep green known as “Imperial Green.”
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