Detailed sheet


This is a thick microcrystalline rock the of amphibole family, we can consider nephrite as a microcrystalline variety of ferrous actinolite-tremolite series.
The majority of nephrites are composed mainly of actinolite.
The white variety, known as” mutton fat “, is composed almost exclusively of tremolite, which gives it its white color because there is no iron inside to color it, while the most common varieties contain actinolite, which gives it the green color due to iron.
The chromium varieties are of an intense emerald-green color.
In Chinese nephrite was called “yu”, which means the most beautiful of stones, which has warm colors and a rich luster and is “the essence of heaven and earth”.
Throughout Asia, jade is a symbol of luck and health, it is offered for all occasions: births, weddings, birthdays, graduation and even to sign professional contracts.


Ca2(Mg,Fe)5[Si4O11]2 (OH)2

calcium, magnesium and iron silicate


Main color


Other colors

white, grey, yellow, black, orange

practically all the existing shades of color

Color of streak



greasy, vitreous


6.0 to 6.5


2.90 to 3.10




splintery, uneven

shapes of very compact and resistant masses



opaque, translucent

Refractive index

1.600 - 1.630

Double refraction


definite, biaxial (-)

visible double refraction




Number of colors


Absorption spectrum


difficult to observe at 509




many: chromite, apatite, diopside, garnet, prehnite, vesuvianite, magnetite, graphite, pyrite ...


microcrystalline fibrous and solid aggregates

crystals system


microcrystalline structure


Astrological sign

Capricorn, Gemini, Leo, Libra

Chinese astrological sign

Dog, Dragon, Horse, Monkey, Ox, Pig, Rabbit, Rat, Rooster, Sheep, Snake, Tiger


For nephrite, the deposits are more numerous than jadeite, the oldest ones being located in New Zealand in the South Island, called Jade Island, where it has always been popular with the Maori, in Khotan and Kashgar regions of China.
In the nineteenth century, Karl Faberge has much used a translucent nephrite with black inclusions coming from Russia.
The largest deposits currently in production are located in Canada (British Columbia), which produces 85% of the world production and sells mainly to China. Deposits are also in Australia (Tasmania, Cowel), Brazil, United States (Wyoming, Alaska, California, south of Carmel), New Guinea, Mexico, Russia (near Lake Bajkal in Siberia, whose production is exported to China), Taiwan, Zimbabwe …
In China high in the Kunlun Mountains in the region of Khotan in Xinjiang is extracted a jade called Helian that can be completely translucent white, it is the “ mutton fat “ variety, which was one of the most sought in China, the region of Lantian in Shaanxi has also given its name to some very famous nephrites.

use in jewelry

Much more common than jadeite, nephrite is considered less valuable than jadeite.
Nephrite is used to make cabochons, necklaces, bracelets, pendants, many jewels, vases, bowls, ornaments and worship. It is in in Hong Kong and Taiwan that the work of jade is mainly practiced and is exported worldwide.
In China, the emperor, at the annual festival during which “he was leaving the world,” ascended a disc of spinach-green nephrite of about 60 centimeters in diameter, disk that was sold in Paris in 1932. Jade was practically reserved for the imperial family in China, it symbolized eternity, A bit was slipped in the mouth of the deceased.
Jade is the stone of the 12th anniversary or the 26th year of marriage.

Daily care
and precautions

Do not expose to heat or solvents because some jades are artificially colored. Nephrite is much more resistant to shocks than jadeite, not very brittle and of easy maintenance. Jewelers should be careful not to expose it to the torch flame with the risk of seeing it whitening.

imitations and

Nephritis has less imitations than jadeite, because it is abundant in the world and its value is lower than the jadeite one. It is imitated with lead glass (well known to the Chinese), colored or tainted glass , some plastic or porcelain, enamel … doublets, triplets based of jadeite, tinted quartzite, jade improved by artificial dyes.
Note that in the Far East, the jades bleached, dyed and laminated are common in trade. We have synthesized jade plates.
The african thick grossular is called “Transvaal jade” but the name is illegal.

healing properties

In China, Confucius had seen the five great virtues of jade: justice, charity, wisdom, courage, purity, and that’s probably why it was preferred among all the other stones in this country. It is a matter who has a great value because of its ritual and magic role, earthly incarnation of the cosmic principle Yang, and since at least 4000 BC. the emperor had to absorb some during periods of purification. All of the ritual objects were made of jade and we have very detailed descriptions.
The “pi”, a disk pierced in the middle, symbolizes the sky and the hole, the center from which all influences emanated. Jade was also used as an amulet in the funeral rites, supposed to prevent putrefaction of corpses (a “pi” was placed under the body). Jade, in the broadest sense, symbolizes righteousness, strength, predisposing to calm, tolerance, harmony, peace, ensures honesty, temperance, tolerance.
It would boost our emotional development, would make us easy, providing a feeling of satisfaction. It would extend life. It has been said that jade supposedly would calm nephritic colics, act on the kidney stones and all the affections of the urinary tract … it has to be put on the painful area and degrease it all quarters with calcined bones powder. It was renowned for its healing, and the Emperor Rudolf II bought one piece for 1600 crowns. It was considered at that time, to fight against gout, sciatica, epilepsy, poisonous bites.


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