Jade, with its attractive lustre and immense strength, has been revered by many cultures over time. The pre-Columbian civilisations of South America valued it more than gold, and the Ancient Egyptians thought of it as the stone of love and harmony. Throughout Chinese history jade has been extremely sought after and still is today, as it is believed to symbolize good fortune and happiness.
The term jade actually covers two types of gemstones: Jadeite and Nephrite. It is only very recently that the distinction was made clear, as a green specimen of each can look almost identical to one another. Jadeite is rarer and more precious. Jade from Burma and southern China is rated as the finest in the world, followed by jadeite from Siberia. The most well-known current source of nephrite is New Zealand.
Nephrite jade has its cultural roots in the smoke-filled caves and shelters that housed prehistoric humans. In Europe, China, and elsewhere around the world, Stone Age workers worked this toughest of gem materials into tools, decorative ornaments, weapons and ritual objects. Their carvings were said to summon the powers of heaven and earth and the mystic forces of life and death.
It is rumoured the origin of the name jade comes from the Spanish expression ‘piedra de ijada’, this translates as “stone of the pain in the side.” Early Spanish explorers gave it that name after they saw the native people holding fragments of the stone to their sides to cure or relieve various maladies.
Asian cultures never lost their infatuation with jade, and today, non-Asian buyers are drawn to jade as never seen before. All are lured in by its rich cultural heritage as much as its, durability and rarity.
The gemstone material occurs in a wide variety of colours that include green, white, lavender, yellow, blue, black, red, orange, and grey. The versatility and variety of this stone makes it perfect for use in jewellery.
Looking to purchase your own piece of rare and alluring jade jewellery? Please visit us in our Hatton Garden store or view our full collection online.