British Columbia nephrite

Nephrite consists of prismatic to acicular amphiboles of the tremolite-actinolite series forming bundles that are randomly oriented and interlocked. All of the known jade deposits in British Columbia are of the nephrite variety. 

Nephrite occurs at over fifty sites in British Columbia in bedrock, boulder fields and talus. The bedrock occurrences are typically lens shaped and occur at or near contacts of mafic-ultramafic rocks (mainly serpentinite) with metasedimentary or igneous felsic rocks. 

Nephrite formed by metasomatic exchange between ultramafic and silica-bearing rocks within the Mississipian to Jurassic age oceanic Cache Creek and Slide Mountain of British Columbia.

High pressure blueschist or eclogite grade metamorphic rocks, favourable for jadeitite exploration, are found in the Bridge River, Pinchi Lake, Dease Lake and Jennings River areas of British Columbia. 

The world jade market is estimated at 300 tonnes per year, with three quarters of this originating in British Columbia. The price of raw jade varies from less than $10 to $100 per kilogram depending on quality and quantity.

The famous gem-grade discovery at the Polar Mine secured Canadian Jade’s fame as a world class gemstone producer. Polar Jade™ is now exclusively used for jewellery and museum quality carvings, but there are other very well-known high-quality nephrite deposits in British-Columbia.   

information about Canadian nephrite and map © The Government of British Columbia in Canada

As the availability of Canadian jade has become better known, non-traditional uses of the stone have also increased. From massive Buddha statues, to fireplaces in the Getty Mansion, to translucent window panels in the Smithsonian Museum, Canadian nephrite is becoming world famous as a stone of wide versatility. 

The B.C. nephrite is bought by local artists and transformed into artwork which is in demand internationally. The largest sculpture made of B.C. nephrite is probably the Buddha commissioned for the Wat Dhammongkol Monastery in Bangkok. It was carved from a 32 tonne nephrite boulder. This transaction was worth about $350.000 to the Jade West Group of Companies. 

Industrial grade jade has been stockpiled in B.C. in anticipation of serving the growing natural-stone tile market. Jade tiles have great market potential in new, upscale residential and commercial building applications. 

The largest sculpture made of B.C. nephrite is probably the Buddha commissioned for the Wat Dhammongkol Monastery in Bangkok. It was carved from a 32 tonne nephrite boulder. This transaction was worth about $350,000 to the Jade West group companies.

Nephrite became the official mineral emblem of British Columbia in 1968.  

three samples of Canadian nephrite