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Eurojade - Le Spécialiste du Jade - The Jade Specialist


"Imperial Maya" jade necklace (copyright Ventana Mining)

- "Imperial Maya" jade - pyroxene ratio : jadeite/diverse 100:0 - GIA certification : jadeite

Beloved to the Maya people of ancient Mesoamerica, and their descendants in Guatemala today, Imperial Maya jadeis a bright "candy apple" green variety of jadeite jade. This jade is known from the archaeological record of the Maya civilization and was most often fashioned as beads and earrings. The most spectacular examples of this material, of which known mine sources are rare, have been recovered from the Cenote of Sacrifice at Chichen Itza, first detailed by Tatiana Proskouriakoff (1909-1989), specialist of Maya civilization, in 1975. The material is typically granular in texture and is opaque to semi-transparent. It sustains an exceptionally strong colour saturation and chromium fluorescence, even under low light conditions. Traditionally, the best of this jade was reserved for the exclusive use of Maya Kings, and for this reason it is considered the "Imperial Jade" of the Maya culture.

- "Veta Verde" jade - pyroxene ratio : jadeite/diverse 55:45 - nota :  according to GIA certification, this "jade" is not one, as it is omphacite.  For simplification, we shall keep it in the Guatama jades list.

Prior to the rise of the Maya Kings, the ancestral Olmec people dominated the cultural landscape of Mesoamerica. The Olmec preferred a distinctly different variety of jade than the Maya, one that has a deep chromium green colour and is highly translucent. This was the "Imperial Jade" of the ancient Olmec world, the jewel of the Olmec Kings. Following Hurricane Mitch in 1998, outcrops and alluvial deposits of this "Imperial Olmec" jade, also known locally as Veta Verde (green vein), were rediscovered by the Ventana team in Guatemala. The primary sources had been lost for nearly 500 years.

- "Olmec Blue" jade - pyroxene ratio : jadeite/diverse 85/15 - GIA certification : jadeite

Identical to the jade worked in antiquity by the Olmec culture is a popular jewellery grade material, readily available in Guatemala today, known as Olmec Blue. This jadeite is often characterized by the presence of white spots, a result of an included accessory mineral (sphene), and was a favorite of the Olmec people (as evidenced in the artifact record). Olmec type jades characteristically exhibit a homogenous texture, a high degree of translucency and varying degrees of bluish-green colour saturation.

- lavender jade - pyroxene ratio : jadeite/diverse 100:0 - GIA certification : jadeite

A rare translucent lavender jade from Guatemala has been identified in two varieties. The more common variety has a lightly saturated colour (pictured above), the other, much rarer variety, is strongly saturated in colour. The lavender color is the result of an associated manganese mineral inclusion. The lighter varienty is typically granular in texture while the strongly saturated variety is highly translucent, lacking the granular texture and is darker in tone.

- "Midnight Blue" jade - pyroxene ratio : jadeite/divers : 65:35 - GIA certification : jadeite

A very rare translucent blue jade was discovered in Guatemala by the Ventana team in 1999. Its intensely saturated indigo blue coloru is the result of an associated titanium-rich sphene mineral inclusion and is typically dark in tone.

- "Ventana Blue" jade - pyroxene ratio : jadeite/diverse 90:10 - GIA certification : jadeite

Another very rare, highly translucent blue jade was discovered in Guatemala by the Ventana team in 2000. This jade is similar in colour to a dye developed by the Classic Maya, known as Maya Blue. This new variety of blue jade is remarkably translucent, nearly transparent, and is slightly less saturated in coloru than the Midnight Blue. This unique variety is referred to by locals as “cielo azul” for blue sky, “plastica” for plastic, and most recently by the name "Ventana Blue".

- white jadeite - untested.

This translucent colourless jadeite from Guatemala is actually jadeite in its purest form i.e. a jade without the trace mineral component that provides for the array of colour variation as shown on this page.

- black jadeite - untested.

This completely opaque, pure black mineral may not actually be a jadeite at all, but rather an associated mineral species of pyroxenite or amphibolite. Black specimens, often referred, and sometimes sold as jade, exhibit a very high-polish luster making them a desireable alternative to other black gem variants.

green jadeite cabochon and lavender jadeite cabochon from Guatemala (copyright Ventana mining)