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Eurojade - Le Spécialiste du Jade - The Jade Specialist


Jade, stone of many colours : no single hue is accepted as ideal by the world today, although some cultures have colour preferences. The following demonstrates the diversity and may help in identifying the source of specific pieces.

- Australia: mid-green to the deepest black

- China: can be almost any shade of white to bright green ; the finest is usually very translucent

- Guatemala: pearly to brilliant green, almost always heavily patterned. Also smooth black

- Myanmar: ranges from white and yellow to lavender, red and black and all shades of green, again very translucent

- New Zealand: rich gray-green (occasionally blue) to deep forest green often marked with occlusions or darker colours

- Russia: white to very pale teal green, to emerald with black flecks

left : jadeite jade (Myanmar) and right : nephrite jade (Canada) 

a few samples of jadeide jade (Myanmar)

What is the best colour ?

Other considerations aside, the hierarchy of colour value would be green, lavender, red, yellow, white and black. This is by no means an absolute scale; however, no one would argue with the first two. The finest colour of green jade would be close in colour to a fine Colombian emerald, but of a darker hue. In fact, the colouring agent, chromium, is the same for jadeite and emerald. As the green becomes lighter or darker than this standard, the value becomes proportionately less. The same can be said of the other colours (even black). The ideal is a strong, vibrant colour while successively darker or lighter shades are considered less desirable. 

In all cases, except white jade, the degree of translucence enhances the value, while a lack of translucence diminishes the value. Translucence alone, in the absence of body colour, is called "water" or "crystal" jade.

What causes these colours ?

In a nutshell, the colour and translucence of jade are the result of the chemical impurities present in the rough and the rate at which the jade cooled eons ago during the formation process. For example, green is the result of chromic oxide impurities; lavender comes about from the presence of manganese; red jade occurs as the end product of oxidation from surrounding water or earth; black jade denotes high iron content; white jade is "pure" jade. Of course, jade contains many other impurities that modify and shade these colorus (quartz, mica, serpentine, etc.).

Will the colour of jade change with time ?

In the Orient, jade is considered a living thing that is young, then matures and grows green with age. It was said that some people had the ability to make jade turn green more quickly, and that this was a virtue of their mind and body and soul. Alas, interesting myths notwithstanding, this simply will not happen !

Many people even today believe that in times of good health, one's jade grows richer in colour, while trauma or illness will drain the colour. The wearing of jade close to the body was said to ensure health. Interesting though these thoughts may be, there is no evidence that jade will change colour. Quite the contrary, jade is impervious to oils, perfumes and most cold acids. Its colour is constant, for better or worse...