Jade is a name shared by two distinctly different minerals: Nephrite, a calcium magnesium silicate with a hardness of 6, and Jadeite, a sodium aluminum silicate with a hardness of 6.5 to 7. Nephrite generally occurs in white, deep green, or creamy brown. Jadeite can be leafy green, blue-green, lavender, red, black, and the highly prized emerald green. In ancient times, jade’s toughness made it a favored stone for crafting jewelry, tools, and weapons, and for carving animals, vases and many other objects. In China, Jade has been the most highly esteemed stone throughout recorded history, with the belief that it can strengthen the body during life and protect one after death. Sources for Nephrite include British Columbia, New Zealand, China, Russia, and India. Jadeite can be found in Burma, Guatemala, Russia, and California.

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