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Jade has been treasured for some 7,000 years for its unique luster, lovely color and impeccable toughness. This precious gem has always had special significance in many Asian cultures and can be compared to the West's admiration of diamonds and gold. For centuries, nephrite jade and jadeite were considered one and the same. It was not until 1863 that they were identified as different minerals with a similar appearance and properties. Nephrite is a tough rock comprised of intergrown crystals of minerals from the tremolite-actinolite solid solution series, part of the amphibole group.

Nephrite Polished
Nephrite Classification
Common Name Nephrite
Species Jade
Nephrite Optical Properties
Transparency Translucent - Opaque
Dispersion Strength: None
Refractive Index 1.600-1.640 Tolerance: (+0.009/-0.006) Typical 1.61
Polariscope Reaction Aggregate (AGG)
Fluorescence SWUV: Inert
LWUV: Inert
Pleochroism Unobservable
Nephrite Characteristic Physical Properties
Hardness 6-6.5
Streak White
Specific Gravity 2.900-3.100 Typical:2.950
Toughness Excellent
Inclusions Stone may have black inclusions. If the stone is dyed it might show color concentrations.
Luster Vitreous, Dull, Greasy
Stability Good
Fracture Splintery, Granular
Cleavage None
Nephrite Chemistry & Crystallography
Chemical Name calcium magnesium or iron silicate
Chemical Formula Ca2(Mg,Fe)5Si8O22(OH)2
Crystal System Monoclinic
Chemistry Classification Rock

Nephrite Colors

  • Green Nephrite Green
  • Yellow Nephrite Yellow
  • White Nephrite White
  • Gray Nephrite Gray
  • Black Nephrite Black
  • Green Nephrite Green
  • Brown Nephrite Brown
  • Green Nephrite Green

Alternate Names

Jade, New Zealand Greenstone, New Zealand Jade, Mutton Fat, Chicken Bone, Tomb Jade Or Grave Jade, Polar Jade

Countries of Origin

Myanmar; United States of America (the); Viet Nam; Japan; Ukraine; Switzerland; Taiwan (Province of China); New Zealand; Canada; Austria; Korea (the Republic of); Unknown; China; Russian Federation (the); Brazil; Poland; Italy; Mexico; Zimbabwe; Australia; Germany


All jade objects that date before the 1800's in China are Nephrite.


Normal care for untreated stones. With dyed stones avoid strong light, harsh chemicals, and ultrasonic cleaners. Discoloration may occur with time.

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Polar Jade

Polar jade is nephrite from British Columbia, Canada. It is prized for its intense translucent green color.

Polar Jade Nephrite
Polar Jade Classification
Common Name Polar Jade
Polar Jade Characteristic Physical properties
Specific Gravity 2.90
Toughness Excellent
Stability Excellent


The Maori name for a pearly white to grayish white variety of pounamu, a nephrite found in New Zealand.

Inanga Nephrite
Inanga Classification
Common Name Inanga
Inanga Characteristic Physical properties
Specific Gravity 2.90
Toughness Excellent
Stability Excellent
Tim Matthews


Tim Matthews

Tim Matthews is President and Chief Executive Officer of Jewelry Television® (JTV), as well as a member of the company's Board of Directors. He oversees and leads all aspects of the company's powerful omni-digital retail platform that uniquely specializes in fine jewelry and gemstones. His passion for business and gemstones has led him to become a recognized expert in the field of gemology. He is a life member of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain (Gem-A) and has earned Gem-A's highest degrees, the Gemmology (FGA) and Diamond (DGA) diplomas. He is also a Graduate Gemologist (GG) of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and has also completed GIA's Graduate Diplomas in Diamonds, Colored Stones and Pearls. Under his leadership, JTV has become the leader in the sourcing and selling of color gemstones and jewelry.

This page was created on June 27, 2014.

This page was last edited on October 24, 2019.