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Jadeite "Jade"
Current inventory:  0 gems


Chemistry:  Na(Al,Fe3+)Si2O6 [Sodium Aluminum Iron Silicate]

Discovered in 1863;   IMA status: Valid (pre-IMA; Grandfathered).
Jadeite is named for its association with the term "Jade" which actually refers to the two minerals Jadeite and Nephrite. See below for more name information.





Mineral Classification:


Strunz 8th Ed. ID:


Nickel-Strunz 10th Ed. ID:



9 : SILICATES (Germanates)
D : Inosilicates
A : Inosilicates with 2-periodic single chains, Si
2O6; pyroxene family

Related to:

Pyroxene Group. Clinopyroxene Subgroup.



Crystal Data




Monoclinic - Prismatic

Crystal Habit:

Crystals rare, prismatic, showing cleavage faces to 1 cm. Commonly massive, or fibrous, granular, compact.


Single and lamellar twinning on [100] and [001].



Physical Properties




[110] Distinct/Good


Splintery, Fibrous


Tough, difficult to break appart

Hardness (Mohs):

6.0 - 7.0


3.24 - 3.43 (g/cm3)




Not Radioactive



Optical Properties




Apple-Green, Emerald-Green, Bluish Green, Leek-Green, Greenish White, White, rarely Blue or Violet


Translucent to Sub-Translucent


Sub-Vitreous; may be Pearly on cleavages

Refractive Index:

1.654 - 1.693  Biaxial ( + )


0.0130 - 0.0200


Moderate to Strong; r > v


Weak; X = colorless or green, Y = colorless or yellowish green, Z = colorless or yellow






Geological Setting:

In high-pressure metamorphic rocks of the glaucophane facies; a component of eclogite.

Common Associations:

Albite, Analcime, Aragonite, Calcite, Glaucophane, Muscovite, Omphacite, Quartz, Zeolites

Common Impurities:

Ti, Mn, Mg, Ca, K, H2O

Type Locality:

Tawmaw, Myitkyina-Mogaung district, Kachin State, northern Myanmar (Burma)

Year Discovered:


View mineral photos:

Jadeite Mineral Photos and Locations



More Information




Jadeite is a member of the Pyroxene Group of minerals that includes Aegirine, Diopside,
Hedenbergite, Hypersthene, Jadeite, Petedunnite and Spodumene. Jadeite consists of an aggregate of interlocking crystals, which unlike Nephrite, are more granular than fibrous. Jadeite is found in a wide range of colors from pure white to pure black including pinks, red, orange, yellow, brown, mauve, violet, blue and many shades of green or mottled green and white. The most highly prized color is a rich emerald-green with a high degree of translucency and is refered to as Imperial Jade. This type is Jadeite gets its rich green color from chromium. The mauve Jadeite is colored by the presence of manganese and the dull greens are colored by iron.

The name Jade refers to either of two mineral species, Jadeite and Nephrite. These two minerals have no relation to one another except for appearance. Jadeite, which is often confusingly refered to as "Chinese Jade", was discovered in Burma (Myanmar) in 1863. Nephrite has been used by the Chinese for tools, beads and carving of decorative and usefull objects for over 7000 years. The Chinese call their Nephrite "Jade" yu and therefore Jadeite was not the chen yu, or true Jade. Nephrite from China is often refered to as "Yunan Jade" from its source in the Yunan Province, China.

The name Jade is from the Spanish phrase piedras de ijada meaning stone of the side (or possibly stone of the loins) because it is supposed to cure kidney ailments if applied to the sides of the body. This myth may have come from the shapes of the river worn, tumbled Jadeite pebbles having shapes similar to kidneys. When the Spanish phrase piedras de ijada was translated into French it was pierre de l'éjade. A printing error when the name first appeared in French made it pierre de le jade, which was simply abreviated to Jade by the English.

Jadeite can be found in small amounts at many localities. Some well-known localities are: around Tawmaw, Myitkyina-Mogaung district, Kachin State, northern Myanmar (Burma); in the Ohmi area, along the Hashidate and Kotake Rivers, Niigata Prefecture, and at Shibukawa, Gumma Prefecture, Japan; around Lake Baikal, Siberia, Russia. In the USA in California, as crystals in boulders along the Russian River near Cloverdale; at several places in Mendocino County; at Clear Creek, near New Idria, San Benito County.

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