Jade is a term used for two different stones - jadeite jade and nephrite jade.
Since at least 2950 BC, nephrite Jade had been treasured in China as the royal gemstone.
In the late 1700s, jadeite jade was discovered in neighboring Burma (known today as Myanmar). It soon became the new Chinese royal gemstone due to its vibrant colors, high translucency and rarity.
Although Jadeite Jade was discovered in Central America centuries earlier, used by the Olmecs, the Mayans and the Toltecs for carvings and masks, the superiority of the Burmese material in addition to the craftsmanship of the Chinese cutters made jadeite the highly treasured gemstone it is today.
Jadeite is usually cut into smooth dome shapes called cabochons. Jadeite bangles and beads are also very popular, especially in Asian countries.
Jadeite comes in many colors including lavender, red, yellow, white, black, gray and even colorless, however vivid greens are the most desirable.
Some fine jadeite pieces have fetched hundreds of thousands, even millions of dollars at auction.
There was and still is much lore and symbolism associated with both Jades. Many believe Jade is a bridge between the spiritual and the material world. It was thought to preserve the body after death and can be found in emperors tombs from thousands of years ago.
While jadeite is mined today primarily in Myanmar, nephrite can be found in many countries throughout the world.
Both Jade's are very tough and durable. Clean with a mild dish soap: use a toothbrush to scrub behind the stone where dust can collect. You're AGTA jeweler will tell you how to best care for your Jade.